On Friday, the house approved Senate Bill 490 by a 156-to-1 vote, which means it will be on the ballot this Fall. The bill amends an Act to provide a homestead exemption from certain City of Cartersville ad valorem taxes for educational purposes in the amount of $28,000.00 of the assessed value of the homestead for each resident of the city who is 65 years of age or older or totally disabled. This only affects the city of Cartersville, so when will the county see any tax relief for senior citizens?
State Senator Bruce Thompson told WBHF he has made it clear that everyone needs to make sure seniors are being considered. He said that right now the biggest challenge is a small, vocal group spreading misinformation.
“When you talk to seniors, they’re so confused about what you’re trying to accomplish. It’s convoluted and it’s hurting the cause.
Thompson said that the Chairman of Finance had a group representing Bartow County and “just trash him.” Thompson said this is not how you get someone to sign onto legislation and that seniors need to hold this group accountable. Thompson said that they tried to do something similar in the county, but said they ran into trouble.
“That group said ‘we want it all or nothing.’”
Thompson said that it wasn’t that simple because there were other items that needed further review. Now Thompson says that there is a slim chance that something gets passed.
“There was a proposal to match the city and something the school board was willing to do. That small group said ‘No, we want all of it.’
The state senator said it’s challenging when a small group doesn’t represent the vast majority of the people it claims to represent. He said that one of the other challenges is that property taxes are rising across the board.
“What do you do with individuals that might be 50 that can’t afford their homes?’, he asked. The budget, according to Thompson, has affected a lot of different things and he doesn’t think we will see what that revenue shortfall looks like. He did say that there is still an opportunity to do something. If so, Thompson reiterates that the group needs to make sure all of its information correct.
“If you go back and look at it, that school board said ‘We are 4-to-1 to provide some senior tax relief’ but they did not take up that bill (HB 655). Yet it has been proposed out there on social media that’s what they wanted.
Thompson said he is not the one standing in the way, but instead points blame back at the small group.
“We had legislation to mirror the city, but it was unacceptable to that group. What ends up (happening) in the next three or four days? I’m not sure.
The state senator said he signed the bill that mirrors the city. He said whether it moves or not depends on a bevy of different things. Thompson said that if seniors want to see something done, then they should “pick different mouthpieces than the ones you have allowed to represent you.”