On the Ballot: Amendment 1, dedicated state revenue

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ATLANTA (WRBL) – Coming up alongside the November 2020 presidential election and races for state and federal offices, Georgia has three other measures on the ballot.

Georgians will vote yes or no on two proposed constitutional amendments and one statewide referendum.

House Resolution 164, also called Amendment 1, is the first of two proposed constitutional amendments and one referendum on the ballot.

House Resolution 164/Act No. 597:

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to dedicate revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were intended?

Ballot description for HR 164

Amendment 1, which has nearly unanimous bipartisan support, will authorize the legislature to dedicate specific fees and taxes to their intended purposes. Historically, the General Assembly has created new ways to draw in revenue through taxes and fees, but the money hasn’t always gone to its stated needs.

If passed, the Georgia Constitution would be amended, and the General Assembly would be able to direct where fee and tax revenues go, and ensure they fund the intended purposes they are being collected for.

Additionally, if passed, state lawmakers will be able to require state agencies to provide annual reports on how the revenues are used and on what expenses, the fees collected could be collected for up to 10 years, once the new session starts. To do this, the General Assembly would have to pass a new law establishing this process.

The non-profit organization Association County Commissioners of Georgia says that since 2009, more than 60 percent of the fees collected for the Hazardous Waste Trust Fund and the Solid Waste Trust Fund have been redirected to the state’s General Fund.

“Voters would be granting the authority to the Georgia General Assembly to Voters are granting authority to the Georgia General Assembly to dedicate (appropriate) fees for their intended purpose. Seems too straight forward, right? But its not,” says Kathleen Bowen, Associate Legislative Director for the ACCG.

Amendment 1 also says that the legislature would have control of up to one percent of the state’s revenue, with lawmakers able to directly dedicate a fee or tax revenue to its intended purpose on a 10-year collection.

If Amendment 1 passes, it’ll be the first step in “putting the trust in trust funds,” according to the ACCG. It’s a point they’ve made for the last 10 years.

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