The Georgia State Senate voted Friday to double the statewide homestead exemption by passing Senate Bill 83 with a 40-14 vote. The bill will now go to the House.
Sen. Bill Heath said last week he fully supports the bill
“This is tax reform at its best,” Heath said.
Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) introduced the bill amends the Homestead Exemption Act to increase the exemption from $2,000.00 to $4,000.00 with automatic future adjustments for inflation. The bill would replace the current appropriations legislation giving homestead grants to counties and cities to offset property taxes, allowing municipalities to lower their millage.
The grants are being heavily discussed the year and face elimination because of budget cuts. Cutting out the grant money for this fiscal year, which ends June 30, would mean homeowners would get another revised tax bill they would have to pay.
For Polk County residents, that would amount to around $208, according to lawmakers.
“This is crystal-clear legislation that is the proper way to deliver property tax relief to homeowners,” said Rogers. “Overall, this coupled with the tax assessment caps, will impact those who need it the most - taxpayers.”
The Homestead Exemption Act became State law in the 1930s under Governor Eugene Talmadge’s Administration. The tax exemption was proposed at $2000 and has remained that amount ever since. If the measure passes in the House, it will go on the special-election ballot in June for voters to make the final decision.
Heath and Rogers also support House Resolution 1 to help protect Georgia property owners from unfair property assessment increases. Rogers authored similar legislation, Senate Resolution 796, which provides tax relief for homeowners through a constitutional amendment to cap property tax assessments. Residential property assessed value may not increase anymore than two percent a year and non-residential property assessed value may not increase anymore than three percent a year or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.
In addition, it allows property to be assessed at a real, fair market value and will establish accountability for the property tax system. The resolution passed the State Senate in 2008.