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Bill to limit Disability exemptions for expensive homes gets favorable report

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Wednesday, February 8, 2017, the Senate General Fund Committee gave a favorable report to a bill that would prevent owners of homes worth over $200,000 from being able to get an ad valorem tax exemption if they become disabled. Senate Bill 226 is sponsored by Senator Trip Pittman (R-Montrose), who chairs the Senate General Fund Committee.

Senator Pittman said, “I had a mayor call me and he had a constituent that was complaining about city services. The mayor got to looking and found that that constituent was exempt from paying property taxes. He looked further and 7 or 8 of the houses in that community were exempt from paying ad valorem taxes. He asked me to bring this bill. What this does is put an assessed value of $200,000 limit on that. I think this is a reasonable. You need to pay for the cost of your governor.”

Sen. Pittman said, “This has been requested by the revenue commissioners in my county and is supported by many of the revenue commissioners.”

Senator Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison) objected and said, “These people are already permanently disabled and fully retired.”

Sen. Pittman said, “Just because you have a certain status does not mean that you do not use the roads. That demand for services does not go away.”

Senator Linda Coleman-Madison said that she works as the American Disabilities Act director for the city of Birmingham. “We find that there are people who abuse the system and use services when they have the means to take care of themselves.”

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This would apply both to State taxes and local taxes.

Conservatives including: Senators Livingston, Melson, Holtzclaw, and Stutts voted against the measure, but it still received a favorable report.

Senator Larry Stutts (R-Sheffield) asked Pittman for the formal count.

Chairman Pittman said that it was 7 to 5 for favorable report.

Sen. Stutts said, “There were only 9 people in the room.”

Chairman Pittman said, “There are twelve on the roll. They were here earlier.”

SB226 now advances for consideration by the full State Senate.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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