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Posted: August 7, 2014 8:19 a.m.

Georgia county approves 17 percent tax hike

ATLANTA (AP) — Commissioners in Georgia's most populous county have approved a 17 percent property tax hike.

Fulton County commissioners on Wednesday approved the increase with a 4-3 vote.

The increase is the first of its kind in more than two decades.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (http://on-ajc.com/1skqrx2) that the tax hike is expected to pay for countywide services like libraries, courts and social services.

It would cost the owner of a $275,000 home an extra $140 a year if the property's value remains unchanged.

Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves has said that declining revenues and increased costs have left the county with a $40 million to $50 million budget shortfall.

Opponents of the increase say the county should cut spending and live within its means, rather than raise taxes.

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