The city of Atlanta has approved a $400-per-square-foot tax on luxury condos to help pay for a $1.2 billion transit overhaul.
The Atlanta Chamber of Commerce has praised the measure, but Mayor Kasim Reed said it’s important for the city to find a way to raise enough revenue to pay for the rest of the project.
A city budget proposal released Thursday called for raising $800 million from sales taxes to pay the rest.
A study done by the consulting firm of the Tax Foundation says the city could raise $1 billion through a condo sales tax.
The study predicts that a 10-year tax of $1,600 would raise about $1 million annually, and the additional revenue could go toward improving transit in the city, affordable housing and community development.
The tax would be a flat fee for the first 20 years.
The chamber said the tax would raise $400 million over 10 years.
But it didn’t provide an estimate of how much would be raised, or how the city would recoup the money.
That study was commissioned by the city and the Georgia Chamber of Industry.
The council voted 6-3 to approve the measure Thursday.
Councilmember Kavon Jones said he thinks the city should use the tax to fund the rest, not just for the transit project.
Jones, who represents the city’s westernmost Ward 8, said he voted against the tax, saying it was unnecessary.
“I don’t think the tax should be a way for the mayor to get a political windfall,” he said.
The mayor said he is “disappointed” with the Taxpayers Alliance of Georgia, which has been critical of the tax proposal.
He called the Tax Citizens Alliance “outrageous” for not supporting the tax.
Reed said the city has asked for more than $300 million in additional funding from the state to complete the transit and affordable housing projects.
He said the state will provide about $450 million.
Atlanta is also considering a sales tax on the new hotel at Georgia Tech, which would bring in about $500 million.
The city has also proposed a hotel tax, and it’s also looking at other tax measures to help fund transit and housing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.