Declining state revenues during the current recession means that there is no money for the state to give the tax relief to homeowners, said Walker County tax commissioner Caro-lyn Walker. This will mean a property increase of $177.08 on the 2009 tax bills for most Walker County homeowners receiving the regular homestead exemption. City residents will see their city portion raise in addition to that amount, she continued. The grant appropri-ated by the general assembly and the governor for the last several years to counties, cities and schools had given tax relief to homeowners in the form of a credit on their tax bills. According to legislation passed this year (House Bill 143), the grant will only be made avail-able in the future if state revenues grow at least 3% plus the rate of inflation.
The tax commissioner is encouraging homeowners to prepare for the increase now before tax bills are issued later this year. Its unfortunate in slow economic times to have to de-liver this message, but homeowners across Georgia need to know now so they can plan ac-cordingly with their household budgets or make sure that tax escrows are properly funded with their mortgage companies to handle the tax increase.