TAX CREDIT FOR HOME BUYERS IN LOWEST PERFORMING SCHOOL DISTRICTS
Over the last three census cycles, the population of the City of Atlanta actually declined, from 424,900 people in 1980 to 420,003 in 2010. This year, Beth sponsored HB 740 to provide an income tax credit of $15,000, payable at $3,000 over 5 years, to a person who buys a home and moves into one of the lowest 5% performing elementary school districts in the state. Although this bill did not pass in 2016, Beth believes her tax credit would attract taxpayers back into the City of Atlanta in some of our under-populated areas. Although those homeowners would get an income tax credit, they would still pay property taxes.
SENIOR TAX EXEMPTION
Beth is working to obtain an exemption from the school portion of City taxes for all Atlanta citizens at the age of 65. Nine counties in the metro area, including Cobb have a senior school property tax exemption, unlimited by income. Dekalb County has a senior tax exemption starting at age 62 that increases to age 70, at which point those with incomes up to $82,000 (plus retirement income) no longer pay Dekalb County school tax. This year, the City of Decatur sought and obtained a senior school tax exemption, unlimited by income, starting at age 65.
Beth is working with Atlanta Public Schools and City officials to try to reach an agreement so that Atlanta can finally get a senior school property tax exemption. Our lack of a senior tax exemption drives our seniors to move to neighboring counties and discourages others from moving here. Between 2000 and 2010, the age 65+ population of the United States increased by 15% and the age 65+ population of Georgia increased by 30%, yet the age 65+ population of the City of Atlanta increased by only 2%. We need to allow our seniors to remain in our neighborhoods and to continue to enrich our communities.