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Georgias forests will benefit from yes on amendment 1
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Dear Editor,

Everyone enjoys the beauty of Georgia’s forests and we want everyone to be aware of the benefits the forestry industry brings to our state, benefits like jobs in both forestry and manufacturing, clean air and water, recreation and many more.

Today these benefits and the survival of Georgia’s forests are threatened by a property tax system that often taxes forestland at its highest potential value, based on what it could be used for, not necessarily its current use. In some cases, the difference is more than 300 percent. For family landowners, this may mean they must sell land that has, in some cases, been in the family for generations. For business landowners, it makes it difficult to operate profitably. For all landowners, it should be the property owners’ right to decide when to sell their property or how to use their land because that is what they choose — not because of financial pressure from ever-higher taxes.

Amendment 1 protects Georgia’s forests by creating a conservation-friendly property tax program in exchange for a commitment from the landowner to keep the land in trees for at least 15 years. There are considerable financial penalties for taking the land out of the program.

Amendment 1 has very broad support across the state from elected officials, environmental groups, business leaders and landowners. It will help conserve Georgia’s forestlands and continue to provide clean air, water and wildlife habitat. Amendment 1 will also place Georgia alongside 48 other states that allow all landowners to participate in a current-use forestland conservation program.

In addition, legislators have required the state to reimburse counties for most, if not all, of any revenue loss resulting from the enrollment in the program so local economies will not suffer.

Keep Georgia’s forests a beautiful part of our landscape and a viable part of our economy. Vote “yes” for Amendment 1 on Nov. 4

Jon Rashleigh
Plum Creek Timber Company