GA Libertarian Wins Tax Relief for Seniors

Now this is really exciting. It’s great to see third party candidates get elected and actually make a real difference in people’s lives…

When Libertarian Ben Brandon was elected as county executive in Dade County, Ga., he promised to exempt seniors from paying school taxes. Unlike a typical politician, Brandon delivered on his promise.

His victory was the culmination of many hours of hard work. After talking to elderly voters, Brandon learned that high property taxes were their most important concern. He worked with his state representative, Martin Scott, who drafted legislation to exempt senior citizens age 65 and over, earning less than $10,000 annually, from paying the school funding part of their property taxes. The legislation was passed both by the state Senate and House in March and signed by the governor this past summer. For the property tax exemption to take effect, Dade County voters would have to approve it in a local referendum. On September 20, 2005, voters approved the property tax exemption by a 4-to-1 margin. According to the unofficial results, the final tally was 1,471 yes votes to 369 opposed, with a higher-than-expected turnout. The property tax exemption will take effect next year and seniors will see their property tax bills be reduced by approximately 70 percent. Seniors will have the option to take the exemption or continue to fund public schools.

After the referendum passed, Brandon stated, “This will allow over 1,000 homeowners to choose whether to take themselves completely off the property tax rolls in Dade County. It’s a Libertarian law, how you spend your money is your choice and nobody is going to stop you if you choose to keep giving it to government schools. No other property owners’ taxes will increase as a result.”

Local educators opposed granting seniors this tax exemption stating it would devastate an already tight budget or shift the tax burden to other residents who also might have low incomes, according to Chattanooga Times Free Press. Critics argue that it is unfair to cut taxes for only one subset of the taxpaying public while leaving other people’s taxes at a higher level.

Brandon said in response, “At the time they had students in school, they were paying property taxes. At some point you need to give people a break.”

He further added, “The problem with education, with government schools, isn’t that we tax too little, but that they spend too much. They just need to sharpen their pencils a little more at budget time and get more efficient, rather than continuing to come back to the well and asking taxpayers to pay more and more, without any accountability.”

6 Responses to “GA Libertarian Wins Tax Relief for Seniors”

  1. esso Says:

    Well, this is something different…a practical implementation of Libertarian ideas, without going completely insane. Someone should send Badnarik the article.

  2. Kyle B Says:

    The Libertarian Party in GA should consider running Brandon for a state wide office next year or at least for the State House or Senate

  3. Lex Says:

    This law is a good idea, as long as any “lost funds” are cut from the school budgets and not passed on to other taxpayers.

    If any state wanted to have the best schools in the world, all they would have to do is turn them over to the free market. Sell off the buildings, the buses, and the books, and be done with it. If the state governments ran our supermarkets, we would most likely be starving. It’s no surprise that the government-run schools are starving the kids educationally.

    In most states, this would take a constitutional amendment, but it’s past time for someone to try it. As a bonus, all the political infighting about whether to teach evolution vs. creation, or traditional values vs. tolerance, would end overnight. Poor schools would lose students and funding. Good schools would make money and attract even better teachers. There would finally be a positive feedback loop, instead of a negative one. Parents might even get more involved, if their money was on the line, and sutdents might get more serious if they knew how much their parents were sacrificing to help them.

    What about children in poor families? Don’t lots of people want to help educate them, too? Why, yes, it seems that a lot of people do, or they wouldn’t tolerate government-run schools. Why don’t they get together and offer educational assistance to needy students then? Why force 100% of people to pay for something that 70 or 75% of the people already want to do?

  4. mmachine Says:

    State senator would be a nice run.


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  6. Carlton Sheets Says:

    Carlton Sheets

    heh nice one

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