Update: House passes city of Decatur homestead tax exemption, but pulls school bill
The House approved bills to expand the homestead tax exemptions for city of Decatur seniors, but pulled a bill expanding the exemption for school taxes.
Mayor Patti Garrett said via email, “Basically our homestead (city) exemption bills – SB 339, 340, 341, 342 – passed in the House on the required third reading but Rep. [Beth] Beskin (Fulton County) got SB 343 (school homestead exemption tax relief) pulled out from consideration with the other bills. The bill is tabled for now and we are working to get the votes for its passage. We will be sending alerts to folks to contact legislators to support of the bill. I don’t know when it will come back on the House floor.”
She said the School Board and the DeKalb Delegation “are all working to get support.”
Currently, residents age 80 and older do not have to pay the school tax. The school board would like to see the age lowered to 65.
State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, provided the following statement:
Four of the five Decatur’s local legislative bills passed the House this morning and are on the way to the Governor for his signature. However, SB 343 which grants the largest benefit to Decatur homeowners 65 and above, was postponed to a later legislative day based on a Motion made by Rep. Beth Beskin of Fulton County. Rep. Beskin cannot get City of Atlanta delegation to support a similar expanded homestead exemption, so she is “punishing” the City of Decatur seniors.
Ms. Beskin admits she is using her partisan advantage with a Republican majority to attempt to force the Atlanta Democrats to support her proposal (she has no bill introduced) by denying Decatur its legislative requests. Decatur city and school board and senior advocates worked together and cooperatively on a financial plan, with a bond package, and agree the senior homeowners need property tax relief. There is no such agreement with the City of Atlanta delegation, so Ms. Beskin is creating a partisan obstacle to Decatur’s plan.
Oliver added, “I am hopeful we will be able to get over this partisan obstacle created solely Rep. Beskin. I believe the Republican leadership will ultimately be supportive of local control, and support the success of the Decatur’s school system and good management. Decatur does not atttack the work of other cities, we reach agreements within our own borders.”