Georgia lawmakers are urging Macon Mayor Lester Miller to expedite the reduction of property taxes. Currently, residents in Bibb County are voting on whether to add an additional penny to the sales tax rate. In exchange for this increase, homeowners would receive a property tax cut. However, Republican state lawmakers argue that the rollback of property taxes should occur sooner than the projected date of 2023.
The legislation enabling Bibb County to vote on a sales tax increase and property tax reduction was signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp in May. The proposed plan would levy an extra penny on every dollar spent, resulting in an increase of sales tax from seven cents to eight cents. The additional revenue would support funding for a new pay scale for deputies and first responders, aiming to enhance public safety.
Representative Dale Washburn, one of the authors of the law, expressed concerns about the timing of the property tax reduction. If the legislation passes, sales tax would increase in January of the following year, but property owners would not experience a decrease in their millage rate until 2023. Washburn argues that this delay effectively functions as a tax hike, as the county would collect more tax revenue than originally anticipated.
The potential collection of an additional $44 million in tax revenue without an immediate rollout of property tax relief is a source of contention for the lawmakers. They believe this amount to be excessive and not aligned with the intentions of the legislation. In a joint letter to Mayor Lester Miller and the commissioners, Representatives Washburn, Mathis, and Dickey requested a rollback of the millage rate by five mills in the coming year, sooner than planned.
However, Mayor Lester Miller maintains that the county is adhering to the law as it was passed. He emphasizes that the legislation stipulates collecting taxes for one year and providing relief the following year. Miller believes that this approach is the most financially responsible option for the county. He emphasizes that the decision regarding the funding of public safety rests with local officials and opposes any external interference from legislators in Atlanta.
Representative Washburn remains supportive of the legislation and hopes it will receive approval. However, he urges commissioners to take into consideration the concerns raised by lawmakers and consider an earlier rollback of property taxes. Both sides assert their commitment to the welfare of Bibb County and its residents, but they differ in their interpretations of the legislation’s intent.
In conclusion, the debate surrounding the implementation of the proposed sales tax increase and property tax reduction in Bibb County highlights the challenges of balancing fiscal responsibility and the need for enhanced public safety measures. As residents cast their votes on this issue, it remains to be seen how these competing interests will be reconciled. Ultimately, the decision lies with the local officials in Macon, who are entrusted with determining the most appropriate course of action for their community.
1. Georgia lawmakers request Macon Mayor Lester Miller to accelerate property tax reduction.
2. Bibb County residents are voting on a sales tax increase in exchange for a property tax cut.
3. The potential delay of property tax relief until 2023 is a concern for lawmakers.
4. Representatives urge the mayor to roll back the millage rate sooner than planned.
5. Mayor Miller argues that the county is following the law and prioritizing fiscal prudence.
6. Both sides express their commitment to the county’s residents but differ on the timing of property tax relief.
7. The decision ultimately rests with local officials in Macon.