Bob Griggs writes in Sunday’s AJC:
Tax assessment “freezes” create inequity and unfairness in the property tax system. With a freeze, some taxpayers pay a higher percentage of their property’s fair market value in tax than do others.
Sen. Chip Rogers’ amendment (SR-796) would actually REMOVE the constitutional requirement that all homeowners be taxed equally! No longer would taxing authorities be prohibited from arbitrarily overtaxing one Georgia citizen to the benefit of another.
Assessment freezes cause their greatest harm to lower-income homeowners, including the elderly and those on fixed incomes.
Assessment freezes also penalize those who remain in older neighborhoods.
This is easily illustrated, which leads me to conclude that our legislators simply do not understand how the property tax process works.
The millage rate is the key to Georgia’s property tax system. (One “mill” is $1 of tax on every $1,000 of taxable value. ) When properly calculated, the rate ensures that property owners pay no more and no less than is required to fund the cost of their government.
Correctly calculated, the millage rate ensures that, as property assesments increase, the tax rate must decrease, as long as politicians hold the line on the cost of government.
However, Georgia’s tax law is broken. There is no requirement that taxing authorities simply “do the math” and follow the procedure that has been taught for decades to tax commissioners, appraisers and assessors, and Board of Equalization members across the state.
A recent study showed that fewer than one out of 10 cities, counties and school boards adopt a mathematically correct millage rate. As a consequence, the taxpayers in the overwhelming majority of Georgia’s cities and counties are either overtaxed or undertaxed —- it MUST be one or the other.
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