It’s almost impossible to discuss taxes in Atlanta without the name RJ Morris popping up. Morris is a dedicated property tax activist, a man who has dedicated the better part of the last three years challenging the status quo at the Fulton County Assessor’s Office. Now, he’s running for Fulton County Tax Commissioner. Get to know him, and learn more about how the system works…
Q. When talking taxes with Atlanta citizens, what facts seem to elicit the most jaw-dropping “I didn’t know that!” reactions?
A. That we have lost over a hundred million dollars in revenue tax lien interest, by selling our liens instead of servicing them in house. We are the only county out of 159 counties that sells them. I plan to stop that.
Q. What advice do you give to the homeowners who feel that they’ve been overassessed?
A. Do not give up during the appeal process, that is the county’s biggest advantage against you. On other notes, be sure to watch out for the “”30 day”” letter. After you appeal, sometimes you get a letter from the county asking if you want to continue your appeal, if you do not respond in 30 days, they can end your appeal!
Q. The current tax commissioner made $342,000 last year, which is more than $50,000 more than the combined salaries of the Governor of Georgia and the Mayor of Atlanta. Why and how?
A. He is grandfathered in on an old law that allows him to use government employees for his personal business. That law is no longer in existence, once he is out of office, no other tax commissioner may ever do that again.
Q. Why do you love living in Atlanta?
A. Although there are lots of reason, number one is my roots are here. I have been here since 1973 so I have lots of friends and family here.
Q. Hidden Atlanta gems?
A. Hidden? Nothing is hidden since the Olympics! Maybe food places… Eats restaurant on Ponce in Midtown has got to be the best food for the price anywhere in Atlanta! (And no, I dont own it)