Readers Write: July 17

Tax “fix” hurts stagnant neighborhoods

In his column “Why your property tax is wrong” (Opinion July 9), Kyle Wingfield alleges that county assessors and appraisers are doing their job all wrong. In direct conflict with these allegations, the thankless job of assessors and appraisers happens to be highly regulated (Georgia Code 48-5). Practically every page contains cites of court cases further refining the law as well as the intent of the law. The concept of fair market value for the purpose of taxation is quite clearly defined, and is, in fact, logical and broadly accepted. In Wingfield’s follow-up column Sunday (“How to fix Georgia’s property taxes,” Opinion, July 12), we were indeed provided with an answer to the problem of “erroneous” appraisals, but one we’ve heard many times before: caps on assessment increases. Thus becomes obvious the bias of Mr. Wingfield. Artificially limiting assessment increases in faster-appreciating neighborhoods unconstitutionally shifts the tax burden to the slower- or non-appreciating neighborhoods. Therefore, rather than limit assessment increases meant to follow market activity as required by law, perhaps it would be more practical and fair, and no less constitutional, if sale prices were capped to no more than, say, 2.4% over the previous year’s county appraisal.

LARRY D. FERRELL, POWDER SPRINGS

U.S. deals with an enemy of America

In 1938 Neville Chamberlain went to Munich and signed an agreement with the devil (Hitler) and proclaimed: “Peace in our time”. The result was the loss of millions of lives during World War II. In 2015 President Obama via Secretary Kerry went to Vienna and signed an agreement with the devil (the Ayatollahs of Iran) who shout: “Death to America” and proclaimed this as an accomplishment. How are we going to explain this to our children and grandchildren when the Iranians try to carry out their threat “Death to America”? Will we once again have to sacrifice our best young men and women in order to protect our American values? This truly was a black day in our history.

HENRY BIRNBREY, ATLANTA

Pastors already protected in Constitution

Senator David Ralston’s proposed legislation to “protect” clergy from performing same gender marriages reflects both a poor understanding about our constitutional system and also a poor judgment about clergy. No legislation is needed – the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects freedom of religion and thus the freedom of clergy to decide whom to marry, and to whom. The First Amendment also forbids the establishment of religion by the state. Ralston’s legislation invades that safe space. As an ordained minister for almost 40 years, I celebrate the opening of a door in Georgia for all to be equal under the law and under God.

Rev. JOANNA M. ADAMS, ATLANTA, PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER

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