Monday, January 11, 2010

Another bite at the apple for property tax reforms? Georgia General Assembly convenes today

The 2009 session of the Georgia General Assembly was a significant one for property taxpayers statewide. Lawmakers enacted a three-year moratorium on assessments, attached strings to funding homeowner tax relief grants, and debated (and ultimately killed) a proposal to cap property assessments permanently. Here’s a quick rundown of what passed in 2009:
  • SB 55—Requires tax assessors to factor in foreclosures when determining fair market values.
  • SB 240—Allows property tax appeals to be submitted for binding arbitration.
  • HB 143—Allowed for the funding of the Homeowner Tax Relief Grants for 2008 (which lowered the most Decatur homeowners’ tax bills by $252) and denied funding for 2009 (which resulted in an effective tax increase of $252, although the Decatur City Commission simultaneously increased a low income, senior exemption which reduced taxes by $230 for qualified homeowners). HB 143 leaves the door open for funding the exemption in future years if state revenues increase 3 percent above inflation.
  • HB 233—Put a three year freeze on assessment increases statewide.
  • HB 261—Gives a $1,800 state tax credit for buying a home.
  • HB 304—Requires assessors and appraisers to give reasonable notice to property owners before site visits.
And what didn’t:
  • HR 1—Would have allowed a statewide referendum to amend the station constitution to include a permanent property assessment cap.
  • HB 483—Would have put a question on the ballot to vote on increasing a statewide homestead tax exemption from $2,000 up to $10,000

What’s up for 2010?

We already have a few clues. According to the Macon Telegraph, “Local property taxes in general are still a target, and state Sen. Chip Rogers, a Woodstock Republican and the Senate’s majority leader, said he’ll be calling for ‘maybe as many as a dozen incremental changes’.” The article goes on to say that most of the changes would involve limiting assessment increases.

However, it appears that no new property tax measures have been “prefiled” in the House or Senate, although there other tax proposals involving income taxes (HB 877), hotel/motel taxes (HB 903), and taxpayer funding of judicial campaigns (HB 892).

We may learn more as Gov. Sonny Perdue lays out budget recommendations this week.

No comments:

Post a Comment