House Resolution 900, or the GREAT plan, has been met with a variety of responses since it first came to fruition by House Speaker Glenn Richardson
In a recent editorial, Richardson said the time has come to eliminate property taxes in Georgia, noting the current system is "outdated, unfair, and excessive."
Most local government officials disagree, at least to a certain extent. A number of open-ended situations and unanswered questions surrounding the plan remain, making it a potentially dicey situation.
Jim Higdon, executive director for Georgia Municipal Association, feels the plan is a direct attack on local control that will put the future of all Georgia cities, schools and counties at risk.
Richardson said that with each county and school district in the state having the power to tax residents, local government has the ability to inflate its budget to meet its needs – and not always the needs of its community.
"Rather than determining the amount of money they have and then creating a budget, as Georgia’s families do every day, a county can simply determine how much money they need first and then decide how much to charge their residents," his editorial said, noting the system is "backwards."
While no one will debate the issue that tax relief is a great idea, the issue remains whether or not House Resolution 900 is the right answer.
Information has been circulating for months and changes continue to be made to the GREAT plan, Richardson said.
Locally, there will be two upcoming sessions to provide information about the plan and what effects it could have for Georgia.
On Wednesday, Oct. 24, the Georgia Municipal Association will be having a session, primarily aimed at city officials, at the Richmond Hill Wetlands Center at 12 p.m. During that time, Higdon will discuss the GMA’s concerns regarding the plan. On Oct. 30, at the Savannah State University’s Savannah Ballroom, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute will be holding a session from 4-6 p.m.
As far as getting information straight from the source, an official upcoming date for that is unknown as of right now.
"We’ve been to Savannah a few times to speak and I imagine sometime between now and the end of the year we’ll return to the area for another session, but there hasn’t been a date set for it," said Clelia Davis, communications director for Richardson.