Elimination of Homeowners Tax Relief Grant CreditTemplate Press ReleaseFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEFor more information on this press release, contact:(INSERT NAME), (INSERT TITLE) – (INSERT PHONE NUMBER AND EMAIL)BE PREPARED FOR AN INCREASE IN YOUR 2009 PROPERTY TAX BILLGet More Information at www.factsaboutpropertytax.com (INSERT CITY NAME), Ga. ((INSERT DATE)) – Homeowners across the state may be surprised when they open their property tax bill this year. Property tax bills may have increased for several reasons. Legislation that passed during the 2009 Legislative Session eliminated a credit that homeowners have previously received on their property tax bills called the Homeowners Tax Relief Grant. In recent years, this credit reduced most property tax bills by $200 - $300 annually. In addition, your property tax bill may have changed as a result of a change in your property tax assessment or an increase in the millage rage set by the county, city or board of education.“At a time when many homeowners are carefully watching their spending, we want them to be prepared for an increase in their property tax bill,” said (INSERT NAME), (INSERT TITLE). “Since much of that increase is coming from an action that was taken at the state level, we want people to have the facts.” The Homeowners Tax Relief Grant (HTRG) program was established through legislation in 1999. Since that time, the Georgia General Assembly and the Governor have funded this credit and provided a reimbursement for it to local governments. This credit appeared as a line item on the property tax bill and was subtracted from the total amount of property tax that the homeowner would otherwise have to pay. It did not change the amount of property tax owed, it simply reduced the amount that the homeowner had to pay out of pocket. The benefits of this program were entirely for the homeowner.Due to financial strains on the state budget, the Georgia General Assembly and the Governor did not fund this credit for the 2009 property tax bills. While House Bill 143 established that the credit could be offered again sometime in the future, it will not be until state revenues increase significantly. INSERT ONE OF THE OPTIONS FOR QUOTES BELOW. DELETE THE QUOTES THAT YOU DO NOT USE:“In (INSERT COUNTY), we have reduced our budget by (INSERT AMOUNT) by (DESCRIBE HOW),” said (INSERT LAST NAME). “By taking these steps, we will not have to raise the millage rate this year.”“In (INSERT COUNTY), we have reduced our budget by (INSERT AMOUNT) by (DESCRIBE HOW),” said (INSERT LAST NAME). “Unfortunately, these steps are not enough to allow us to continue to provide the services that are expected by our community so we have also had to raise the millage rate by (INSERT AMOUNT). This increase equals about (INSERT AMOUNT) on a $100,000 home.”“In (INSERT COUNTY), we have reduced our budget by (INSERT AMOUNT) by (DESCRIBE HOW),” said (INSERT LAST NAME). “While we are not raising the millage rate for the county this year, the (INSERT CITY OR SCHOOL BOARD) has increased their millage rate by (INSERT AMOUNT). This increase equals (INSERT AMOUNT) on a $100,000 home.”Property taxes are the primary source of revenue to fund services provided by county government that provide for the health, safety and welfare of the community. Counties use these funds to provide services such as police and fire protection, emergency management, water and sewer infrastructure, public health departments, jails, courts, and parks and recreation facilities. “County government is facing tough financial times and counties are feeling the impact of the economic downturn which is lowering property tax assessments and reducing the revenues available to fund county operations,” said Jerry Griffin, Executive Director of the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG). “While people don’t like paying property taxes, they need to realize that many of the qualities that they enjoy about their community and services that they take for granted like police and fire protection are a direct result of the investment by local government.”For more information on your property tax bill, contact the (INSERT COUNTY) Tax Commissioner’s Office at (INSERT PHONE NUMBER). The Association County Commissioners of Georgia has also established a website on behalf of local government to help explain property taxes. For more information, go to www.factsaboutpropertytax.com.###
Can you still get a first time home buyer tax credit? Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Jimmy Panetta introduced the First-Time Homebuyer Act in the House in late April. The bill, which closely resembles what Biden proposed during his campaign, would create a refundable tax credit worth up to 10 percent of the purchase price, or $15,000, for the purchase of a home.