Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle told the state’s mayors Monday that the Senate will be rolling out legislation this week aimed at correcting inequities in the state’s property tax system.
Cagle, in a breakfast address kicking off the Georgia Municipal Association’s annual Mayors’ Day, said changes will be recommended to ensure “fairness and equity” not only for the cities and counties, but also for taxpayers.
He did not provide details of the plan, but said it would involve “structural changes” in the calculation of fair market value.
Changes in the state’s property tax system are ranking high on legislators’ priority list. Among them are expected to be an easier process for homeowners to challenge the value that county tax appraisers put on their property.
The effort comes after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in a major investigation that county tax appraisers are setting values on residential properties higher than they sold for.
The AJC found during an eight-month review of sales values and tax appraisals in Cobb, Clayton, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties that assessors regularly ignore sales when they fall below tax appraisals. The study found ZIP codes all over the area where median sales fell more than 30 percent but median tax appraisals dipped between 5 percent and 10 percent.
The study found assessors cut $4.2 billion in taxable value last year through adjustments to more than 450,000 parcels. However, the AJC found that if tax appraisals had been lowered as much as sales dictated, the loss would have been nearly $25 billion.
At his weekly press conference, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), said he will soon reveal a list of 40 proposed change to the property tax system. The list comes from a series of hearings that Rogers has been having on property tax reform.