By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
You can help reform the tax code
Courier editorial
Placeholder Image
If you feel your property taxes are unfair, now you’ve got a chance to have your say – and maybe even find someone willing to listen.
The Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians announced Monday it will take comments from the public at an Aug. 31 meeting in Savannah.
It’s long overdue, but it’s nice to know that someone is making an effort to get the public’s view on property taxes. Such taxes have been an emotional issue in Georgia for years, and so has the ongoing effort at reforming a system many believe is based on an outdated assumption – namely that the ownership of property is a measure of personal wealth and thus owners should be taxed accordingly.
That may once have been the case but clearly is no longer true.  There are a number of longtime area homeowners who are treading water simply to keep what they have, including local residents who saw their assessments (and tax bills) climb rapidly during the real estate boom while their income stayed static.
There are ongoing efforts to provide tax relief. There was even a brief movement to eliminate property taxes, but that went nowhere fast.
Freezes in valuations and exemptions are a common way to try and ease the pain. But unless government can find ways to cut back, those exemptions (no matter how well deserved or needed) simply pass governments’ need for bucks onto someone else. And the freezes are simply another way of exempting a tax. It doesn’t address the root issue of how we fund government.  
In other words, real reform is needed. It’s an open question whether that’s reform of government, reform of the means by which we finance it or something else -- but it should be a question. Tax reform shouldn’t only be about finding other ways to pay for government. It should be about what we’re paying for.
The meeting is from 4-7 p.m. at Coastal Georgia Center Auditorium, 305 Fahm St. in Savannah. Anyone can sign up to speak, but no long-winded orations are allowed and speakers are asked to limit their remarks to five minutes.
To sign up to speak, contact the council in advance at People who can’t attend can still share their views by submitting written comments on the website.
Either way, we encourage those who feel strongly about property tax reform and fairness to make their opinions known. It’s that important.
Sign up for our e-newsletters