Seniors may get some tax relief from the state -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Seniors may get some tax relief from the state

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  State lawmakers are looking for ways to increase revenue to close a massive budget hole, but they're also trying to find ways to cut taxes.

The General Assembly passed a bill to eliminate state property taxes and do away with retirement income tax for senior citizens. The bill now goes to the Governor for approval.

Critics say the state shouldn't offer tax breaks at a time the state is struggling with a budget shortfall, but advocates for Senior citizens say any break for seniors is welcome news. While homeowners don't pay much to the state in property taxes, only a quarter of a mill, but any reduction in taxes is good news to most taxpayers.

Especially a break on retirement income for seniors, many of which are on tight, fixed incomes anyway. Louise Jones and her husband have been married 55 years, and they've worked hard for what they have.

Now that they are retired, they try to take things easy and are glad to hear of a tax break coming their way.  "I'm thinking they are doing a good job for doing this for senior citizens."

Gradually phasing out income tax on retirement earnings for seniors like 100-year-old Mary Taylor.  "That would be nice. I don't want to pay on more than I have to."

And advocates for seniors don't want them to pay either.

Debbie Blanton has been fighting to keep the services Seniors need safe from state cuts, but she's glad a tax cut is being considered. "To know that there's some money that they'll have in their pocket is a good thing."

While the bill has yet to be signed, Blanton says hopes it will be, and that more good news is on the way for seniors.  "We're going to be advocating for anything that's positive to seniors."

Like a little positive cash flow, back into their bank accounts.

Both provisions of the bill would begin to be phased in starting 2012. Once fully enacted the tax cut is expected to be more than $250 Million per year.

State legislators are waiting to enact it because they believe the economy will be in better shape by then.

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