Presberg concerned about declining school taxes paid by over-65s

BoE member Leonard Presberg

Presberg concerned about declining school taxes paid by over-65s

Fayette County Board of Education member Leonard Presberg (D-District 4) contends that the 50 percent local school tax deduction available to people age 65 and above represents a growing trend, in terms of school system revenues, that the community should be aware of for the future.

Fayette County residents age 65 and older can sign up with the Fayette County Tax Commissioner’s office to be exempt from 50 percent of school taxes.

While noting that the 50 percent school tax deduction is not a problem today for the school system’s annual budget revenues, Presberg said the trend of an aging demographic could have future implications.

Those taking the deduction do impact the school system’s revenue and is an aspect of revenue collection that many people do not always take into account, he said.

The tax digest increases but, with the 50 percent exemption, school system revenues do not increase at the same rate, he said.

Presberg said he believed it would likely take a public referendum to address the current deduction.

“It’s not to the point where it’s a problem, but it is a trend and people need to be aware of it,” said Presberg.

Fayette is becoming an older county, while the number of residents age 18 and younger continues to fall. If the trend continues through the 2020 census, the number of school-aged children will be approximately 20.6 percent of the county population while those 65 and over will rise to approximately 21.1 percent of Fayette’s residents.

Even if a referendum were to be put on the ballot, it is far from certain that such an issue would pass, given that older voters tend to go to the polls in larger numbers and that the number of those in their 50s might want to take advantage of a lessened tax burden when they turn 65.