Coincidentally, while I was complaining about property taxes the other day, Becky Burgess in the District 137 contested GOP primary, was sending out a mailer and press release on a plan to freeze assessments.
From her release:
Becky Burgess announced today the central plank of her campaign platform will be legislation to allow the voters to freeze property tax assessments for all purposes in Macon and Bibb County.
The property tax assessment freeze is already law in most of the biggest counties in Georgia, including Cobb, Gwinnett, Cherokee, Forsyth, Chatham, and Savannah. Even small rural counties like Ware and Pierce have enacted this legislation. However, the voters of Bibb have never been given a chance to vote on this legislation.
The Macon Telegraph ran a report this weekend suggesting such a plan would be unconstitutional, but there are, as Burgess indicated, a number of counties with the plan already.
Now, here’s my one concern — you’d have to be very careful how you do this. Take California for example. There, when a person buys a house the taxable value is frozen until sale. The problem is that when the house is sold the tax value is reassessed and, as a result, can sometimes skyrocket more than 100% of the original assessment.
Doing a tax assessment freeze could cause some people difficulty in selling their homes when people realize what they will be paying in property taxes. If, however, the tax freeze is more a restraint on the percentage increase, then it could work very well.
If nothing else, it is the first substantive idea to come out of this election.