Monday, February 8, 2016

Sen. Parent sponsors 5 homestead exemption bills

State Senator Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) introduced five local legislative bills on Thursday to expand homestead exemptions in Decatur. Senate Bill 339 would increase the basic homestead exemption (known as the GH1) from $20,000 to $25,000. SB 340 would increase the exemption for homeowners over 65 (GH2) from $1,000 to $10,000. SB 342 would create a new $15,000 exemption (GH3) for homeowners over 62 with household income under $50,000. SB 341 would repeal an old cap on exemption amounts. The bills would reduce property taxes for eligible homeowners by decreasing the taxable value of their homes. The bills resemble House Bill 670, 672, and 673 which did not make it out of the House of Representatives during the 2015 session, but city officials and state lawmakers are more confident that the proposed tax relief will be approved this time around.

SB 343 is a new proposal supported by the City Schools of Decatur and the Decatur City Commission that would create an exemption from school taxes (excluding school bond taxes) for homeowners over 65.

If the bills pass the Georgia General Assembly, they would have to be signed by the governor and approved by voters before they would go into effect in 2017. The new school exemption would expire in 2021 unless it is renewed.

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