Decatur Senior Tax Exemption Bill Passes House; On Way To Governor’s Desk


A reader wrote in…

Word just in from Rahn Mayo, DeKalb representative, that SB343 the Decatur senior homestead exemption has passed.  The many calls, emails, visits to the Capitol had an effect.

Decaturishconfirms the news thru multiple sources…

Decatur Superintendent David Dude says that Decatur’s bill expanding a homestead tax exemption for seniors has passed the House.

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, said the bill is on the way to the governor’s desk. The exemption would still have to be approved by voters in a November referendum.

“The House leadership understood that asking its Republican Representatives to vote against a tax cut for Seniors was a bad idea,” Oliver said. “Particularly, when it was demanded by one Representative far from Decatur. And, Decatur folks were great advocates for our city!  Thank you, Seniors!”

Mayor Patti Garrett also just sent out this note to residents…

Happy almost-spring! Some of you may have been following our efforts recently to have several Decatur-local legislative bills pass through the Georgia legislature. Four of the fivebills (SB 339, 340, 341, 342) passed the House on March 8. Then today (March 16), SB 343, which grants homestead school tax relief and the largest benefit to Decatur homeowners 65 and above, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Heartfelt thanks to Senator Elena Parent for sponsoring the legislation in the Senate and to Representative Mary Margaret Oliver for spearheading the efforts on the House side. She sponsored the bill in the house, and House Minority Leader, Stacey Abrams assisted in gaining support for the bill. A number of seniors came to the Capitol last week to ask for senior tax exemption support, and numerous residents emailed state legislators in support of Decatur having the ability to vote on these Homestead Exemptions that affect only residents of the City.

This is local legislation that residents in the City of Decatur will have the opportunity to consider and vote on in the November 2016 election. The Bills were supported by resolution by the City Schools of Decatur School Board and the City Commission. For more information and a summary of each of the five bills, please visit this link on my website.

84 thoughts on “Decatur Senior Tax Exemption Bill Passes House; On Way To Governor’s Desk”

  1. They had a chance to get this right. I really wish they had put income caps or something along those lines. Instead, I feel as though I will have to vote against this measure come this fall.

    1. Why vote against it? Regardless of a senior’s income any extra that can go to being self supporting as we age is a blessing. And remember – as a single senior, Decatur schools and it’s parents need us to stay in place vs. selling to a family adding more kids to the Decatur schools.
      There is no “cap” on the number of children a household can have in the schools relying on others to pay to educate them so why impose a limit on the senior exemption? Not everyone is in a $700K home which affords 1 child in school. If you have 3 kids and live in a modest house, it will take the tax dollars of maybe 4 other houses to pay for your kids in school for one year. Do the math before you vote.
      And remember – you will be a senior, too, one day!

      1. Ha! It’s just a matter of time before someone running for office coins this the “Breeder’s Loophole.” Pop out all the kids you want, don’t pay a penny more!

        Why oh why did I only have one? I’ve missed out on a heckuva bargain! (Counting down my 15 years until I qualify for this…)

      2. Why vote against it? Because without an income/wealth/property value limit, it’s too broad and it will redistribute a burden from many who can afford it to many who can less so afford it. I’m for the principle of it but it’s so poorly executed that it needs to be redrafted to better accomplish its goal. That’s why…

        1. Would you be more comfortable if the same criteria (income/wealth/property value) were applied to property owners for their use of the educational system? In other words, if the revenue from the school system portion of their property taxes does NOT cover the cost of educating the children they have in the system, the owners are assessed additional use fees?

          1. And once property owners had completed their use of the school system, they paid no use fee (or a set minimum)?

          2. i don’t see how the income part of your income/wealth/property value criteria fits in? are you suggesting that regardless of income people would pay for the cost of educating their children?

            1. Not sure if your question is for me or J_T, but if for me, no, I’m not saying that everyone would necessarily pay full costs. Households with higher incomes/assets could pay a greater percentage of educational costs while households with lower incomes/assets could pay a lesser percentage or even receive financial aid. Brought up question more as a thought experiment. In what ways is education a service, and if we do look at it as a service (or utility), what other services can we look at as models for “paying for the service” we receive or use?

  2. The exemption appears to be for the 62% portion of City Tax that goes directly to the City Schools of Decatur system.

      1. How does this work if two people are on the property deed but one is 65 and the other is 61? Do both owners have to be 65?

  3. As Monty said, Decatur needs its seniors. Chase ’em out with taxes and you get a family moving in with more kids straining the school system. This exemption is both necessary and wise.

  4. Reading these senior tax exemption threads, I almost get the sense that high taxes can have unintended consequences. It’s almost as if taxes represent an undue burden on some people. Or that, at least according to some people, once you’ve paid so much in taxes, you’ve paid your fair share and should be free to keep your money.

    It all just seems so CRAZY.


    1. As I’m sure you well know, people are just as happy to vote themselves a tax cut as they are to vote for a tax hike for someone else (polls show that even a majority of Republicans think taxes should be raised for the wealthy..It’s one reason traditional Republican talking points have fallen flat this cycle; how many Trump supporters care at all about Rubio’s call for a zero cap gains rate? I’m guessing close to zero).

      1. I don’t think you will get an argument from anyone that Trump’s supporters aren’t the most intellectual of folk. And he knows it. That’s how he is winning. I don’t think he believes half of what he says*. He just discovered a way to get elected. And his supporters have taken the bait, hook line and sinker.

        *I hope I am right**

        **Or do I? That’s the problem. Who knows what he actually believes!

        1. I don’t know what he believes either, but I think he correctly noted that a lot of Republican and Republican-leaning folks aren’t really on the same page as Republican leaders–especially on certain economic issues and immigration ( legal and otherwise). Not an original analysis by me, I know. But one I agree with because the opinion polling backs it up.

      2. I agree that the tax code is far too often used as an outlet for our lesser traits of petty jealousy and crass self-interest. Which is a pretty good argument for a flat tax.

        1. And the leading candidate for the Republican nomination is against a flat tax, which gets back to my original point. Tax cuts aren’t that compelling a talking point anymore on a national level.

          1. I disagree. The preference for low taxes is extremely strong across the board, as evidenced by the fact that a massive proportion of the electorate pays little to no federal income tax at all. Now, it may be true that those paying little or no tax don’t find tax cuts for others, especially the “rich,” to be very compelling. But that’s a manifestation of the petty jealousy mentioned above.

            The current situation can’t last, and progressive government will soon enough get around to socking it to the middle and lower middle classes. Then we’ll see how compelling tax cut arguments really turn out to be.

            1. You’re making my point though. Since many don’t actually pay federal income tax, there is not much interest in Republican talking points about taxes. Indeed, the earned-income tax credit has made tax time something to look forward to for many people. You may be right about the sustainability of that situation in the future, but for now taxes are pretty low down the list of issues for most voters, even Republican voters (and polls show only about 15 percent of Republicans think the rich pay too much in taxes).

  5. In the public policy space there are rarely just plain terrible ideas. But this is clearly one.

    There is simply no sound policy to support limiting taxes based on age. There never has been.
    Has anyone articulated even a single reason here? What is the rationale when it’s not even
    income qualified? A 65-year-old living in and $860,000 house with $300,000 in annual income
    should not pay school taxes? Really, why?

    What about young families with no kids? Folks who use private schools? People who never wanted to
    have children? Should they not pay school taxes too?

    Can I opt out of supporting the fire department and bank on the odds that my 95-year-old house won’t burn down while I’m here?

    In the end, there are no tax exemptions, only tax shifts. When you exempt one person, you ask another to pay more. Why would you do that in this case? There’s not one single sound argument here.

    Finally, has anyone done the math to show how much more the folks still paying taxes will have to pay to make up for the cut given to people of a certain age? I’m assuming we are not planning a HARD CUT to Decatur schools to make life tax limited for the group in question.

    If not, we are simply asking folks to pay what is now their neighbor’s share.
    Where’s the fairness in that?

  6. Folks, before you jump to conclusions on this initiative, stop and think about it. Here is my Decatur story. I have lived in Decatur for over 30 years and have been part as it grew from a small city to what it is now. During that time, myself and others have paid dearly in taxes to make Decatur an in-town community where people can raise their children. Personally, I have paid over $100,000 in Decatur school taxes over these years, and get this, I have never had any kids. But I understand that good schools are the basis for an intelligent community. So I have never thought twice about moving. My heart is in Decatur.

    So to all of you folks saying you will vote this down, have you thought about your contributions to the school system, and whether of not after a lifetime of paying school taxes that you would finally like to step back from it in retirement? For seniors on fixed income, the Decatur school taxes make up ⅓ to ½ of your social security. These folks have paid for the school tax for years. Don’t they deserve a break in retirement? They will be forced to move and families with kids move in to place even more of a burden on the schools.

    I wish to thank Senator Elena Parent, Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, the school board, our local reps, and all the seniors who crusaded for this worthwhile cause. This bill is backed by the city schools and city leaders. So to all of you our there considering voting against this in November, don’t be so selfish, your day will come after paying thousands in school taxes to finally get a break. Thanks for considering …

    1. Isn’t asking someone else to pay your taxes “selfish.”

      I’ll reiterate points that I have made in the past – this exemption would shift the tax burden. For instance, the taxes of a 65 year old making $250k and owning a $900k home who has children in the school system would shift in part to a homeowner who earns $50k per year, has a modest home and no children. This is, among other things, a tax break for the wealthy based entirely on age. It is a tax increase on residents of modest means based entirely on age. It is absurd. I would have supported a tax break on some level for older, lower income residents, but I will not support this thing – it reeks…

      1. I’ll agree that a strictly age-based system is not ideal . . .but how many of these 65+ year old folks with kids in school, living in nearly-million dollar homes, making $250k annually are there? I’m not going to claim that number is zero, but it’s probably a pretty small number.

        How many folks who are 75+ and have none of those things might stay put another couple years, sparing the school system from an extra 2.5 kids each . . . 1.5 of which are not covered by the new owners property taxes? Probably more than that first group.

        1. You make a reasonable point, KT. My opinion, as a childless former resident of downtown Decatur, is that the market for downtown condos is going to be dominated by seniors now. The downtown rental apartments will be revenue positive, but the condos not so much. It seems this was really a desperation move to slow the growth in enrollment of CSD, but it will likely make the city even less appealing to DINKS and young singles.

          1. It’s not like the pricing premium for living in Decatur proper is going to vanish. I just don’t see it becoming some haven for the shuffleboard and Matlock crowd because of the tax relief, because there is still a steep barrier on the purchase price. I’m sure some people will make that decision, just as some people decide to tough it out with kids in a condo for access to the schools. But on the whole I don’t think it’d become the new trend.

            I think I pointed this out before, but I’d be more worried about the unintended consequences of throttling housing turnover. With less seniors cashing out, you’ll have less “Prairie Moderns” or “Chic Farmhouses” or whatever we are calling them these days sprouting up . . . which in turn is going to increase competition and prices for all the other inventory in the city. Maybe that unintended bump in value across the board offsets some of the foregone taxes from seniors? Maybe this tax measure takes some load off the school budgets, but makes the financial walls around the city 10′ higher for new residents? I think maintaining some semblance of economic diversity is a goal of CoD leaders, and maybe this ends up working against them?

            1. I don’t anticipate a housing crisis because of senior tax relief. Most–by far–of the houses in my immediate neighborhood that have been on the market belonged to people under retirement age.

          2. I would argue that the current ownership of downtown condos is already more empty nesters+seniors than any other demographic.

            (source: I live downtown, and that is what I see in my condo and others nearby)

            1. Yes, that’s true, and it’s one of the reasons we moved. I expect if this tax exemption happens it will be close to 100% seniors.

              1. it seems like a no brainer to me. anyone 65 and up, downsizing from a home in druid hills, emory, etc that is in the market for a condo or town house. why wouldn’t you choose Decatur if there is virtually no tax on your $5-700k condo/townhome, as opposed to everywhere else in the metro area where there is substantial tax? huge savings there, maybe $6-10k per year (just a guess). it WILL be all seniors moving in to the new condos and townhouses, and none paying school taxes.

                maybe when my youngest graduates in a couple years, I will rent out my house for as much as I can get to a family with kids and move back in at 65 when the tax situation is in my favor.

      2. As others have also stated, we are happy to pay for good schools, despite not having children. We hope to live the rest of our lives in our (relatively) small Decatur home. But while you criticize us for wanting a break from school taxes at some point, you seem to have no problem with the folks that will move here for a few years, put all 4, 5 or even 6 of their kids in local schools and then move out as soon as Junior graduates. We have created churning neighborhoods where most are just as anxious to get in as others are to get out.
        Meanwhile, a few of us stay. Feel free to add whatever upper income restriction you wish onto the 65 and older requirement, I am sure I will sail right under, as will my 86 year old neighbor.

        1. You are making the same argument, I paid for years and shouldn’t any more. There is no policy reason to support that. What if I paid the same amount in 5 years that you did in 25 because my house is really expensive? Do I get the break?

    2. “good schools are the basis for an intelligent community”

      So that is no longer true now that you are 65? And so long as you think you have paid your fair share, that is good enough for me! I think I am going to opt out of income tax for the rest of the year – I paid more in the first quarter than most Americans pay all year.

    3. The question is not whether you would or how you would fix this really bad piece of public policy.

      It’s simply would you vote for it at the ballot box. They won’t give you five options. It’s just raise your taxes to pay off someone else’s who may or many not be better of than you are. The only reason they would offer on why you should do that is the person is 65.

      Terrible. Terrible idea. VOTE NO. And ask everyone you know to do the same.

  7. I too disagree with the law in its current form and will vote against it in November. I agree that no one should be forced to move because the taxes have become too much of a burden. I also understand the argument that they are “saving” the Decatur taxpayer money by preventing someone with kids from moving in. However, the reason that taxes have climbed is because the value of their home has climbed in part to having strong schools which their taxes supports. So they (or their heirs) are benefitting from the higher property taxes but don’t want the associated “cost” of higher taxes. I propose that Decatur defers their school taxes for as long as they live in the home. The taxes would either be paid from the proceeds of their home sale or by their estate. This way, Decatur slows the growth of school age children and still enjoys the additional revenue stream from higher property value to maintain strong schools. The only cost to the city is the time value of money which is very low given interest rates today. Seem like a reasonable compromise? Unfortunately, our local leaders could not come up with a better solution than using age as only criteria to determine whether you should pay school property taxes.

    1. “will vote against it in November” Sorry, you won’t have the chance. It’s local legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor. It’s not a Constitutional Amendment.

    2. Someone (maybe you) brought up the deferral approach recently. I am trying to understand what arguments AGAINST this approach exist (other than the almost zero time value cost)? I can understand how it might seem that this would cause lumpier tax revenue and a temporary drop, but I would think that effect would be termporary and start to relevel and quickly trend back to the normal level after the first year.

      I understand the other arguments about fairness, but I just can’t see any reason this isn’t both fair and helpful to seniors.

      1. First, what if the homeowner cashes out their equity and/or the property depreciates? Second, I don’t know how much effect, if any, it will have. The heirs (their loving kids) would figure out that their inheritance is getting eaten up each year and will pressure their parents to move. Third, can you imagine the cries of unfairness when these houses start to sell and CoD takes $50k or $100k? Reminds me of the news stories you hear every so often with grown children crying foul when the state seizes the assets (normally, only a house) from a recently departed resident who has been living in a publicly funded care facility for years. Somehow those kids think the state (meaning other citizens) should pay for their parents, but their parent’s assets shouldn’t be used to pay the state back for their care. Fourth, it still shifts a PRESENT tax burden onto everyone else, although it may be minimal. Yes, maybe in 5, 10 or 20 years, CoD will be repaid, but either the city has to borrower the difference and pay the interest, which means my taxes go up, or they increase taxes on everyone else, which means my taxes go up.

        But, I think I may like the deferral idea better than others. Just needs to be hashed out some more. May be some legal hurdles that can’t be overcome.

        1. Thank you for the response; Sorry: I should have clarified: “Deferred” until transfer of ownership (death OR sale). Can’t that be made to work?

          I really think the fiscal impact will be minimal overall and effect will be greatest in early years, but diminish rapidly. So at worst it’s only a temporary shift and while your effective share of tax revenue goes up – yes, maybe somewhat unfair – but your dollar cost only goes up your tax liability goes up (for the same reason they already do – reassessment or increase in millage, etc.)

          That’s something I’d willingly stomach if it helps to prevent some of our neighbors from having to move.

        2. A tax lien can be placed on the property, helping to alleviate some of the cash out issue. If the deferred tax idea gains traction, it could be an opt in tax break- some of the higher income seniors may opt to pay now rather than defer. I’d be interested in exploring this- maybe with some cut to the school taxes for 65 and older plus the deferral option.

  8. One key part of the story is missing here. The senior tax exemption is only for five years. It automatically ends in 2021. The bill’s five year sunset provision will give the school board time to measure the effect and adjust accordingly.

  9. This is great. We’re creating phantom senior millionaires on this blog today. How many rich 65+ individuals do you think live in this city?

    From the Census, at last count in 2014, the percent of those 65 and up who own or rent a home in the City of Decatur was 19.2% of all householders. The vast majority of householders in this city, 77.5%, are between 25-64 years old. Of those 65 and up, only 11.1% have a household income of over $100,000. 12.7% make between $60k – 100,000k. And a total of 76.2% have a household income of $60,000 or less. Nearly 45% earn $20,000 or less.

    This proposal isn’t the rich Decatur senior tax avoidance law. It’s the help low-income seniors live in Decatur law. Don’t vote for it if you don’t want to, but at least know what you’re voting for.

    1. You may be right that many may not by millionaires but I would wager that many are financially better off than hundreds of 20, 30, or 40 somethings who also already struggle financially but also will whose taxes may go up as a result of the proposal. There are many ways to peel this onion but the current proposal seems to be one of the worst ways to do it. Rather than eliminate the school taxes on any house including those with values above $800k, we could increase the homestead exemption for seniors without children in the school system such that their taxes would be minimal if they lived in a house under say $400k. If they chose to live in a more expensive house, they would still pay taxes on the difference (750-400k)*tax rate. Alternatively, we could defer the taxes as I suggested above or we could lower the taxes for everyone and then increase a higher fee for school registration (shifting more of the burden to parents). Funny, I have yet to hear anyone complain that the profit on the sale of their house was too high which was the root cause of their higher taxes.

      1. Regardless of whether or not any of these proposals has merit, I believe the time to have raised them would have been when the school board was formulating how they were going to respond to the senior community’s request for tax relief.

        As it stands now, they chose 65+ across the board and weren’t, I don’t believe, challenged in any particular way. Now that it’s out there, it constitutes a political promise of sorts I seriously doubt they’ll renege on.

        If people truly are against this but neglected to let their school board members know at the time, they’ll need to vote it down wholesale in November. Unless there’s some other potential scenario I’m not considering.

        1. Scott, I know you will correct me if I am wrong, but as soon as the school board’s plan was announced, people did speak out. Maybe I am naïve, but never did I think the board’s plan to offer “some” tax “relief” to seniors would mean an elimination of the school tax to all over 65. That is much more than “relief’ IMHO. And it is hard to oppose something that doesn’t yet exist.

          1. This – I would be more than fine with a tax exemption up to say, the median home sales price in Decatur for the past twelve months, or some other standard that would help needy seniors without being a total giveaway. I also have less than zero faith in the sunset clause – if we pass the exemption, people in 7 years are going to talk about how they relied up it in moving/staying in Decatur, and elected officials will likely run on platforms promising to extend the exemption, no matter the facts.

            Speaking of facts, I would appreciate someone pointing me to the study that was conducted to show that the reduction in seniors moving out will save the school system money due to fewer students.

            1. The median home sales price over the last year is flirting with half a million dollars. If your proposal is to give elderfolk an exemption up to that amount, I don’t think the end result would be that much different than what will be voted on come November. It’d essentially just leave a vast majority of folks with a $0 bill.

              A tax exemption gets applied to your assessed value. In Decatur, your assessed value is 50% of your appraised value. So giving everyone above 65 an exemption of ~$500k would only result in owing any school taxes if you were appraised at over $1M. That’s a really small number of households, and the amount that’d you be collecting would be a rounding error in the overall school tax collections.

              1. Maybe I should clarify – the exemption should be the median assessed value. In other words, if you do indeed live in a small, one bedroom condo, you would not have to pay at all. The proposed exemption, borne on the back of other taxpayers, is a step too far without more compelling justifications than the current anecdotal items.

          2. I wish I had a better recollection of the play by play and am just relying on the fact that I don’t recall any opposition or critique rising to the level of “a story” or any reference to school board members suggesting they’d gotten an earful or anything like that. I remember becoming aware of what the plan was (65+ across the board) but then that’s about it. So your recall may trump mine.

            1. You may recall that this, or something like it, was proposed a year ago by then-mayor Baskett. It died in the New DeKalb Cities hot mess. There was no great hue and cry back then.

              1. I disagree. I remember a couple of (heated) discussions about whether seniors have some sort of right to retire in place (they don’t) and whether others should be forced to subsidize it (they shouldn’t). If I were to vote for tax relief for seniors, it would be b/c I believe it to me in my self-interest. Many seem to be forgetting that the seniors who are now asking for tax relief didn’t mind seniors at that time contributing to the education of their children. And now these seniors cry “unfair” if they have to do the same as their predecessors (while having a quarter million dollars of equity in their homes).

                1. exactly, and remember the heated debate about how taxes were pushing the poor out of decatur over the last 15 years and all the proposals to cut their taxes so they wouldn’t have to move?

                  i don’t (although to be fair, i haven’t always paid much attention). gentrification’s a ____ and then you move.

                  1. Actually, a lot of folks have expressed concern here and elsewhere about how gentrification has pushed out low income and even middle income families. And there were the usual blog polarized comments.

      2. If tax appraisals reflected fair market value, there wouldn’t be many homes left in CoD with a value less than $400k. Market rate for teardowns is in the mid-300’s these days.

    2. If most seniors would benefit even with some sort of income cap on the exemption, what’s the harm in putting one in?

      1. I continue to argue there are no tax breaks, only shifts.

        It is simply not fair asking me to pay your taxes because you are 10 years older. There’s no public policy justification for that at all. None.

        1. Is it wrong then to expect families to pay taxes per child? As a childless person I gladly pay to educate the populous hoping a better educated adult will live a productive life and not be a burden to society. You say you don’t want to “pay my taxes because I’m old”, well I don’t want to have to make up the short fall for families with more than the one child in school that their taxes cover or the bond to build more classrooms because Decatur has become so popular.
          When I bought my house here 28 years ago NO ONE lived in Decatur. I don’t think it is right to chase me out of my home so a family with 3 or more kids can move in causing MORE demand on classroom space.

          1. This argument is only compelling if you believe education of children only benefits their immediate family and not the community as a whole. It also ignores the benefit high quality schools confer on everyone’s property values.

    3. I’m pretty shocked by the tone of most of these comments. This bill is to keep low income seniors in their homes to preserve age diversity in Decatur and to give low income seniors a break. If there are some high income seniors who benefit who cares? The added benefit is that it keeps an additional family with kids from moving into their house.

      1. “if there are some high income seniors who benefit who cares? ”

        Me and apparently many others who actually pays taxes. Why should their tax burden by shifted to someone else, perhaps even to those without high income?

      2. It’s worth noting that (a) this is also a de facto tax increase on every homeowner aged under 65 (unless we cut school spending by a similar amount, (b) the schools have admitted that they do not have an estimate of how much it will actually cost, and (c) there is no evidence that this tax break will keep any significant number of seniors in their homes that would have otherwise stayed but for tax reasons (one imagines people move for many reasons other than their tax burden).

  10. Quick Question – does the proposed bill require seniors to live in the home, or just own the home?

    Is it possible we could see a rush of wealthy over 65ers “investing” in Decatur property and renting out their tax free home to families with kids?

  11. Only ten percent of the Decatur population is 65 or older. I do not personally know anyone in my age bracket with an income of 250k-only people trying to hang on to the home that they have lived in for 35 or more years and paid school taxes on for 35 years s

    1. And have earned $300k profit off their home. While they may not see the benefit of that, their heirs will.

      1. Tinman, that’s the whole point. Own your home for 10 years or 20 or 30 as some seniors have, and now your income is fixed or at best gets a tiny COLA sometimes. The appraised value has continued to increase as has the property tax liability. That increase skipped a fast beat in the past 5 years rather than moseying along.

        Where is that person going to find within their budget the additional funds to pay the ever increasing tax bill? Those who say just move? Just sell out to get the profit and to then live in a less valuable place? This is that person’s home and one they bought to live in, not one bought as an investment.

        1. There are plenty of banks willing to give you a loan against your equity. I’m not saying that it what everyone should do, but while many seniors have a fixed income, you can’t ignore the equity.

            1. With the $300K loan. Does it make financial sense? No, but the original question was how to keep seniors in their house without giving them a tax cut.

  12. Question, would the 65+ exemption from school taxes also apply to the recently approved school bonds?

    1. Nope. Per the Decatur Tax Blog ( on 3/21/2016:
      “Seniors will not be exempt from the new school bond charges. School exemptions known as the GS-1 (age 62), S-1 (age 62), S-2 (age 80), and S-3 (age 70) do not apply toward the school bond charge.”

  13. why don’t we just wait until trump is elected and ask him to have mexico pay for our schools? it’ll be petty change compared to the cost of the wall and that way we all get a tax break.

  14. Fortunately, in a little over a year, my daughter will graduate DHS. My wife & I will then have the opportunity to leave the City and the high taxes, which will increase IF this measure passes. At some point the property taxes will not make sense for us to stay, even though we love living in Decatur. However, we could move just outside the city into unincorporated DeKalb county, pay less for more house and pay less in taxes (of course to a crappier government) AND still reap most social, cultural and dining benefits of a CoD resident. If we do move (which would be solely because of the high taxes), our four bedroom home that has one CSD student will most likely be purchased by a family of two-three kids. How will that help the school system?

    1. 2 points:

      -is the tax break the only thing that would keep you here/the lack of tax break the only reason you’d move? if i were in your position, i would move with or without a tax break.

      -what about all the other childless homeowners in the city? shouldn’t they all get a tax breaks to make sure they don’t get replaced by families with two or three kids? why are old people the only group that can help the school system?

      1. I should have pointed out; we are not old enough to claim this tax “re-allocation”.
        My point is this measure will increase taxes on all non-seniors. At some point the non-seniors without kids are going to at least consider moving. If the childless households move; most of those new homeowners will have kids, lots of them. All driven by the seemingly endless rise in property taxes. At some point, the golden goose dies.

  15. What is the projected tax increase to the under 65 homeowner if this is passed through by vote in November?

    If as is mentioned above 19.1% of residents renting AND owning are age 65 and older, what portion of that number owns their home and claims homestead exemption? Are we looking at 10% of the homeowner population benefiting from this relief? And don’t most seniors live in smaller houses of lower appraised value? An even smaller negative impact to the tax digest.

    Seems like these impact numbers were in the proposal.

  16. Shona Lá Fhéile Pádraig. Erin Go Bragh! (Bhí tú ag súil rud éigin yes difriúil?)

  17. It sounds like this bill has the best of intentions, but this is a slippery slope. When you create such tax loopholes, people find ways to use them in unintended ways.

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