Property tax protection for county’s elderly and retired

Published 10:59 am Tuesday, April 9, 2024

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To the Editor:

In the past 10 years or so land values in Carter County have skyrocketed, thus leading to much higher property taxes. A pending reassessment will mean an additional increase. This has been a large burden on the longtime residents of this area, especially the retired/elderly. For instance, the tax burden for a typical house in Elizabethton since 2020 has gone from $173/month to $227/month while one in the Butler area has gone from $87/month to $134/month ($2,025 to $2,725 and $1,046 to $1,606 per year). By people living longer, they have many more years of paying taxes; i.e., a larger part of their life is spent paying taxes. The sad part is that they are living longer as retirees on a fixed income. During the longer retired years on a fixed income inflation eats into their lifestyle. The increase in property taxes and other tax increases over these extended years are also very detrimental to their standard of living. In many cases older persons are forced to move and/or live a substandard existence. Likewise it is often difficult for an older retiree to replace their car. The increase in medical costs also has a detrimental effect as retirees age. One area where relief can readily be implemented is relative to property taxes.

To compensate for this situation Property Tax Relief is needed. The Tennessee Legislature and perhaps the county commissions and the city councils should consider the following recommendation relative tax assessments. For persons that reach 65 years of age, their tax rate should be frozen at that year’s rate until they reach another milestone. At age 75 the frozen tax rate should be halved until they reach the next milestone. At age 80 to 85 all property taxes should end.

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For persons who have already met one or more of the milestones, their future tax rate should be adjusted to that of the year they reached one or more milestones. For instance if you reached 65 years of age in 2000, your future property taxes would be based on the values for the year 2000 until you reach another milestone; i.e., the adjusted rate would be halved at age 75 in year 2010, etc.

One possible exception to this situation would be if the owner of the residents has one or more permanent residents whose yearly income exceeds $150,000 as adjusted for inflation then the full tax rate would still be applicable.

Some people may say that only the rich will benefit from this proposal. Well the rich don’t pay that much attention to taxes anyway. But there are thousands of elderly/retired persons in the middle and lower income brackets who would greatly benefit from this proposal. The government should take care of these elderly citizens most of all – is that not the real reason for government anyway?

Closing Comments: 1. It might be a good idea to have this recommendation added to the ballot this fall to get peoples’ opinion. 2. I have been retired since 1998 (26 years) with a relatively fixed income and I can assure you that inflation and the increased tax rates have eaten into my budget.


  1. Ronald Winter