COLUMBUS, Ga.- More than 100 people gathered at the Hilton Garden Inn to hear Mayor Teresa Tomlinson debate former state senator Seth Harp on her proposal to “thaw the property tax freeze.”
Tomlinson and Harp went back and forth for five rounds of debate on the topic each expressing their viewpoints on the matter.
Mayor Tomlinson’s plan is to allow those who have the freeze to keep it as long as they own their home.If her proposal is passed, it would go into effect Jan. 1, 2017 and would see the homestead exemption increase from $13,500 to $20,000. Tomlinson wants to have the best system for the city and its taxes and the current freeze is not a good way to conduct business.
Harp feels “thawing the freeze” is unfair. During the debate he said, “She talks to people about, gah lee, I’m gonna give you a $20,000 increase in homestead exemption and she tells people that and they think I’m gonna get some money back. You’re not gonna get any money back. What is going to happen is that it will lower the taxes you pay, maybe, unless the tax assessor has been there to raise the value up and if the tax assessor has been there to raise the value up you $20,000 homestead exemption is poof, gone.”
Mayor Tomlinson feels the freeze inhibits transparency and causes other taxes to be high. She feels it also inhibits growth in the city.