Monday, December 10, 2007

A tax plan for every Georgian

Some of the coming tax legislation has been pre-filed, though it's not exactly the stuff Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson has been talking about.

And you thought it was hard to keep up with the details of his plan. Prepare for mass confusion. Hell, another couple of weeks and I might be proposing a tax plan.

State Sen. Eric Johnson pre-filed Senate Resolution 686 last week. It is not, though, the Senate side of the speaker's plan that you may have read about. It's similar, but that resolution is going to be carried by state Sen. Chip Rogers.

The relevant section of Johnson's legislation:
(1) The value of residential real property and interests therein shall not be changed from the valuation of such property established for the 2008 taxable year except as a result of new construction, additions, or improvements to the property of the taxpayer which require a building permit unless such property is sold or transferred to a person other than the owner´s spouse in which event such spouse shall retain the valuation pursuant to this subparagraph. Once transferred or sold to person other than the owner´s spouse, residential real property and interests therein shall be appraised for ad valorem taxation purposes at their fair market values as of the date of the owner´s acquisition thereof. Such property shall be subject to annual revaluation, but any such annual increase in the value of such residential real property shall not exceed an inflation percentage established by the state revenue commissioner for the current taxable year. The state revenue commissioner shall annually establish an inflation percentage to reflect the effect of economic inflation on individual taxpayers, and for such purpose, the state revenue commissioner may use the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor and any other reliable economic indicator determined by the state revenue commissioner to be appropriate.

Clear as a bell. Can't imagine why people get fed up with politics.

If I've waded through that correctly, Johnson's plan differs from the speaker's/Rogers' proposal in that it has a full cap (not including improvements) until the property is sold. The GREAT plan (at least the version of it is in vogue this week) includes a 1 percent annual cap (not including improvements) until the property is sold. There would also be legislation to cap local government spending by tying it to inflation.

According to a Senate press release, state Sen. Mitch Seabough has his own legislation to pre-file, though it is not yet available online:
ATLANTA – State Sen. Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg) has pre-filed a constitutional amendment to allow local governments to adopt a consumption tax for revenue collection in place of property taxes.

The constitutional amendment will allow each local government to independently charge a consumption tax that would replace property taxes completely or partially. This bill is not intended as a means to create additional revenue, but rather to allow each local government a choice in how they collect taxes.

If I'm reading this right, this seems to differ from the GREAT plan in that it gives each individual county or city or school board the option of replacing property taxes with sales taxes. The GREAT plan would force them to do that.

There are several pre-files dealing with taxes in the House, but I don't believe any of them are GREAT plan related. That would make then very unlikely to move this year, with the exception of bills that are very local or narrowly drawn (such as homestead authorizations for a specific county).

Salzer had a story today about some of these competing bills.

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