Has the Time Come to End the Columbus Property Tax Freeze?

PETE ROBINSON SAYS IT HAS.

Attorney, lobbyist, and former Columbus state legislator Pete Robinson ran the end-the-property-tax- freeze  flag up the political flagpole again. Now, we’ll get to see how many Columbus citizens salute it this time.  Twice before freeze-enders got shot down in referendums, and the freeze was upheld in a state supreme court ruling.

Times are different now, Robinson told Columbus Rotarians today. A lot of people who work and use Columbus public services don’t own property in Columbus any more.  Columbus basically depends on property taxes to pay for government services, and since counties that don’t have tax freezes, such as Harris in Georgia, and Russell is Alabama, are more attractive to people who buy new homes, the tax digest in Columbus simply isn’t going to be enough to finance the Columbus-Muscogee County government.

In order to tax those people who live in other counties, but work in Columbus and use Columbus infrastructure, there has to be a change. One is is to depend more on sales taxes – he called it “consumption” taxes – and another is to institute a Columbus income tax. And ending the freeze will also encoruage more people to buy homes in Columbus.

Sales taxes, the most regressive because lower-income people pay a higher percentage of their income than upper-income people, are already high enough in my book.  I’d lean more toward an income tax. Also, I have never thought the property tax freeze was a good idea.  When a new homeowner moves in and has to pay $2,000 in property taxes and his  or her neighbor, who has been living for 20 years in the house next door that is of the same value, pays $100, you know something is wrong.

I asked Robinson if he really thought there was a chance in hell the tax freeze would end. “It has to!” he said emphatically.

I’m sure our new mayor Teresa Tomlinson will be very interested in seeing how Columbus citizens react to Robinson’s position.

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9 Responses to “Has the Time Come to End the Columbus Property Tax Freeze?”

  1. Richard Says:

    Mayor Tomlinson campaigned on adding a “sunset” clause to the tax freeze. She admitted that would require voter approval in a referendum. Not to mention getting Council approval to put it on the ballot in the first place.

  2. Mike Says:

    If Columbus starts an “income Tax” there will be one more property owner to move out…Pete, you have lost your brain…consumption tax…o.k., but why not look to cut EXPENSES…you are a typical democrat always looking for more ways to take people’s money and give it to the monster called government…

  3. Thomas Says:

    The tax freeze is a good thing and it’s fair. The $100/$2000 over 20 years is, I think, an uncommon example if it exists. Many people who stay in their homes 20+ years without alterations are the same people who can least afford a $1900/year tax increase. As people move, remodel their homes, or pass away, the property will be reassessed. Any disparity eventually corrects itself over time.

    Further, it is true that taxes affect behavior. Some people might choose to live in Alabama rather than Columbus. However, if the tax freeze is lifted, you might also see an exodus from Columbus based on that fact as well.

  4. Glenn L. Phillips Says:

    I have never thought the property tax freeze was a good idea. When a homeowner in Green Island Hills pay less than a homeowner in Bibb City, you know something is wrong.

  5. Nadine Moore Says:

    We passed the first LOST because of the property tax freeze. Lifting the freeze will only generate about 9 million dollars yearly. The LOST brings in 30+ million dollars. Should we put the Property Tax freeze on the ballot to be voted for then we must put BOTH LOSTS, the garbage fees and the sewage fess on the books to be voted off. WE can’t have it both ways. WE will lose more money should we vote the LOSTS, garbage fees and the sewer fees and the CSO fees off of the books. The city must think real hard before they follow you Mr. Robinson. Longeavity is our asset. People who inherit homes fall under the new freeze. I inherited my parents home. They paid 25.00 in property taxes. I pay 676.00 on the same house. The house cost 4000 in 1951. It is valued at 30,000. I can sell it for 9000. I have paid more in property taxes than I will be able to earn from the sell of the house and more than the original cost of the house. THE DISPARITY DOES CORRECT ITSELF AS THOMAS SAID EARLIER. WE ARE FOCUSING ON THE WRONG THING. Mr. Robinson, get a VA hospital here for jobs creation.

  6. Jack Basset Says:

    The truth is that not enough City income is being lost by the freeze. The voters have responded and given the City almost everything they have asked for. I’d say leave the freeze alone and get about reducing expenses.

  7. tellthetruth Says:

    all this money going to brown water rafting let’s talk about how they waste our money before we give them more money

  8. Larry Nowers Says:

    I pay 2800 in county taxes, probably three times the average, most of that for schools and I have no kids. We are 16 trillion in debt. What’s our share of that? $50K each. Anyone been to Ecuador?

  9. Still stuck Says:

    I would like to know, what happens when your mortgage company re-evaluation your property and it drops in value? Do we have to wait 14yrs to see a reduction in our taxes? How do we account for that?

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