The following is a brief description of the three Constitutional amendments which will appear on the 2008 general election ballot in Georgia. All of the proposed Amendments are centered on taxes and/or taxing authority. Although many people go to the polls for the presidential race, voters should understand the amendments which will appear at the end of their ballot.
If you would like a more in depth analysis of these amendments, email Rep. Jon Burns at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (404) 656-0213.
The first amendment states, “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the General Assembly by general law shall encourage the preservation, conservation, and protection of the state's forests through the special assessment and taxation of certain forest lands and assistance grants to local government?” This amendment would promote the protection of forest land within Georgia. It would create incentives for corporations or individuals that own 200 acres or more to keep the land in forest use. The requirement provides that the property owners would enter into a covenant to restrict the use of the land and keep it forested for at least 15 years. In return, the land owner would receive tax credits and savings on the property. The local governments would be partially reimbursed for the lost revenue.
The second proposed amendment asks, “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize community redevelopment and authorize counties, municipalities, and local boards of education to use tax funds for redevelopment purposes and programs?” This amendment would allow counties, cities and local governments to use tax funds for community redevelopment purposes and programs. The funds must be approved by the applicable local governing body. It would establish a tax allocation district (TAD) which would finance infrastructure improvements and redevelopment that are backed by the increase in future revenue collected from property tax.
The third amendment states, “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to provide by general law for the creation and comprehensive regulation of infrastructure development districts for the provision of infrastructure as authorized by local governments?” This amendment would create infrastructure development districts (IDD), with the approval of the local counties and municipalities, to fund improvements in large communities.
The IDD would have the authority to sell tax exempt bonds to finance public infrastructure, such as new roads, sewers or other needs.