ATLANTA (AP) -- Commissioners in Georgia's most populous county have approved a 17 percent property tax hike.<br />
Fulton County commissioners on Wednesday approved the increase with a 4-3 vote.<br />
The increase is the first of its kind in more than two decades.<br />
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.<br />
It would cost the owner of a $275,000 home an extra $140 a year if the property's value remains unchanged.<br />
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.<br />
Opponents of the increase say the county should cut spending and live within its means, rather than raise taxes.
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
President Vladimir Putin's chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia's boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.
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