Comparing Property Taxes by State…Lake County seniors are being squeezed out

LFC Comments by Brian Massie, Executive Director

We plan on making property taxes an issue for 2022. We are very concerned that seniors and those living on fixed incomes are being priced out of their homes. We will be contacting as many elected officials as we can, and reporting to our readers about the steps being taken by our legislators to reduce property taxes in Lake County and in the State of Ohio.

We did some basic research on the Internet, and found the following three articles dealing with how other States are using property taxes for public school funding.

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Here is a great website that compares property taxes by State:

https://www.lincolninst.edu/research-data/data-toolkits/significant-features-property-tax/state-state-property-tax-glance/property-tax-data-visualization#state=OH&table=&row=

From this website, the following are their details for the State of Ohio. It does a great job of explaining the historical facts on Ohio’s property tax.

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https://www.ncsl.org/research/education/funding-approaches-the-property-tax-and-public-ed.aspx

Q: Are there any states that are currently considering eliminating property taxes completely or eliminating school-related property taxes?

A: No state has completely abandoned the use of the property tax as a source of revenue for public schools. States have shifted from a reliance on local property tax revenues as a substantial source of funding.

In these cases (e.g., Indiana and Michigan) the state took on a larger role in the administration of the property tax revenues, in essence shifting from local property tax reliance to state property tax oversight. By oversight, I mean that the state sets the tax rates or tax ceilings or floors for local school districts (or parent governments).

For instance, when Indiana, made this transition, the state eliminated a number of special local property tax levies and replaced the lost revenue with an increase in state sales and use tax rates (from six percent to seven percent). More on Indiana House Bill 1001 (2008) is available here.

Instead of eliminating the local property tax, many states have placed limits on local property tax growth, California’s Proposition 13 being the most well-known. The Significant Features of Property Tax database housed on the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy website contains an entire section on property tax limits.

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The State of Georgia has a significant property tax exemption for seniors and those with disabilities.

Large numbers take school system property tax exemption

By Ben Nelms -September 4, 2019

Property owners each fall participate in the annual ritual of paying property taxes. For some age 65 or older, and for some with total disability or those who are totally disabled veterans, they opt to take an exemption for half, or in some cases all, of taxes that go to the school system. Today, there are more than 11,088 people in Fayette County taking one of those exemptions.

One of the variables that comes into play when paying the annual property tax bill, the one that affects only the school system, are exemptions on school system taxes based on age, disability, and income. Currently, at 19.25 mills, the school system share of the tax bill represents far and away the majority of property taxes paid.

 In total across Fayette, there are 11,000 people taking either a 50 percent exemption or a 100 percent exemption on the school system portion of the tax bill.

A 50 percent exemption for school tax is available to those age 65 and older, with the property owner required to be at least 65 years of age on Jan. 1 of the tax year.

A 100 percent exemption for school tax is available for those age 65 or older and with a Georgia taxable income of less than $15,000. Georgia taxable income does not include Social Security income or pensions.

The current number of people taking the school tax exemption by category are:

• 50 percent exempt because of age – 4,201

• 100 percent exempt because of age and income – 5,887

• 50 percent exempt because of total disability – 176

• 100 percent exempt because of total disability and income – 551

• 50 percent exempt totally disabled veteran – 74

• 100 percent exempt totally disabled veteran and income – 199

The Fayette CountyTax Commissioner’s Office, at 770-461-3652, has complete information on the exemption criteria.

It is no mystery that Fayette County population is aging significantly faster than most others in metro Atlanta, and significantly faster than in Georgia’s 10 most affluent counties.

Estimated figures for 2018 from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that 18.2 percent of Fayette’s population of 113,459 were age 65 or older.

A demographic study performed last year for the Fayette County Board of Education showed that, by 2025, approximately 34 percent of the county’s population will be age 60 or older.

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Stay tuned for our next article where we report on the Lake County Commissioners’ attitude toward property taxes. You are going to want to hear Commissioner Plecnik pontificate on property taxes!

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Categories: Lake, Real Estate Taxes

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