Mississippi homeowners older than 65 could get a break on their property taxes under a proposal some lawmakers are pushing.

The House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday passed House Bill 216, which would freeze assessed values of homes owned by senior citizens and disabled people unless their homes are renovated or expanded. Taxes could still rise if local governments raise tax rates.

Rep. Manly Barton, R-Moss Point, said the bill is designed to give tax relief to residents of counties where increasing property values can cause people to owe more taxes even if tax rates stay flat.

“What we are trying to do is to protect those seniors who are on a fixed income,” Barton said.

County supervisors are opposing the measure, saying it will deprive counties of needed tax money, or shift tax burdens onto others. Steve Gray, a lobbyist for the Mississippi Association of Supervisors, said it is unclear how the measure would impact counties.

“There are too many unknowns,” he said after the committee passed the bill, sending it to the full House for further debate.

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