Recommendations for Proposed Constitutional Amendments and Referenda

Recommendations for Proposed Constitutional Amendments and Referenda

When you look at your ballot for the November 6th election, you’ll see five constitutional amendment options, two statewide referenda, a Fulton county referendum, and possibly a city referendum or two. Below, you can find plain-language explanations, plus recommended voting suggestions. This information is meant to be used as an informational guide; we encourage all voters to make informed decisions and vote how they individually choose.

Click here for a printable pdf of in-depth recommendations and explanations from Stacey Abrams and the Democratic Party of Georgia.

See below for a shorter version that includes Fulton County initiatives.

 

Amendment 1: Create Georgia Outdoor Stewardship to Protect Water, Wildlife, and Parks

How it will look on your ballot: Without increasing the current state sales tax rate, shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to create the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund to conserve lands that protect drinking water sources and the water quality of rivers, lakes, and streams; to protect and conserve forests, fish, wildlife habitats, and state and local parks; and to provide opportunities for our children and families to play and enjoy the outdoors, by dedicating, subject to full public disclosure, up to 80 percent of the existing sales tax collected by sporting goods stores to such purposes without increasing the current state sales tax rate?
Recommendation from Stacey Abrams and the Democratic Party of Georgia: Vote Yes.
Additional note from the Fulton County Dems: This amendment allows the General Assembly the ability to allocate funds, but it does not REQUIRE them to.

 

Amendment 2: Creates a State-wide Business Court

How it will look on your ballot: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to create a state-wide business court, authorize superior court business court divisions, and allow for the appointment process for state-wide business court judges in order to lower costs, improve the efficiency of all courts, and promote predictability of judicial outcomes in certain complex business disputes for the benefit of all citizens of this state?
Recommendation from Stacey Abrams and the Democratic Party of Georgia: Vote Yes.
Additional note from the Fulton County Dems: Many including Abrams consider this to be a good Amendment to speed up business decisions and relieve the present system. The opposition sees at least 2 reasons against:
The first is that the judges are appointed (makes sense for a ‘specialized’ court for expertise). This is the first instance of appointed rather than elected judges.
The second is the concern that it would be used to further the interests of business, especially against workers and unions.

 

Amendment 3:  Encourages Conservation and Sustainability for Georgia Working Forests

How it will look on your ballotShall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to revise provisions related to the subclassification for tax purposes of and the prescribed methodology for establishing the value of forest land conservation use property and related assistance grants, to provide that assistance grants related to forest land conservation use property may be increased by general law for a five-year period and that up to 5 percent of assistance grants may be deducted and retained by the state revenue commissioner to provide for certain state administrative costs, and to provide for the subclassification of qualified timberland property for ad valorem taxation purposes?

Recommendation from Stacey Abrams and the Democratic Party of Georgia: Vote Yes.
Additional note from the Fulton County Dems: Georgia’s forestry economy depends on the ability to sustain the ‘growing season’ for these ‘farmers’.

 

Amendment 4: Marsy’s Law Rights to Victims for ‘allegedly’ been perpetrated

How it will look on your ballotShall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide certain rights to victims against whom a crime has allegedly been perpetrated and allow victims to assert such rights?

Recommendation from Stacey Abrams and the Democratic Party of Georgia: Vote Yes.
Additional note from the Fulton County Dems: The criticism for those voting no is that this is already in the laws of Georgia and it infringes on the rights of those accused. The justification is mainly to protect women whose rights are often ignored vs. a ‘known’ abuser who will not be denied.

 

Amendment 5: Authorizes the Fair Allocation of Tax Proceeds To County and City School Systems

How it will look on your ballot: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize a referendum for a sales and use tax for education by a county school district or an independent school district or districts within the county having a majority of the students enrolled within the county and to provide that the proceeds are distributed on a per student basis among all the school systems unless an agreement is reached among such school systems for a different distribution?

Recommendation from Stacey Abrams and the Democratic Party of Georgia: Vote Yes.
Additional note from the Fulton County Dems: Allows a larger school to move forward with an E-SPLOST without a smaller system within the same county. It does take some negotiating power away from the smaller systems.

 

Statewide Referendum Questions:

  1. Impose a property tax cap for the City of Atlanta

How it will look on your ballot:Do you approve a new homestead exemption in a municipal corporation that is located in more than one county, that levies a sales tax for the purposes of a metropolitan area system of public transportation, and that has within its boundaries an independent school system, from ad valorem taxes for municipal purposes in the amount of the difference between the current year assessed value of a home and the adjusted base year value, provided that the lowest base year value will be adjusted yearly by 2.6 percent?

Recommendation from Stacey Abrams and the Democratic Party of Georgia: Vote Yes.

  1. Allows for a property tax exemption on homes for the mentally disabled

How it will look on your ballot: Shall the Act be approved which provides an exemption from ad valorem taxes on nonprofit homes for the mentally disabled if they include business corporations in the ownership structure for financing purposes?

Recommendation from Stacey Abrams and the Democratic Party of Georgia: Vote Yes.

Fulton County Referenda

1. Vote to repeal the amendment that prohibits Fulton County from levying any taxes on industrial districts to fund education

How it will look on your ballot: Shall the Act be approved which repeals the amendment to the Constitution of Georgia creating within Fulton County the Fulton County Industrial District and prohibiting the governing authority of Fulton County from levying any tax for educational purposes within the boundaries of an independent school system?

Recommendation from Fulton County Dems: Vote Yes

2. Homestead exemption Ad Valorem Tax

How it will look on your ballot: Shall the Act be approved which provides a homestead exemption from Fulton County ad valorem taxes for county purposes in the amount of $50,000.00 of the assessed value of the homestead for residents of that county who are older than 65 years of age?

Recommendation from Fulton County Dems: None

3. Homestead Exemption Property Tax

How it will look on your ballotShall the Act be approved which provides a homestead exemption from Fulton County ad valorem taxes for county purposes in the amount of $50,000.00 of the assessed value of the homestead for residents of that county who are older than 65 years of age?

Recommendation from Fulton County Dems: None

You might also see city questions about taxes or Sunday Alcohol Sales. The Fulton County Dems recommend voting yes on all Sunday Alcohol Sales referenda.

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