40% of Georgians says property tax is unfair…

…That according to a poll that the AJC’s Political Insider got a hold of:

Our colleague James Salzer learned a new poll commissioned by Richardson of 600 Georgians in late October showed 58 percent of respondents favor his plan to eliminate property taxes and replace the lost revenue with an expanded sales tax.

Pollsters also asked people which tax they considered most


  1. StevePerkins says:

    One of the gripes I have as a pragmatic libertarian is people’s greater appetite for challenging taxation than for challenging the services that are paid for by taxation. Nobody wants to pay a property tax… but they sure want police and fire department coverage for their property, good schools in the area to drive up their property values, etc.

    This is my core problem with Georgia’s fetish for “tax reform”… there is no corresponding fascination with “SPENDING reform”. People get religiously fired up for the FairTax, which is supposed to be revenue-neutral compared to the current income tax. A smaller handful of people back the Speaker’s plan, which is also supposed to be revenue-neutral.

    Why, then, do people get excited about proposals for tax reform that are supposed to still take in the same amount of tax revenue. The only answer I can come up with is people’s assumption that after the cards have been re-shuffled, they’ll wind up shouldering a lower portion of the tax burden while continuing to enjoy the same level of services. I’m sorry, but that’s just not a very defensible position to me. I’ve heard about all I care to hear regarding “tax reform”. Start with SPENDING reform, and let the tax breaks flow from there. Otherwise, it’s just a three-card-shuffle con job.

  2. ToddH says:

    I’m not an economist or anything but it seems to me that an expanded sales tax would hit Georgians in the stomach a lot more than property taxes do. I pay about $1200 a year in property taxes and I’m pretty sure that I pay more than that in sales taxes for all my purchases throughout the year. With that, depending on how much the sales tax is expanded, it seems that the additional sales taxation would be more than what I pay right now in property taxes, so where is the benefit? Then again, as I stated previously, I’m not an economist.

  3. StevePerkins says:

    jsm: I’ve learned to get over the “purity tests” that come with using the word libertarian. If you don’t approach smaller government from a quasi-RELIGIOUS perspective… if you’re not an outright anarchist as a matter of moral principle… then a lot of libertarians will disown you.

    So be it… it’s not like this sort of thing is isolated to libertarians. John McCain has one of the most conservative records of anyone running on the GOP side this year, but he’s not a “real” conservative because he’s butted heads with religious wackos and is soft on immigrants. Hillary Clinton is disowned by a significant portion of the far-left for being too moderate.

    So yeah, I’m “impure” enough to support funding a police dept, fire dept, and school in my neighborhood. Feel free to take my name of the Christmas card list.

  4. IndyInjun says:

    Andre Walker:

    I agree that some tax reform is better than none.

    I agree that there are a lot of sales tax exemptions that are too narrow in focus and should be eliminated.

    HOWEVER, no one is addressing property tax exemptions that shift the burden away from paying “ON VALUE” for everyone and onto the backs of the common citizen, whose property can be taken to pay the unequal tax burden.

    The conservation use exemption results in about 60,000 acres of land in Columbia County being taxed on a value of less than $400 per acre, when one cannot find land for less than $10,000 per acre. This shifts $millions from one small group of property owners onto everyone else.

    In Lincoln County about 60% of the land is so exempted, shifting about $250 onto every household.

    Then there is the timber tax, basically an ‘honor’ system, where the tax collections are running at a paltry $13 million a year on a $3 or $4 billion a year industry. In other states with a timber tax, the tax can be collected on timber sales from exempt lands, but NOT Georgia.

    We would not need tax reform if the legislature had been looking out for the common good of all Georgians all along, instead of letting lobbyists write tax legislation.

  5. eburke says:

    So because of the unfair treatment of one old lady in Dekalb County we are going to scrap the whole system and throw the state into the train-wreck that will be our “Great Plan”.

    Lets reform the system and increase homestead exemption but don’t send all the revenue to operate my city, county and school system to Atlanta to be redistributed as the General Assembly sees fit.

  6. dorian says:

    I don’t think any of us can truly comprehend how mind-blowingly, earth-shatteringly, monumentally ill conceived this tax scheme is or how disasterous it is going to be for the state. I am very glad to see the governor has come out against it.

  7. dorian says:

    It is also interesting to note that in the comments to the AJC Political Insider article one person who says he took the poll indicated that the pollsters asked slanted questions leading up to that last question to get the result they wanted. Does that surprise anyone?

  8. Andre Walker says:

    So because of the unfair treatment of one old lady in Dekalb County we are going to scrap the whole system and throw the state into the train-wreck that will be our

  9. ToddH says:

    I know other states have eliminated property taxes. How did they make up for the lost revenue and how has that property tax elimination worked for them?

  10. Romegaguy says:

    I wonder if they would be so kind as to release the questions asked and statements read BEFORE the two questions that are reported. Just wondering.

  11. atlantaman says:

    It’s an interesting poll in that 40% said property taxes were the most unfair, since you’re going to have a decent percentage of folks where the only tax they every pay is sales and some payroll.

  12. cheapseats says:

    The thing that REALLY made this poll bogus is that they did not mention anything about how all the money would be controlled by the Gold Domers without any local control.

    That is THE single most important reason that this thing should go down in flames!

    I hope Richardson gets “Murphy-ed” in the next election but, I’m not holding my breath.

  13. jsm says:

    I believe the reason people think property taxes are unfair is that they go against the whole concept of freedom, which is what this country is supposed to be about. Freedom does not equal having to pay the government because you own a car, a boat, a house, or a piece of land. Something I worked hard to pay for should be mine without having to write the government a check to keep it.

    I agree that the idea of sending local tax money to Atlanta is a bad idea. So why don’t we press our legislators to develop a GREAT(ER) Plan that keeps sales tax or an income-based local tax at home? Why couldn’t a county tax commissioner’s job transition to collecting local sales taxes?

  14. IndyInjun says:


    Having the locals collect their own tax is how they do it in Louisiana, with the parishes.

    Trust me, Georgia BUSINESS does not want to get into that nightmare. There is almost no consistency as to forms, there are multiple tax jurisdictions within the local entities, and businesses can be audited, not only by the state, but by every local government.

    I AM of the opinion that counties should have rights to audit returns as filed with DOR, to make sure known businesses within a county are coding the Local taxes to the correct county.

    See, this is one of many reforms that need to be made without a radical change that might not collect enough revenue.

  15. IndyInjun says:


    Laffer gets undue credit.

    The huge money supply increase was responsible for the increase in tax revenues, not the Reagan or Bush tax cuts.

    Hey, I have been a reliably Republican voter, but I haven’t drunk of the propaganda.

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