A Look at 3 Counties’ School Homestead Bills

Map highlighting Bartow County, Forsyth County and Gwinnett County with text “school tax homestead” (map created with mapchart.net).
(Map created with mapchart.net)

Property tax bills have been a hot topic after residents received their tax assessment notices. Although the county government has a frozen exemption — expected to save Henry County homeowners over $30 million dollars this year — there’s no such measure for Henry County Schools. Here is a look at 3 other counties’ school homestead bills.

Each bill passed during the 2023 legislative session and received the governor’s signature. Voters in each respective county will consider approving them at the ballot box next year.

Current School Exemptions in Henry

First, what is a homestead exemption? It provides property tax savings for homeowners. They must pass the general assembly then voters approve it for a new homestead to take effect.

Henry County presently has a senior exemption in place for school taxes. It has four tiers beginning at age 62. The exemption culminates in a full 100% reduction of school taxes at age 70.

For homeowners under 62, the standard exemption right now is $4,000. This saves a homeowner $80 based on current millage rates. Four thousand dollars is the base homestead exemption offered statewide on school taxes.

3 Counties’ School Homestead Bills

Often times, a school homestead exemption applies to seniors only. Lawmakers in three counties put forth bills this year that would apply to everyone. Here is a look at those bills:

In Bartow County, House Bill 118 would increase their school homestead from $5,000 to $15,000. Voters there will consider approving it on the general primary ballot next year. If they approve it, then the added tax savings would begin in 2025.

Similarly, Gwinnett County legislators carried a bill to increase their school homestead from $4 thousand to $8 thousand. They also put forth a bill to create a $2,000 exemption for public service employees. This includes first responders, teachers, nurses and hospital staff, and members of the armed forces. Both items will appear on the 2024 ballot for voters’ approval.

Finally, Forsyth County will consider a different type of homestead. House Bill 717 would prevent homeowners’ school taxes from increasing more than 4% year-over-year. The homestead would prevent homeowners from experiencing major jumps in their tax bill, even if their home value sees a major jump. Their voters will consider the ballot measure in November 2024.

The Bartow and Gwinnett County examples would provide fixed tax savings. Based on the current millage rate for Henry County Schools, an increase of the homestead to $8,000 would save homeowners an additional $80. A $15,000 homestead would increase tax savings from the current $80 to $300. The Forsyth County example limits year-to-year jumps.

Henry County Schools Homestead

If there is support among residents to consider increasing the Henry County Schools homestead, then local legislators could introduce it next year. The general assembly meets from January to March each year. Voters would then have to consider a ballot measure to approve it.

Though an increase in homestead cannot happen this year, there is some relief coming from the state. Governor Kemp and the general assembly included $1 billion dollars in this year’s budget for a one-time homestead relief. It will provide about $500 off homeowners’ final tax bill due this fall.

Featured image shows a state map with Bartow, Forsyth and Gwinnett Counties selected. Map created with mapchart.net.

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About Clayton 1498 Articles
Clayton Carte is the founder and owner of MHF News. He founded the site in 2017 to highlight transportation projects. Over time, he began covering other topics like new development so residents can best know what’s happening in our community.