Taming the Tax Hog: Cap Property Tax Reassessments

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They’re Back! Like a horror film sequel, Georgia property owners this year are seeing a return of spiraling property tax reassessments leading to staggering back door tax increases by local governments. It is time to put an end to this practice once and for all by limiting annual increases to no more than 3% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

We attempted to pass this reasonable limitation in the General Assembly in 2009 but fell short of the required 2/3 majority needed for a constitutional amendment to put it into place permanently. The legislature then enacted a temporary freeze to protect property owners in the depths of the recession but that temporary protection has now expired.

Often, proponents of the use of property taxes to fund local governments describe this form of taxation as a “good tax” because it is a “predictable” source of revenue for government. If true, this predictability should be a two way street. This proposed constitutional amendment will allow Georgia property owners to plan and budget their future tax obligations without the threat of rapidly increasing reassessments literally taxing their property out from underneath them.

One of the most important requirements of a government in a free society is to tax its citizens fairly and openly. Our present property tax system does neither. The present system taxes property owners on an artificial unrealized value set by bureaucrats. Not even the IRS is so bold to tax you on an unrealized gain. Furthermore, the present system allows local governments to raise property taxes through back door assessment increases.

This assessment cap proposal protects the family farmer in Wilcox County, the working class homeowner in Clayton County, and the suburban family in Cobb County. By allowing for inflationary increases, local governments can continue to provide for local services if they operate efficiently.   In short, it is a common sense proposal that both protects property owners and encourages efficient and responsive local government.

It is always the right time to do the right thing and introducing greater fairness and transparency into our maddening property tax system is definitely the right thing to do now. The General Assembly needs to put a constitutional amendment to limit property tax assessments on the ballot in 2016.

52 comments

  1. blakeage80 says:

    As a homeowner, I should probably understand property tax better. With my surface knowledge, though, it sounds good to me.

  2. A better reform would be taxing based on the unimproved value of the land. Adding an increase target basically just guarantees that people’s bills will just all go up by whatever the CPI is each year, but starting from wildly uneven values because of the existing system.

    I fail to see how the proposed amendment differs that much from Colorado’s TABOR, a proposal that sounds good in practice, got voter approval and then was subsequently despised by voters and effectively overturned. What good is having the states be a laboratory of innovation if we don’t learn from the failed experiments from the other labs?

    • Edward Lindsey says:

      Chris: There is no correlation to TABOR. This bill will simply require local governments to go through the front door in proposing tax increases rather than relying on back door reassessment increases to raise new revenue. When having to go through the front door, elected officials tend to my more reticent to raise taxes and will explore other alternatives first.

    • Edward Lindsey says:

      David: The problem is that this solution has simply not worked. Local officials brag about not raising the millage rate knowing full well that they are raising taxes through back door reassessment increases. This had bred inefficiencies in spending and cynicism from taxpayers.

  3. jpm says:

    AMEN! While fixing Section 48 add to our list a few other things such as local government using “revenue neutral” to artificially keep a property tax inflated when the property value lowers, limit the number of sequential SPLOST, ESPLOST, etc. so that a special purpose tax does not become a forever tax, and a whole host of other tax issues.

    As far as “wildly uneven values”, the counties are allowed to invent adds to the DOR list which creates the uneven values – look at settlements before courts in Lincoln and Muscogee Counties to see the tip of the invented categories that jack up rates unevenly across the State.

    48 is rife with needed changes to make government more efficient and to better serve the public.

  4. saltycracker says:

    Growth or survival or empire building, revenue thirsty cities and counties will always find a way to manipulate property tax formulas. There are so many angles and every area has its own culture of what they think is the right way. I have played this game in so many ways, for so many years in so many properties.

    It would take pages to discuss them and right when we thought we resolved it, surprise !

    Georgia locales would be better served by eliminating property taxes from homesteaders and replacing it with a 1% sales tax.

    Then putting some cap on non-homesteaded properties. (I have a property with a cap and it goes up the Max every year but then the millages go up too.)

    • saltycracker says:

      PS – putting more taxing districts into the mix (schools, fire, mosquito control…some areas have more than a dozen different agencies that can set millages) and that requires more tax approaches like impact fees and sales taxes on more types of purchases and less exemptions.

    • Edward Lindsey says:

      Saltycracker: Thank you for thinking outside the box. I want this post to generate a discussion on how to fix a broken system. We need to kick your idea around as well. Here is a question though, should we use sales tax to lower/eliminate income or property taxes?

      • Raleigh says:

        I think it was back in 2007 then Georgia Speaker Glenn Richardson proposed the GREAT plan to eliminate all property taxes. I thought it was a good idea and supported it but it didn’t go over too well…

        I knew it was in trouble when I heard someone say “But those rich people who own airplanes should have to pay their fair share.” Then local government screamed they needed a stable revenue source. That was just before the crash of 2008. Karma’s tough isn’t it?

        Still I favor using sales tax to offset property tax in as many places as we can.

        http://www.georgiatrend.com/October-2007/Examining-The-Great-Plan/

      • John Konop says:

        Edward,

        A very interesting question:

        The value of residential property is usually driven by schools, safety and access ( jobs, entertainment….). The cost of property is combination of mortgage, taxes and services ie payment….take that value verse the above, ( schools, safety and access ) and that drives value increase or decrease. Also a market is broken down, by income and employment verse what they can afford. As income goes up…it drives property value up via supply/demand and income to spend.

        The real question is how to fund the above while focusing on quality of life, and jobs. If we neglect the above it will hurt the economy, and property value on a macro.

        I would reverse engineer the issue first, and figure out what we need to support infrastructure needs for the future, and than overlap efficiency ideas ie budget. Than figure out how to fund it. This year to year, without out long term planning, looks like a checkers match, rather than a well thought out chess match in my opinion.

        • Raleigh says:

          John,

          The market may value property using jobs safety, access in combination with cost of property etc. etc. however the assessor’s office doesn’t have to use any of that and they don’t.

          I can show you where improved property (Land) with underground utilities, natural gas service, and street lights is valued at half what unimproved property is assessed by the county. There are no sales that support that. Why is improved property worth half of unimproved property especially when the two plots of land are right across the road from one another? This cannot be justified. In Cherokee County if you want to know why those farmers are selling their land out for even more subdivisions that’s one of the big reasons.

          The question isn’t how to fund anything, it’s being funded, it’s how to fix a broken system.

          • John Konop says:

            Raleigh,

            You may be right, I have no idea about how they do the current system. I do know the current system is way behind on infrastructure in our community as well as metro Atlanta. I was at a town hall in our community and heard over 150 people pissed about all the issues we have with infrastructure. We do not move people, products and services in an efficient manner by any measurement.

      • saltycracker says:

        EL,

        Thank you for openly discussing this. Numbers need to be run on any approach to avoid surprises. Tom the numbers I’ve seen it would take o.66% to 0.75% increase in sales tax to eliminate the county portion of homesteaded property taxes. Guessing 1.25% to cover homesteaded property taxes. Doubt sales tax would not really have to be raised much if it was collected over a broader scope including internet sales, all real estate transactions, sunsetting a lot of exclusions and other areas you know better than us.

        if it runs smoothly we should start moving property taxes on non-homesteaded property to increased sales taxes or transactions generated by that property. When money or its equal changes hands, get the public a cut.

        As for income taxes we would all be better served by eliminating corporate income tax tomorrow. The receipts aren’t worth the effort on both sides to calculate (lawyers, accountants, computers, bureaucracy) and then lobby for special breaks.

        Income taxes on individuals: state needs to tax all income 2%, from $1,000 up, excepting only SS, interest on treasuries, FDIC and insurance company interest up to state/fed guarantee level and probably a few other areas to be negotiated. No deductions, no rebates, from income (That means anything on schedule A for openers).
        I personally wouldn’t like it but it makes all residents equal and have skin in the game. Do the rich have more disposable money, sure, and they won’t need a CPA and attorney to hide it but we got a cut. They also would have better things to talk about at cocktails and probably be shunned rather than envied for their scheme to rip off the system.

        Then I’d also like to see everyone have to carry private insurance, even if subsidized, and those on food stamps fed at local school cafeterias rather than handed a money card……..and churches define marriage while govt sticks to individuals and………..

        GREAT was a disaster…..a great leap the edu-cracy went after every politician for even uttering. It morphed quickly to a joke. No need to rehash that dud.

        • saltycracker says:

          Sorry for the iPad inputs like Tom for the and omission like the 1.25% sales tax referred to covering school taxes on homesteaded properties. In a hurry to get to a beer drinking contest.

        • seekingtounderstand says:

          Speaking of special tax breaks……….the businesses that do not receive the special breaks are pissed off and looking at leaving.
          Gwinnett has lost two major corporations in the last few years.
          So we keep raising property taxes and businesses leave due to not receiving special treatment…………
          So Atlanta is Detroit on a death spiral……………..

  5. Dave Bearse says:

    I’m certainly open to improvements in the assessment process, but the proposal is tax break likely to disproportionately benefit the rich and long time residents at everyone else’s expense.

    I think federal taxation isn’t very fair to some of the well to do, but making state and local taxes more regressive isn’t the answer.

    • Edward Lindsey says:

      Dave: I disagree. Some of the hardest hit under the present system are lower income and senior citizens on a fixed income.

      • taylor says:

        Depends on the county. In Cobb County, I think it’s age 62 when school taxes are no longer paid. There are houses in my neighborhood with 3 kids, grandfather owner, and $0 going to the schools. Widespread, unlimited exemptions are also a prow.

        Should counties be able to exempt seniors from higher sales taxes? Or will they face a tax increase?

        • Dave Bearse says:

          As you note, seniors are exempted from significant property taxes in many jurisdictions. Respectable homestead exemptions knocks off much of the taxable value of inexpensive housing roughly the same for everyone. Higher homestead exemption would better protect inexpensive housing.

          Saving some a few pennies while saving the much better off a few dollars isn’t my idea of a good deal.

      • seekingtounderstand says:

        With no increases in Social Security and interest rates paying nothing on CD its a miracle that seniors have been able to hang on to their homes………rising tax rates will destroy them.
        We have too much taxes and too many layers of government.
        Consolidate counties and have less government.

  6. Raleigh says:

    Capping assessments? Never happen. Local government s will NOT allow that to happen. Property taxes and property tax assessments are to local governments the Holy of Holies and thy shall not desecrate the temple of local revenue, property taxes. Local government pretty much dictates to the state legislators what they can do. Sad our legislators are powerless or just plain scared to stand up to them.

    The current system is supposed to be fair but we know it’s not. The rules if followed are if assessments go up then the millage rate is supposed to be reduced to a revenue neutral state. This is supposed to have the effect of equalizing the tax burden. Well it doesn’t work very well. Here is why.

    According to state code assessors may use “anything” at their disposal to set property values. In other words they are not bound to use anything other than to arrive at a “Fair market value” State code does not specify how they arrive at that and what that value is although they say they try to use area property sales. In the absence of sales they can do anything they want. If the legislature really wants to help one band aid would be to define how assessments are done and what can be used to calculate the assessment value rather than giving them Carte blanche.

    A very popular method of generating more revenue is the “backdoor” tax increase which local governments accomplish by not rolling the millage rate back to revenue neutral. Again according to state code your local government must hold 3 public meetings about the millage rate. If they do I can guarantee you they are planning a tax increase. They do not have to hold the meeting if the rate is rolled back to the revenue neutral state. What I love is local politicians like to partially roll the rate back then crow that they reduced the millage rate perpetrating the allusion that they reduced taxes when they actual raised taxes. When caught and then they must explain this they always blame the state. I know what they are doing but John Q. Public apparently does not or just doesn’t care and the local politicians know it.

    A couple of years ago my state then senator was angry because the assessor increased his assessment because he “liked the senators landscaping”. I had to laugh, welcome to our world senator. After the smoke cleared of course nothing happened.

    Anyway good luck in taming the property tax hog but I don’t think Hogzilla can be tamed, at least not by our state legislature.

    • seekingtounderstand says:

      Then you have the unfairness of the rich hiring lawyers to get their property taxes reduced which happen with the last crash………..but the poor working class ended up not having their property taxes reduced because the couldn’t hire a professional or didn’t know how to do it.
      Some of the working class got threaten by the assessor and scared off………..
      If local governments are so self serving then the governor needs to step in and save the state.
      WE are on our way to being Detroit………….higher taxes and people leave.

  7. Rambler14 says:

    “It is time to put an end to this practice once and for all by limiting annual increases to no more than 3% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.”

    Are property owners forbidden from selling their house for 3% higher than the previous year’s comps?

    Why should we as property owners be able to benefit from the market rebounding from the disaster it was 3-4 years ago, and not allow the county tax digests to experience the same benefit?

    • Raleigh says:

      You see, this is a prime example of how little understanding there is about the Georgia property tax laws.

      The way the law is written assessments should have nothing to do with revenue. Revenue is set when your local government sets the millage rate.

      Your assessment could go up 1000% but Georgia code dictates the Millage rate is to be ROLLED back to a revenue natural state. That means if the assessments go up 1000% then the millage rate must be reduced 1000%

      Of course if you want local government to be able to raise you taxes at will the current system work just fine.

      • saltycracker says:

        My absolute favorite (in FL) was a county commissioner angrily telling me they did not raise my taxes (up 50% in 24 mos) as they did not change the millages, my problem was with the tax assessor. Talked to the assessor, who said they only apply a process defined by law to set values.
        They then gave me a list of all the dozen agencies that set millages and those were the ones I needed to see. I was told either the BOC was passing the buck or just plan ignorant, after a laugh over the person, we decided the latter.

        The story gets better when the local paper went aghast when one of the many agencies doubled their millage for a pet project. Taxpayers still never sorted it out and the agency runs wild still.

        • Raleigh says:

          I hear you, ignorance and stupidity, we know which one can be fixed but maybe we should add apathy. Every time I hear someone get mad about the property tax I explain what’s going on to them then next week they have already moved on to something else. All the local entities who set millage rates know about citizen apathy and there are happy to exploit it. Still I try to do my part and educate them.

          • seekingtounderstand says:

            Its not apathy………….they know that can’t fight city hall. However you would be surprised at how many are planning to leave Georgia, both business owners and talented people.
            But hey you can always get more immigrants to come here. Until they figure out how things work.

    • Edward Lindsey says:

      Rambler: The problem is that the property owner is presently being taxed on an unrealized gain. The property owner is seeing no benefit to unchecked increased assessment.

  8. Jon Richards says:

    An alternative to this proposal would be to do what Gwinnett County does:

    The Gwinnett Value Offset Exemption (VOE) is a local homestead exemption. When granted a homestead exemption in Gwinnett County, County VOE is automatically applied. The VOE protects Gwinnett homeowners from County property tax increases that are the result of increases in a property’s value. The VOE is applied to the home and up to five acres of land.

    The VOE establishes the property value as of January 1 of the year prior to the application year as the base value for County tax purposes (not school, city or state tax purposes). Even though the County appraised value will change due to market value updates, the County portion of taxes will continue to be calculated using the base-year value unless the property value drops below the base-year value.

    If the assessed value drops below the base-year value, there will be no VOE savings until property value rises above the base-year value as the current assessed value will be used to calculate taxes.

    This method provides predictability for the taxpayer. For him or her, taxes only increase when the millage rate increases. For the taxing authority, values for property are set when the home is sold.

    • gcp says:

      The problem is that it does not apply to school taxes and as a result most (maybe all) Gwinnett taxpayers have a much higher school tax bill as opposed to taxes that fund county government.

  9. mjhicks says:

    This is a bad idea. It has broader ramifications than people realize.

    On the surface it seems reasonable (and will probably poll well to the masses), but upon deeper analysis the unintended consequences of it are too problematic.  It is applying an artificial approach to an issue that is 1) inherently problematic and 2) not necessary.

    It is inherently problematic.  This is simply a form of market manipulation (artificially capping something at 3% that has a natural (and unencumbered) growth rate.  Much like Proposition 13 in California, artificially restricting property taxes like this will, over time, have numerous significant negative unintended consequences – financial, social, and otherwise.   http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1904938,00.html  and http://www.ocregister.com/taxdollars/strong-477516-property-prop.html and http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/04/proposition-13-at-age-35/?_r=0

    This proposal is simply another form of well-intentioned, but fundamentally flawed, form of governmental intervention to reach a different desired end – just this time it’s being put forth by the well-intentioned good guys.  In its most simple form, the proposal restricts “X” to cause “Y” effect.  Here the proposal restricts the natural growth of properties’ assessed values (X) to 3% to control an owner’s property taxes (Y).  However, restricting the natural growth of property values will not only impact property taxes, it will also result is problematic loopholes, funding deficits, unequal treatment, power shifts, governmentally selected “winners and losers” and other unintended effects.  For every story about a mistreated property owner that can’t pay their taxes, over time this will result in enormous numbers of mistreated people paying grossly disproportionate taxes.  (As an aside, there are many protections already in place to help “protect” mistreated property owners – notifications, numerous exemptions, appeals, etc. etc.).  This solution is fraught with problems.

    Secondly, it is not necessary.  If there is a genuine problem with governmental bureaucrats establishing property values, then fix that problem.  Offer a well thought out solution and fix it.  Secondly, there is already a solution to “Y” effect (property owner’s taxes) and it’s called elections.  Some people want to live with higher taxes and higher services and are quite happy with it.  If you, or anyone else, finds themselves in a place that is inconsistent with their own fiscal wishes, then elect local people that share your values.  But don’t harm the entire state because YOU don’t like YOUR locality’s decisions.  

    • Edward Lindsey says:

      Mjhicks: Sorry but there is a real problem as shown by the fact that every time this proposal is put on the ballot around the country it passes overwhelmingly and has never been repealed. The arguments you raise were put forth by opponents and voted down overwhelmingly every time. You might want to argue that voters are stupid or gullible but my experience is that they usually know what they are doing.

      The present system is inherently unfair, subjective, and unevenly administered. We have been trying to put band aids on it for years. I know. I was one of the folks who tried to address the problems with “fixes” before and after we failed in 2009 to pass the constitutional amendment. It is time to fundamentally change the system. If not my plan, what is yours? Saltycracker and Jon, have stepped forward. Anyone else have another idea?

      • ryanhawk says:

        Jon’s idea + eliminate property taxation for schools and finance k12 schooling with state funds. Should be a bipartisan coalition in favor of that since we are just one lawsuit away (see NM, TX, MI, etc…) from having the courts mandate this anyway. D’s get better funding for some of our worst performing schools and R’s get property tax relief.

        Folks will scream local control, but funding and control have always been separate and this is no different. Locals can add more ESPLOST or something like it if they want to top up the state funding.

      • mjhicks says:

        @Ed Lindsey

        “Sorry but there is a real problem as shown by the fact that every time this proposal is put on the ballot around the country it passes overwhelmingly and has never been repealed.”

        So what? That doesn’t necessarily mean it is or isn’t a “real problem.” Perhaps in other places there were unique and genuine problems to solve. Perhaps the ballot measure was bankrolled by groups that successfully got it to pass with promises of endless bliss and rainbows. Who knows? Just because pot passed in Colorado, Oregon, and elsewhere doesn’t necessarily mean that Georgia’s prohibition on pot is a real problem. Didn’t your mama teach you not to jump off of a bridge just because everyone else was. J

        “The present system is inherently unfair, subjective, and unevenly administered.”

        “Inherently unfair?” By what measure? I don’t think it is inherently unfair. Property taxes are the oldest form of taxation in the United States – the Founding Fathers started it.

        “Subjective?” Yep, that is partially true. But lots of things in life and the law are subjective. That doesn’t necessarily bother me. Simply being subjective doesn’t mean it’s a problem. Having said that, property appraisals are based on professionals that do it for a living. They’re fallible, as are a lot of things.

        “Unevenly administered?” In some cases, sure, I suppose. Can one find egregious accounts if one searches for them? Of course. Are those problems so systemic that it’s worth throwing it all out and starting over? No. I don’t think so.

        “If not my plan, what is yours?”

        I personally don’t see an inherent problem with the current structure. I think that healthy budgets relay on a variety of taxing structures to distribute the burden around and property taxes are one appropriate way to do it.

        I don’t like my tax bill any more than the next guy. But I personally think that all this is a “political solution searching for a problem” and one that happens to poll well at that.

      • taylor says:

        “Unfair, subjective, and unevenly administered”

        Depending on your opinion, this can be argued about many taxes. Sales taxes are unfair because they are regressive. Sales tax exemptions for non-profits are unfair when they engage in competition with for-profit businesses. Property tax exemptions for seniors, regardless of income or wealth, are unfair to a 50-year-old laid off from a job. Lower income tax rates for retirement income than the rate paid by the 80-year-old Wal-Mart greeter.

        I’m not sure that property tax assessments, which can be appealed, are the most unfair of our tax policies.

        • seekingtounderstand says:

          Appealed…………..only the rich can do it. The process is unfair and crazy to working class.
          I bet if you did a study after the last crash………..the working class overpaid, but the rich hired people to appeal and reduced their property taxes.

    • benevolus says:

      I don’t know about all the rest of that, but when one says “governmentally selected “winners and losers”” it loses a lot of credibility to me. Of course government is selecting winners and losers. It can’t be avoided. All we can do is try to make it better rather than worse. Almost any rule made anywhere ever has the potential to have winners and losers. It is usually the whole point of making rules.

      • mjhicks says:

        @Benevelous I agree, my reference to governmental winners and losers was probably a little to abstract and not explained at all. My bad.

        Please let me explain what I mean. Under the proposed structure, tax assessments would only be allowed to rise at a governmentally imposed artificial rate (3%), but that doesn’t necessarily represent the real world property values over time. As such, if I own a home for 20 years, under this structure the most it will be valued at for tax purposes is a maximum of the original purchase price plus 3% increase over time compounded. However assume, which has historically been the case, that natural property values in an area increase greater than 3% per year over those same 20 years, then a new homeowner that buys a new house down the street will be paying the current real world market value for their home. Even if the homes have the same real world market value at the same time, the end result is that my house’s assessed value (and subsequent property taxes) will be artificially lower than the person that just bought the same real world value home. In this case, the governmentally chosen “winner” is me and the “loser” is the new property owner. They end up paying more than me for a comparable value.

        • benevolus says:

          OK, I agree that sounds like it would be unfair.
          Sure would put the brakes on a lot of house flipping!

          • IndyPendant says:

            Nope. Most, if not all, purchase and sale agreements specify that if the property tax bill for the current year is not available at the time of closing, seller agrees to pay his share for any exorbitant increase in that years property tax.

          • mjhicks says:

            What it would do is make it less likely for people to want to update to a new home. They essentially would be resetting their base tax rate. As such people will want to stay put.

            • Edward Lindsey says:

              MJ:

              As for the issue of fairness, why do not let the voters decide? Personally, I think that it is unfair for someone who lives in a home to have his or her taxes go up just because someone down the street knocks down their house and builds a bigger home or pays a higher price. This action by the neighbor has not put any additional money in that property owners pocket and depending on market values it is an increase in value that he or she may never realize. As I have stated previously, the parade of horribles you present have been raised before and rejected time and again by voters.

              For the reasons I have previously stated, I think my plan also leads to more responsive government by shutting the door on back door increases.

              • mjhicks says:

                @Ed Lindsey: “why do not let the voters decide?”

                Ahhhhh, the ole “I’m-cool-with-letting-the-voters-decide-this-because-I-believe-they-will-support-my-particular-position-on-this-topic” gambit. Well played. After all, who can argue with that?

                Ok, I’ll bite. I will agree to accept the position to just “let the voters decide” on if you also agree to offer the same in return. If I, or anyone else on this board, offers up a solution to an issue that is to “just let the voters decide,” then you must accept that position. No questions asked. After all, in your experience “they usually know what they are doing.”

                Now that’s out of the way, please let me offer the first decision for the voters: “Shall the State of Georgia provide publicly funded retirement pensions, paid for by the taxpayers of the great State of Georgia, for retired state legislators? Yes or No.” I am pleased that, out of logical and ethical consistency for letting the voters decide, apparently you will support my proposed referendum.

                Now, in your words not mine, “you might want to argue that voters are stupid or gullible but my experience is that they usually know what they are doing.” Let’s see how that one goes.

                Please respond.

                <—–Mic drop.

                P.S.: Most of this is firmly tongue in cheek. I’m not quite as snarky as it may appear. I actually like many of your positions. On this particular topic (property taxes), I think you're off base.

  10. Edward Lindsey says:

    I am out of here folks. I need to go make a living and pay my property taxes. Keep the discussion going.

  11. FranInAtlanta says:

    My take has always been that whatever the county determines as the property value should be available to the property owner if such owner desires to sell to the county.

  12. seekingtounderstand says:

    We are headed to a tax free school supply weekend………….stores will be packed!
    Less taxes means more commerce and happy people.
    Work on having less government by combining counties. We have too many.
    Keep Georgia from being another Detroit.

  13. mjhicks says:

    @Ed Lindsey: “why do not let the voters decide?”

    Ahhhhh, the ole “I’m-cool-with-letting-the-voters-decide-this-because-I-believe-they-will-support-my-particular-position-on-this-topic” gambit. Well played. After all, who can argue with that?

    Ok, I’ll bite. I will agree to accept the position to just “let the voters decide” on if you also agree to offer the same in return. If I, or anyone else on this board, offers up a solution to an issue that is to “just let the voters decide,” then you must accept that position. No questions asked. After all, in your experience “they usually know what they are doing.”

    Now that’s out of the way, please let me offer the first decision for the voters: “Shall the State of Georgia provide publicly funded retirement pensions, paid for by the taxpayers of the great State of Georgia, for retired state legislators? Yes or No.” I am pleased that, out of logical and ethical consistency for letting the voters decide, apparently you will support my proposed referendum.

    Now, in your words not mine, “you might want to argue that voters are stupid or gullible but my experience is that they usually know what they are doing.” Let’s see how that one goes.

    Please respond.

    <—–Mic drop.

    P.S.: Most of this is firmly tongue in cheek. I’m not quite as snarky as it may appear. I actually like many of your positions. On this particular topic (property taxes), I think you're off base.

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