Thursday, March 10, 2016

Columbus mayor says property tax freeze hurts seniors

Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson has been arguing against Columbus-Muscogee's property tax freeze for several years.  Their freeze basically locks the property value in place until the property is improved or sold.  Mayor Tomlinson says their freeze suppresses economic activity by discouraging home improvements and property sales.  New buyers are priced out of the market because the freeze shifts the overall tax burden from sellers to buyers.  Rather than protecting seniors on fixed incomes, Mayor Tomlinson argues that Columbus's freeze actually traps them.  If a senior attempts to downsize, they would lose money on their next home because they'd be subsidizing longtime freeze recipients.  Tomlinson says that it takes at least 14 years to begin benefiting from the freeze, and closer to 30 years until the freeze makes the taxpayer whole.  The average family moves every seven years, so she argues that most Columbus homeowners never benefit from the freeze.  She made her latest pitch during an interesting interview with WLTZ which you can view here.

The Georgia General Assembly has authorized a local referendum in November for Columbus to vote on whether to end the freeze.

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