Efforts to curb property tax hikes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Efforts to curb property tax hikes

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December 10, 2003

Albany - In the future, your property tax bill could be the same amount every year. Some lawmakers want a freeze on Georgia property taxes.

How would you like to put your property taxes in your freezer? Albany property owner, Jim White, says, "That would be fine with me."

White would love to freeze his property taxes. He adds, "The bill was almost $1700, which is an increase over last year. I don't know exactly how much."

Senator George Hooks says because of fast growing counties in metro Atlanta, Senators have voted to curb property tax increases. Hooks says, "We frankly are not that great of burden in this section of the state as they are so it's coming from public pressure from the growth areas around the area. We'll have to see how that washes out."

The value of your property would remain unchanged for tax purposes until the property was sold. The new property would then be reassessed. White likes that idea, "If you know what your bills are going to be you can prepare for them ahead of time."

House Representative Winfred Dukes believes the decision should be made by county and city officials not the state. Dukes says, "They know what they need, it's their responsibility and they should do it."

If approved by the House and then by voters in next year's general election, the measure would freeze your assessment at the 2004 level, allowing only annual increases limited to the increase in the consumer price index. Hooks adds, "I've been there 23 years and I know legislation is like making sausage, it takes a long time to put it together."

Until the sausage is made, White will have to thaw out his property tax bill and keep guessing how much his bill will be next year.

The property tax freeze will be debated when the legislature convenes in January.

posted at 5:10PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com