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Carter-Burns bill heads to governor
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Effingham County voters likely will head to the polls in November with a chance to determine their property tax futures.

The state Senate passed and adopted House Bills 999 and 1001 on Wednesday, and the two measures will head to Gov. Sonny Perdue’s desk for his signature.

“As you can imagine, I am ecstatic,” said Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Pooler), the author and co-sponsor of the bill. “It has been four years in the making. I think it’s great the citizens are now going to have the opportunity to vote on this.”

HB 1001, known as the Carter-Burns Bill for Carter and state Rep. Jon Burns, limits the rise in assessments to either 3 percent or the consumer price index, whichever is lower. HB 999 is a similar measure for the property taxes levied by the Effingham County Board of Education.

Should Gov. Perdue sign the measure before July 1, it will be placed on the November ballot for the voters. If he does not sign it before July 1, it will take effect any way and be placed on the ballot, Carter said.

While Perdue has balked at the tax cutting measures debated in the General Assembly — the session was expected to end late Friday — Carter doesn’t see the governor vetoing the tax relief bills for Effingham County.

“The only way I see him vetoing it is if we ask him to,” Carter said.

That would happen if the General Assembly passes statewide property tax relief that would render the Carter-Burns Bill moot.

House members approved the two bills on March 28, and they were referred to the Senate’s Legislative and Governmental Operations Committee on March 31.

That committee reported favorably upon the bills April 2, and the Senate approved them that day.