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Senate searching for property tax relief
The people's business
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As we approach the midpoint of this session of the Georgia General Assembly, the Senate is still hard at work addressing pressing issues facing Georgia residents.
Property tax has developed into an overwhelming burden for taxpayers all over Georgia, and is one of the most hated and unfair ways to collect revenue. In order to alleviate the pressures of rapidly increasing reassessment values, I am supporting two resolutions that have passed through the Senate that will limit increases in the assessed value of property in Georgia. The proposed amendments will be voted on by the people as a local referendum.
·_Senate Resolution 686 will require the freezing of existing residential property values, and will further require that residential property be assessed at its fair market value as of the date that the property was purchased. This will ensure that local governments cannot increase tax revenue by increasing the assessed value. As Senate President Pro Tempore Eric Johnson said, "taxes ought to be visible and hard to raise." Currently, local governments can rely on using reassessments to raise revenue. This new legislation will require local governments to publicly stand behind tax increases and bring the power to tax closer to the people. If approved by the voters, this proposal will force local governments to raise the tax rate if they want more money from homeowners. making local governments more accountable to the people they serve.
·_SR 796 will provide tax relief to both residential and nonresidential property owners. This proposal, if approved by the voters, will freeze the current assessed value of property and provide for a maximum applicable increase in assessed value during any year to come. For residential property, the assessed value may not increase by more than two percent of the property value. For nonresidential property, the assessed value may not increase by more than three percent of the property value. Under this proposal, local governments may increase the assessment valuation if a majority of the local voters approve, and they follow a uniform process established by the General Assembly. This process establishes guidelines to protect taxpayers from unwarranted valuation increases.
It is important to realize that both of these resolutions are designed to solve a problematic portion of the Georgia tax code, and to provide for more accountability of governments. Alleviating the burden that property tax places on Georgians will put more money into the pockets of the people and help establish a uniform process for tax assessments in this State. Lowering the tax burden Georgians face is important, and addressing the growing problems associated with property tax valuation is a good start and it is important for every Georgia taxpayer. This is another example of how senate republican leadership is delivering on its promise to provide much needed tax reform and relief.

Williams is Senate majority leader and represents the 19th Senate District, which includes Appling, Jeff Davis, Long, Montgomery, Toombs, Wayne, and Wheeler counties and a portion of Liberty and Tattnall counties.  He can be reached at (404) 656-0089 or by email at

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