AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Fulton tax chief gets another public subsidy

Arthur Ferdinand has a farm, and on that farm the state's highest-paid elected official collects federal  subsidies, the AJC's Johnny Edwards reported earlier this year. That's not the only way the public helps support the Fulton tax chief's Chattahoochee Hills property.

Ferdinand also has a state card exempting him from paying the 7 percent sales tax on feed, tractors, cattle fences, and dozens of other products, the AJC's Dan Chapman wrote on Friday.

How'd he get it? The Georgia legislature a couple of years ago decided to cut farmers a break, what with all the financial uncertainties they face and the need to create jobs. So-called qualified agricultural producers - those who earn at least $2,500 a year farming or in an agriculturally related business - are eligible for the card.

So Ferdinand, known for his aggressive tax-collection practices, apparently paid the $20 to get it. He raises about 30 head of cattle at his operation, Edwards reported last January.

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About the Author

Lois Norder is Senior Editor for Investigations in the newsroom at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.