June 11, 2007
Norris Property Tax Relief Passes Senate
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris (R–Collierville) advanced his bill to pass property tax relief for senior citizens. The measure passed unanimously out of the Senate today.
In its amended form, the bill allows local governments to enact an optional tax freeze on properties owned by citizens that have reached their sixty-fifth birthday and meet certain income requirements. Such a provision would effectively stop increases of property tax rates for elderly citizens who qualify.
As Norris stated, “This measure is important to our senior citizens. Many of these individuals have owned homes for decades. Now that they are retired and on fixed incomes, many fear they’ll be forced to abandon their homes due to an inability to pay rising property taxes. That simply isn’t right.”
As amended in the Finance Committee and adopted on the Senate floor, income eligibility limits would be determined by each county’s median household income for citizens aged sixty-five and older. This is a departure from the original $50,000 proposed by Norris. The change came about after opposition by the Tennessee Municipal League and a subsequent Attorney General’s Opinion.
Norris said, “We were having difficulty finding a number all of the communities could agree upon. At times it seemed like all of the work getting the Constitutional Amendment passed would be for nothing because no one could agree on the income limits. My preference was to set the limit high enough to provide meaningful relief and still allow local government some flexibility. I think that the compromise we managed to reach does this in the best way possible for the time being.”
“It is just good to see that a form of tax relief for our senior citizens is poised to become law. After working diligently on this issue for years with the Constitutional Amendment and many months on the enacting legislation, I am hopeful that Tennessee seniors will be able to afford to continue living in the homes they worked hard to purchase,” said Norris.
For more information, visit www.tennesseniors.com
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