Thursday, April 22, 2010

Property assessment bill advances

SB 346 passed the state House yesterday. The Macon Telegraph ran this Associated Press story about the bill:

ATLANTA -- The House has approved a wide-ranging overhaul of property taxes in Georgia.

The bill's supporters say it's designed to create uniformity in the way homes are taxed and to give homeowners access to more information.

It passed the House 137-7 on Wednesday.

The bill requires that homes be assessed every year. It extends the appeals process from 30 to 45 days and requires that all comparable sales, including bank sales and foreclosures, must be applied when officials set an assessed value.

The bill has already passed the state Senate but the House made minor changes so it must return there for another vote.

State Rep. Ed Lindsey, an Atlanta Republican, said the bill would create transparency and fairness.

The Senate passed an earlier version of the bill unanimously in March.  There were a couple of nay votes on the bill in the House.  Among the lawmakers who represent portions of the City of Decatur, Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver voted yes, Rep. Stephanie Stuckey Benfield voted yes, and Rep. Stacey Abrams did not vote.

After the Senate passes this new amended version of the bill, it goes to the governor’s desk.

It should be noted that saying the bill “requires that homes be assessed every year” is misleading. The bill doesn’t require annual appraisals; it requires that notices of assessment be sent annually.

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