State Rep. Beskin on homestead bill: I want what Decatur wants

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt March 9, 2016
Photo obtained via

Photo obtained via

State Rep. Beth Beskin, R-Atlanta, tells Decaturish the Democrats supporting an expanded tax senior exemption for Decatur should support her proposal to do the same in Atlanta.

That’s why she has blocked Decatur’s bill, hoping to use it to leverage support from more Democrats and the Atlanta School Board.

Unlike Decatur’s proposal, however, Beskin’s idea doesn’t have the support of the Atlanta School Board. She said it does have some support from Atlanta City Council members. Currently, Dectur residents age 80 and older receive a homestead exemption on school taxes. The Decatur School Board would like to see the age lowered to 65.

“If it’s good for Decatur I think it would be good for Atlanta, and it would be very difficult for the Democrats opposing me in the House to … support an exemption for Decatur, but object to the same type of thing for the city of Atlanta,” Beskin said.

Beaskin said she needs eight signatures from the Atlanta delegation – she has three, currently – and the support of the Atlanta School Board for her proposal to move forward. With the current Legislative session drawing to a close, it’s not clear how likely it is to happen before Legislators go home.

“I think tomorrow is day 34 [of the session],” she said. “There is a lot happening around here.”

On Tuesday evening, the School Board blasted Beskin for her opposition. School Board Chair Annie Caiola called her opposition “childish.” The city has urged residents to call Beskin and other legislators to urge her to drop her opposition to the bill.

Decaturish asked Beskin if the lack of support for her proposal from the Atlanta School Board will hold up Decatur’s bill indefinitely.

“I’m not saying that,” Beskin said. “I will say this. I have not dropped a bill. I cannot drop a bill until I get a majority of signatures from the Atlanta delegation.”

Beskin said having a neighboring city like Decatur offering these exemptions will make seniors in her district more likely to move to that city.

“Many would move to Decatur if Decatur has this tax exemption, yet Atlanta does not,” she said.

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