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Senate committee votes to end annual property reappraisals

By Phillip Rawls
Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY — Legislation to end annual property tax reappraisals for Alabama homes won overwhelming approval from a state Senate committee Wednesday, but its sponsor said only a strong push from the public can get it through the Legislature.

The Senate Finance and Taxation-General Fund Committee voted 12-2 for a proposed constitutional amendment by Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, that would end annual property reappraisals for residential property and return Alabama to doing reappraisals every four years.

Beason said winning approval in the Senate will be much tougher than the committee vote.

"The public has got to contact their legislators. This will be a savings of millions of dollars," he said.

Education groups and the lobbying association for county commissions opposed the legislation, saying schools and counties have begun to count on the revenue from annual reappraisals and have issued bonds based on that revenue.

"It's going to have some trouble in the Senate. There is too much at stake here with bonds that have been issued," said Paul Hubbert, executive secretary of the Alabama Education Association.

In 2003, the state revenue commissioner ordered counties to stop doing reappraisals of homes every four years and begin switching to annual reappraisals.

Most counties have already made the switch, and the last three counties are scheduled to finish next year. Business property and vehicles were already reappraised annually.

Election issue

Annual reappraisals became a major issue in last year's state elections. When the current legislative session began March 6, lawmakers introduced several bills to switch back to reappraisals every four years. Most bills were assigned to unfriendly committees and have not come up for a vote.

Beason said his bill, which was assigned to a committee headed by a proponent, appears to be the only bill that has a chance of passing.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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