Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption Act
Letter to the Rockdale Delegation.
When you sign the petition the following letter will be sent under your signature to the Rockdale Legislative Delegation.
AS a citizen of Rockdale County I am requesting the Local Legislative Delegation that represents Rockdale County in the Georgia Legislature introduce an ACT Entitled the Rockdale Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption Act. This Legislation would at age 65 begin to reduce the Property tax obligation by reducing a percent each year until the tax obligation would be 0 percent at age 70. We request that these reductions would be for all property taxes levied by the County Government, City Government, and The Board of Education. We further request that this be placed on the ballot in a Special Election for the Citizens of Rockdale County to approve or deny.
This Legislation will assure that Senior Citizens will not be taxed out of home ownership and be able to maintain Independent Living. As a Citizen of Rockdale County, your consideration with this matter is greatly appreciated.
Justification for Exemption.
Federal Poverty Levels
The Homestead exemptions in the State of Georgia are outdated.
State exemptions only apply to people earning less than $10,000.00 a year. This amounts to $4.80 for a 5 day 8 hour workday. This is 66% of the current minimum wage.
The Federal Poverty Guide Line for 2022 is
The poverty line for the number of people in a house hold
An income of $10,000.00 is not only below the poverty line, it constitutes a destitute line.
Base Value Property Taxes.
In Georgia, many counties have a base valuation for property taxes. This means that whatever the 40% value of the property you own and live in cannot increased in value beyond what you originally paid for it. This provides some measure of relief for our seniors who have lived in the same house for a number of years, but prevents them moving to a smaller house to cut down on the living area and associated expenses as any move would attract a whopping increase in property taxes.
Rockdale County Seniors
According to the 2021 Census 15.4% of the counties citizens are 65 years old or older.
61% of those are minority black Americans.
12.7% of county residents live in poverty. While the census does not specifically cite the percentage of seniors 65 years of age and older than live in poverty, it is not difficult to believe that the 12.7% that do live in poverty make up a large percentage of the 15.4% that are 65 years of age or older. 61% of the 65 or older residents in the county are minority black and many of these seniors live in poverty as do many of our other seniors.
It is apparent when speaking to residents of the county that many of our seniors that live in poverty are being supported by family members who are themselves trying to raise and support their own families.
Senior citizens that own their own homes and live on a fixed income have been hugely impacted by the rapid re-evaluation of their property values with property and school taxes quadrupling over the last decade. With an average cost of living increase of 5% for social security recipients our seniors are having a hard time surviving.
Add to that the inflationary economic environment we live in, and we are creating an untenable situation for our seniors in the county. We are forcing them to give up independent living as they are no longer be able to pay the taxes on their homes.
The percentage of Seniors in Rockdale county aged 65 years old or older is only 15.4%. The number of seniors that are 70 years old or older would be significantly less. The impact of increasing Homestead Exemptions for our seniors as they age would have an insignificant impact on the county budget, but a huge positive impact on the quality of life for our seniors as they age and have to deal with increased medical expenses and other expenses as they age.
This would be cyclical because after death their house would go back into the tax digest and be appraised and taxed at the regular rate.
It is proposed that the property taxes on seniors, who live in a primary residence they own, be reduced on a sliding scale starting at age 65.
It is further proposed that each valuation bracket be tied to the average increase of property values in the county and increased accordingly on an annual basis.
This legislation would put our county in a leadership position in Georgia.
Please take time to sign the petition so that we can get this on the November ballot.