Property tax break for elderly to be decided by voters

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee voters will decide in November whether property tax increases for elderly homeowners should be halted when they turn 65.

The Tennessee House voted 95-to-1 today for a constitutional amendment that will allow voters to consider the measure. The Senate unanimously approved the proposal last month.

When placed on the ballot in the fall, the proposal has to be approved by a number of voters equal to the majority of those casting ballots in the 2006 governor's race to become part of the Tennessee Constitution.

If approved by voters, the amendment will allow county and city governments to freeze the assessed value of homes owned by elderly residents. But it wouldn't necessarily apply to all homeowners, because the Legislature could set income limits for those who receive the break.

The passage is a victory for the elderly and lawmakers who have been pushing the legislation since a similar law enacted by the Legislature in 1979 was found unconstitutional.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)