Nicholas Day, the only Democrat running for tax commissioner, is campaigning on a platform of one thing only - to secure a homestead tax exemption for all seniors, regardless of income.
Day, who ran unsuccessfully for tax commissioner in 2000, says he sees the position as a plank from which he will speak out and lobby for the homestead exemption on school property taxes for all residents over the age of 65.
"Basically, I decided to run for one reason, that's to get the exemption from school taxes for senior citizens," said Day who is a retired information systems manager. "I feel that the only way to get your voice heard is to be a tax commissioner. Then you have a platform to put your voice out there."
Day said he did not know where the board of education could raise revenue to make up for the proposed loss in funding from property taxes but suggested the school board is already over funded.
"I think the Board of Education needs to manage their funding more carefully," Day said. "I think there's a lot of waste in the Board of Education's funding."
With diesel fuel costs at more than $4.15 a gallon, the BOE has had to look for areas in the school budget to cut corners including having fewer field trips and fewer away games in the future. The Newton County School System was also shorted close to $1.5 million from the state in fiscal year 2008 due to austerity cuts.
"I never have been asked 'Where are the senior citizens going to get the money [to pay their property taxes],'" Day said.
In February, Newton County voters approved a measure to increase the homestead tax exemption on school property taxes for seniors to $30,000 and the eligibility income cap from $15,000 to $25,000. In November voters will be asked to choose whether to give seniors a break on their county taxes with a proposed $26,000 exemption and a $25,000 income cap.
After working in the computer industry for 30 years as an information systems manager, Day spent 16 years working for Henry County where he held the positions of assistant director in the Solid Waste Department and division director of occupational tax and alcoholic beverages for the Tax Commissioner's Office.
Born in Fulton County, Day has lived in Newton County since 1976. After graduating from high school he took several courses in computers. He has been retired for the last several years and lives with his wife, Melinda.
Republicans Barbara Dingler and Doris Strickland are also running for tax commissioner.
Writer Josh Briggs contributed reporting.