Newspaper ad attacks commissioners who support tax increase

A citizens group goes on the attack against commissioners who support a tax increase. We found out their tactic is working.

The ad was placed in Tuesday’s Johnson City Press.  It calls out three Johnson City commissioners who’ve gone on the record in support of a property tax increase.  Two of them said they spent the day fielding calls.


News Channel 11’s Lauren Haviland  did some calling of my own to find out who’s behind the claims.

Try to call the group “Concerned Citizens for Ethical Government” and you may have the same luck we did. Multiple times it went straight to voicemail.

The Washington County Election Commission administrator said her office has no record of the group behind the ad.

“It was inaccurate,” Vice Mayor Clayton Stout said. Stout is one of the three commissioners sarcastically thanked for supporting a property tax increase- a “tax burden on families”.

“I am used to these political games,” Stout said. “It’s unfortunate, but it doesn’t bother me.”

Stout proposed a 20 cent property tax increase.  He said roads need repairing and schools need funding and he said it would be the first tax increase in 15 years.

“It’s reasonable, it’s fair, it addresses our needs,” Stout said.  That’s about half of the current proposed tax increase.

“Under no circumstances will I vote for that particular budget,” Commissioner David Tomita said.  He told News Channel 11 he’s confident city revenue is on the rise.

“I want to look at revenues and efficiencies first. I just don’t feel like, we’ve done an adequate job of going down that side of the balance sheet yet,” Tomita said.

Tomita took the same stance last year.  Commissioners eventually borrowed money to cover some costs.

Stout along with Commissioner Jenny Brock and Mayor Ralph Van Brocklin think it’s time for that stop.

“It is time for the commission to take action,” Stout said.

A stance that’s placed them in political cross-hairs ahead of the final vote.

The third and final vote on the budget is set for Thursday.

Copyright 2015 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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