Crystal Freeman got a notice that the taxable value of her Grant Park home jumped from $438,700 to $532,900. She complained that other, larger houses on her street are valued at less.
“I simply do not understand that,” Freeman said. “I can’t understand why mine went up $100,000. If I were to sell, I couldn’t get this. It’s going to force me out of my home.”
Source: 5/8/2008 AJC article “Fulton property owners face city, county tax hike”
There is no other way to say it.
This is a backdoor tax increase.
It happens every year across the state. The local board of tax assesors goes out and appraises your property, then a few weeks later you get a notice in the mail saying that your property is worth a lot more than you’d be able to sell it for on the open market. Then, to make matters worse, when you ask your county commissioner or city council member (sometimes both) why your taxes have gone up, they give you the extremely misleading answer that “I haven’t voted to increase the millage rate. Your taxes have remained the same.”
Um…excuse me, but no they haven’t. Last year, I paid $800 in property taxes. This year, I’m paying $1,100 in taxes…oh yeah, my taxes have gone up.
This year, in the Georgia General Assembly, a bipartisan group of Democrats and Republicans introduced a constitutional amendment —House Resolution 1170— that would have effectively ended these backdoor tax increases by freezing the value of a person’s property at 2002 levels. Unfortunately, the proposed amendment never made it out of committee despite the fact that House Speaker Pro Tempore Mark Burkhalter (R – Alpharetta) had favorable words for the measure saying, “If local officials want to raise taxes, they should have to do it openly and honestly.”
Well, I think H.R.1170 should be introduced again in the 2009 legislative session and each year after that until we put an end to this annual ritual of the government raising our property taxes without actually raising our millage rates.