NTU on Georgia ballot measures

The National Taxpayers Union has released their national ballot guide, which includes the three ballot questions here in Georgia:

2008 Georgia Taxpayer-Related Measures

( + ) Proposed Amendment 1 would allow the state to assess and tax certain privately owned tracts of timberland according to their “current use,” rather than to assess and tax based on a property’s highest-valued use, in order to encourage forest conservation. This “conservation use” is only available to landowners who agree not to develop the land for 15 years. The state has agreed to provide funds for counties whose revenues might decrease significantly as a result. Despite this provision, Amendment 1 could result in a nominal tax cut for certain property owners.

( – ) Proposed Amendment 2 would allow schools to vote to participate in Tax Allocation Districts (TADs). Tax Allocation Districts enable local governments to fund developing a property because of the anticipated higher tax revenues that the development is expected to generate. The impact of this measure is highly debatable, and could be positive in some cases. Nonetheless, some of the measure’s opponents are concerned that overuse of TADs can lead to subsidies for development that might have occurred on its own.

( + ) Proposed Amendment 3 would allow Infrastructure Development Districts to be created in rural areas. If this amendment is adopted, an area’s landowner could agree to pay a developer a specific fee that would then fund the infrastructure necessary for development to take place.

Measures that could lower taxes or control government are listed with a plus sign ( + ), and measures that could raise taxes or expand government are listed with a minus sign ( – ).

Amendment 2 needs be to voted down. I already don’t like public education and I don’t like paying property taxes. So why should my school tax dollars go to the interests of rentseeking developers? This is cronyism at it’s worst.

The Georgia Supreme Court got it right. You don’t tax people for something and then spend the funds for something else.


  1. Clint Austin says:

    1. Why should GA voters listen to the NTU on a state constitutional amendment? How can they have any idea of the context for the amendment?

    2. Jason – with all due respect, to say “the Supreme Court got it right” is saying that a statewide vote of the people on the original TAD law (as well as numerous referendum votes on TADs around the state) are wrong.

    I thought most reasonable people had concluded that when the people speak, even the Court has to listen. Amendment 2 is nothing new – it only ratifies what the people have already said they wanted.

  2. Jason Pye says:

    If it isn’t consistent with the laws of the state (ie. the Constitution), then no, the court doesn’t have to listen.

    That is why we have checks-and-balances. Reasonable people understand that.

    Property and economic rights are not safe in the direct democracy style government you are advocating.

  3. I voted against #2. I’m not against TADs per se but the desire to use school funds for development bothers me. School tax revenues should be used by the schools, for the schools, not to develop property. It’s almost impossible to stop a tax increase when it’s for the children and there will certainly be tax increases when local governments get their hands on the school’s money.

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