Thursday, March 26, 2015
Equalized HOST bill passes Georgia Senate
State lawmakers have approved House Bill 215 which would allow for a referendum on increasing the sales tax by 1 percent in DeKalb County. If approved by voters, the existing homestead option sales tax (HOST), which mostly provides property tax relief but also generates revenue for infrastructure improvements in DeKalb and its cities, would be reconfigured solely to provide property tax relief to homeowners. The new, additional penny sales tax would be dedicated to infrastructure improvements in DeKalb.
Contrary to an earlier report in the news that indicated that taxes for a home in Decatur would decrease by $625 under the proposal, the equalized HOST would probably save homeowners in Decatur about $20 in 2016 on their county property tax bill compared to 2014.
HB 215 now returns to the Georgia House for final approval before heading to the governor’s desk for signature. The bill is almost certain to pass since an earlier version of the bill was already approved by the House earlier this month.
The bill passed the Senate unanimously including an aye vote from Sen. Elena Parent, who represents Decatur and large swaths of DeKalb County. However, Sen. Parent voted against an earlier motion to engross the bill, meaning that she supported the ability of senators to propose amendments from the floor before the final vote. It is not clear what amendments may have been proposed if amendments had been allowed.