Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Benfield on “property tax waivers”

LWV’s Voter Guide includes local candidates’ property tax positions

In questionnaires distributed to candidates for office, the League of Women Voters of Georgia asked, “What specific changes, if any, to property tax policy would you like to see?”

State Representative Stephanie Stuckey Benfield (D-House District 85), whose district covers parts of Decatur, gave one of the more provocative answers to the question of any local candidate for office, floating the idea of empowerment zones for depressed areas where property taxes could be waived. Here is her full response:
My district includes several neighborhoods that have been hard hit by the foreclosure crisis, so I'd work to enact changes in our tax policy to help those who are most in need. Some legislative ideas include: state rebates or tax credits for homeowners with modest incomes, property tax waivers in empowerment zones to attract new investors to hard hit communities, and encouraging more homeowners / renters to appeal their property tax assessments.

In response to the same question, Jason Carter (Democratic incumbent for Senate District 42) said he would like to see a bottom-up review of taxes in Georgia.

State Senator Steve Henson of North DeKalb says he would reinstate the HTRG property tax exemption. Henson is one of several politicians recently making a campaign issue out of the defunct exemption.

Decatur-area candidates Mary Margaret Oliver (Democratic incumbent in HD 83), Stacey Abrams (Democratic incumbent in HD 84), Tom Stubbs (Democratic challenger for SD 42), and Kenneth Quarterman (Republican candidate for HD 85) did not respond to the LWV survey questions.

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