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21 August 2008

House Democrats Vow To Save Property Tax Relief Grants

House Democrats today vowed to do all they can to protect the $428 million homeowner tax relief grants that Governor Perdue is putting on hold. If Perdue's scheme is enacted, homeowners could see as much as $300 in additional property taxes. Democrats believe increasing property taxes for Georgia families, especially during a troubled economy, is wrong and not the way to solve Georgia's current budget crisis.

"Many Georgia families are struggling now to make ends meet and raising property taxes by $300 during a tough economy is not the answer to dealing with Georgia's revenue shortfall. Democrats will do all we can to protect local property taxes and keep the homeowner relief grants in place," said House Democratic Leader DuBose Porter, D-Dublin.

"Three hundred dollars is a lot of money to make families come up with who are trying to cover the cost of healthcare or send their children to college on a limited budget. It does not make any sense and is plain wrong," said House Democratic Caucus Chair Calvin Smyre, D-Columbus. "Raising property taxes right now is the last thing we should be doing."

"Since 2003 the Governor has cut $1.5 billion from our schools which has forced local property taxes to go up throughout the state. Eliminating the homeowner tax relief grants is another example of the Governor's complete disregard for homeowners and local governments," said House Democratic Caucus Whip Carolyn Hugley, D-Columbus.

"It is unfair to homeowners and local governments to eliminate the homestead exemption. Shifting the tax burden to the local level and blaming locally elected officials for his own fiscal irresponsibility is a pattern with this governor. We must not let this happen," said House Democratic Caucus Vice-Chair Nikki Randall, D-Macon.

"You can't balance the state budget on the backs of our mayors, city councils and county commissions," noted House Democratic Caucus Secretary Kathy Ashe, D-Atlanta. "These are tough times and we need to roll up our sleeves and work together and not point the finger at local governments."