The House voted 117-55 on Friday to find $428 million to pay for the Homeowner Tax Relief Grant. Gov. Sonny Perdue slashed the money from his budget proposal. Lawmakers will have to make additional budget cuts to pay for the tax break.
Georgia is wrestling with a $2.2 billion budget shortfall.
Local governments already have sent out tax bills. Homeowners would be slapped with an additional bill if the state fails to deliver the money. The state Senate must still pass the bill.
State Sen. Preston Smith, R-Rome, said he favors funding this year's tax credit, which was granted on 2008 tax bills, although it means finding $428 million to cut elsewhere in the state budget. He's also ready for a change to the automatic allocation.
I'm bothered that the counties don't seem to pass that savings directly to the homeowners," he said. "This went into effect in 1999 but, in the interim, tax bills have continued to go up."
Floyd County Tax Commissioner Kevin Payne has said the credit covers the first $220 of property taxes for each primary residence in the city of Rome and the first $240 for homesteads in the unincorporated part of the county. That works out to about $1.7 million in revenue for Floyd County; $1.9 million for county schools; and $1.1 million for Rome and its school system.
Northwest Georgia lawmakers voted "yes" on the bill, including Katie Dempsey (R-Rome), Barbara Massey Reece (D-Menlo), Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) and Rick Crawford (D-Cedartown)