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Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has a wealthy friend who is sick of paying property taxes. So, naturally, Ramsey is trying to pass a law that exempts his friend and other wealthy landowners from having to pay their full tax bills.
Tennessee Republicans have made their priorities clear: tax giveaways for their campaign donors, pain for working Tennessee families.
Tom Humphrey gives a one-line analysis and then the story from The Daily News Journal:
A developer with 187 acres of vacant land off Medical Center Parkway (in Murfreesboro) would get a $273,058 tax break if proposed legislation by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey were the law today, says the Daily News Journal.
Ramsey’s bill would cap appraisal increases on vacant land at 25 percent — an idea that doesn’t sit well with either (Rutherford) County Mayor Ernest Burgess or Property Assessor Bill Boner.
“It’s not fair,” Boner said. “I’m not against a rich man making millions, but he still has to pay his fair share of taxes. … If they pass this law, it’s not going to be good to anybody. It’s going to cost the county billions in assessed value.
It will be millions in tax dollars. “Somebody is going to make up the difference.”
Ramsey, an East Tennessee Republican, said he came up with the idea after learning his friend and constituent C.M. Gatton of Bristol faces the higher tax bill based on land in Murfreesboro he owns that was recently reappraised at about $30 million by Boner.
…If Boner’s value remains in place, Gatton faces an annual tax bill of about $282,758 for both commercial and residential land. That’s in addition to city taxes owed on the property.
“Nobody can afford that,” Ramsey said during a phone interview this past week.
Under Ramsey’s bill, the reappraisal would only raise the value to $1.6 million, resulting in an annual tax bill of $9,701.
C.M. Gatton and Carol Gatton, who are both listed with addresses at 1000 W. State St. in Bristol, contributed a total of $5,000 in June 2009 to Ramsey’s unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2010.
Here’s the summary for SB1316 (which hasn’t been scheduled for a vote) from the legislature’s website:
“This bill specifies that it is the policy of this state that an owner of real property that is vacant, unused, or held for use should not be subject to a disproportionate and unexpected increase in taxes solely due to changes in the use of other real property in proximity to such real property. This bill specifies that the value of such real property would be the lesser of:
(1) The value of the real property but for this bill; or
(2) The value of the real property in the tax year of the immediately preceding reappraisal plus 25 percent of that value.
The fiscal note estimates that enactment of the bill would mean a loss of revenue to local governments that “exceeds $1 million.”
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