Hamilton County GOP Chair Exposes Democratic Candidate’s Deception in Misleading Voters on Senior Tax Issue
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (May 10, 2016) – Tony Sanders, chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party, issued a statement today expressing serious concerns over the deception and fear-mongering of the Hamilton County Democratic Party and its Assessor of Property candidate who continue to use inaccurate and misleading statements when discussing the senior tax issue with voters.
“The Democrat’s nominee for Assessor of Property is attempting to scare seniors and create a problem that exists only for citizens who live in the City of Chattanooga, where taxes have been raised after the senior tax freeze legislation was enacted by the state in 2007,” Chairman Tony Sanders noted. “The facts are clear on this issue. Not only have seniors had a county tax rate freeze since 2007, but a majority of citizens in Hamilton County have seen their county taxes go down or remain relatively the same during the same time period.”
In recent days, negative social media ads and push robo calls have been used in the Assessor’s race demanding a senior tax freeze, a function, according to Tennessee’s Office of the Comptroller, completely outside the jurisdiction of the Assessor of Property. In fact, many of the claims being made by the opposing candidate have yet to be proven or supported by the facts.
Sanders continued, “The Assessor of Property has no authority to implement a senior tax freeze so it’s not an issue that can or should be debated in this race. Second, the Hamilton County Commission has not raised taxes for anyone since 2007 so the Democrats should aim their anger toward those who actually increased the tax rates for seniors, such as the city of Chattanooga did in June 2010.”
The Assessor of Property’s Office is a constitutional office responsible for setting the appraised value on each parcel of land in Hamilton County based on strict guidelines and regulations established by state law. Further, state law prevents local governments from using the new property assessments to boost tax revenues, a legislative act.
“It’s clear by the comments made by the Democratic candidate in this race that he either does not understand the responsibilities of the Assessor of Property or wants to use this elected office as activist position to drive a political agenda,” said Sanders. “Mayor Andy Berke, who recruited this candidate, and Councilman Chris Anderson, who is serving as his campaign manager, are working hand-and-hand to unnecessarily scare seniors in the county while they refuse to address the very same issue in the city.”
The Hamilton County Republican Party encourages property owners to both get the facts regarding current taxes and inquire of the state’s successful tax relief program for three at-risk populations who may face challenges in meeting their property tax payments. Established in 1973, the Senior Property Tax Relief program allows disabled veterans, seniors over 65-years old and disabled property owners to apply for and receive financial assistance if they meet the legislatively-established criteria for annual income.
The program, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Office of the TN Comptroller, provides tax relief to qualifying seniors and disabled property owners with annual household income limits of $28,690 and to disabled veterans with a household limit of $60,000. Applicants must submit the necessary documentation to the Comptroller’s Office on an annual basis for initial qualification and annual renewal of this program, which currently provide tax relief to nearly 3,400 qualified recipients in Hamilton County.
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