• Lowell Macher

Senior Tax Exemption - Please Vote YES on November 8th!!


Hello folks from your HCPOA leadership. Well it is finally here. About many years of work we have brought the Senior Homestead Exemption for Schools Property Tax Issue to the ballot.l You will or are voting on it right now. Some years ago we got the idea that seniors should be exempt from the school property tax or at least have significant exemption. To that end many of us started developing a plan to accomplish that aim. Mike Buckel, in particular did a large amount of research to identify which counties in the state of Georgia actually exempt seniors as much as 100% from the school property tax. Interestingly enough there were about a dozen counties, including Gwinnett which did so. Others offered exemptions up to 50%. Of course we brought it to the Board of Education and received an overwhelming degree of non interest. Nevertheless we persevered. In 2018 we worked with the HC Republican party and submitted a ballot initiative for the primary ballot that year that would reduce the school property tax for seniors to zero. Essentially a ballot initiative is a referendum but it is submitted to all party voters in a county. We are proud to say that our issue received about 6000 votes; very similar to what Sherriff Mike received for his primary and victorious contest. That's good company. Our plan was to use this overwhelmingly vote to convince the Board of Education to write a letter to the State Legislature to approve a tax exemption of some amount for seniors. Such a letter would be carried to the Legislature by Rep Alan Powell. Again our efforts fell on deaf ears. The 3 minute gag rule at school board meetings was in effect numerous times. Finally several of us including "Snip" White and Tom Komatz approached both Alan Powell and Jbez Floyd, Superintendent of Hart County Charter System, to a meeting whose purpose was to approve such an initiative and letter.. Luckily we chose wisely and Rep Powell was very dedicated and effective in working with the Supt. and the Board members to develop such a program. While the final out come was not as much as we would have wished, it never the less is a start. And Rep Powell was successful in getting legislation approved that put this increase on the ballot right now. Why should you vote for it? Simple: it is a first step in assisting seniors particularly those on fixed income in dealing with the rising school taxes. The Homestead Exemption is unique in that it is real money and a real deduction in taxable value. The assessment states the values to be taxed; then the state has ordered that the assessment be 40% of that value. Then the homestead exemption kicks in, and that assessed value will be reduced $15,000 on both the BOC and BOE tax levies. So there will be an immediate positive effect on your taxable value next year when this exemption is approved. Remember everyone becomes a senior at some point. Vote YES on this ballot issue.

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