Bill could eliminate property tax - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Bill could eliminate property tax

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February 12, 2008

Valdosta - There's a bill before the senate that could allow communities around the state to eliminate or reduce property tax for homes and businesses by creating an additional local option sales tax.

If passed, the city of Valdosta says their economy and location would make them a perfect candidate.  "We have a bigger consumer base here in Valdosta then many other areas around and we are going to try and take advantage of that to help our local people in their property taxes," says Valdosta Mayor John Fretti.

Mayor Fretti says there's a bill before the General Assembly that if passed, could allow the city to impose a 1%sales tax.

"The 1% consumption tax, or sales tax would go directly to completely eliminating or drastically reducing property tax in that city."

Meaning you property tax will be partially paid for by shoppers from other areas.  "Someone traveling on I-75, traveling down from Iowa could help pay that consumption tax."

But Senator Tim Golden says that while it may eliminate property tax in the city, it could possibly put retailers at a competitive disadvantage.

"With all the communities in Florida that border us, they are at 7 or 7and a half cents so you have to decide, do you want to raise it one cent and be at a competitive disadvantage?"

The bill was just passed out of the Senate Finance Committee but still has a long way to go before being approved. If passed, a referendum to create the sales tax and eliminate property tax in the city could be on the ballot as early as November.

City leaders say the tax would not be added to goods like groceries or energy. Just anything you'd buy with disposable income.

To see a complete elimination of the tax or a greater reduction, the county and school boards would have to jump on board as well.

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