Why do senior citizens pay school taxes?

Published 6:42 pm Friday, November 30, 2018

Dear Editor,

I am writing to suggest that after the success of the “Friends of the Thread” that another even more deserving and quite larger group, “Friends of the Seniors,” should ask for the elimination of school taxes for those over 70 years of age.

If a group of citizens (does anyone really know how many citizens are “Friends of the Thread”?) can succeed in lobbying for The Thread to be built at an enormous cost (some say $1 million a mile but nobody really knows) then why can’t the senior citizens of Troup County band together and demand tax relief from the local government?

I was at a dinner the other night and the host spoke about the fact that seniors need to exert their considerable political clout and seek relief from the local tax allocation.

He mentioned that in Texas, cities like Austin have frozen property values for their seniors and that some cities have gone so far as to eliminate school taxes from certain age groups.

Why do seniors in LaGrange still pay school taxes when they have no children in school? If new businesses can locate here and pay no taxes at all or be in a TAD (what is a Tad?) where no taxes are paid, then how can citizens many of whom are on fixed incomes be expected to “pick up the slack”?

He mentioned that local governments can always find a way to make up the reduced revenues from other areas if seniors stop paying school taxes because taxes are like weeds – they pop up everywhere and are almost impossible to eliminate (think SPLOST).

The simple plan would be:

A resident of Troup county with five years of residency would at age 62 have their property tax frozen for their primary residence.

A resident of Troup County with five years of residency would at age 65 have the school tax portion of their property tax cut in half.

A resident of Troup County with five years of residency would at age 70 have the school tax portion of their property tax eliminated.

I don’t know about you, but being 72 and on a fixed income, I would love this.

I know that our politicians will sputter and stammer and say what a good idea but … They are not going to do this without considerable lobbying from us seniors. Just remember it is our money, not theirs, and they are elected to do the public’s bidding.

Why can’t the “Greatest Little City” become a mecca for seniors looking for a place to retire and not just a place for millennials looking for a place to jog?

The housing industry would likely get a big boost from the implementation of this tax reduction for seniors. The Chamber could trumpet LaGrange as a place to spend your later years with a real tax incentive for senior property owners.

I hope that the gentleman who mentioned this plan at dinner will really pursue this. I for one will be glad to help the lobbying effort for our seniors and myself. I think we deserve this, don’t you?

Let’s rally behind “Friends of the Seniors” even if you are not that old. If you are lucky, you will be one of us someday too.

Murray L. Schine