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2014 Proposed Constitutional Amendments And Ballot Questions

Amendment 1: Prohibits the legislature from increasing the state income tax above 6%
Ballout Question: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to prohibit the General
Assembly from increasing the maximum state income tax rate?
Summary: Georgia currently has a 6% state income tax rate for all income over $7,000,
which creates a flat income tax for the majority of tax payers in the state. If passed, the
amendment would prohibit the legislature from increasing the income tax without passing
a subsequent constitutional amendment.
Pro: Georgia has not substantially reformed its income tax structure since the 1930s and
this amendment would make it much harder for future legislatures to do so. Proponents argue that this cap would stop any future tax increases because the legislative barrier would
be very difficult to overcome: (1) a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate and (2) a
majority vote by the citizens of Georgia. By creating such a hurdle, Georgians would be
guaranteed a continuation of the existing tax rate. Proponents also argue that it increases
business competitiveness.
Con: This amendment eliminates the flexibility of adjusting income tax rates to reflect
fiscal challenges or to address structural inequities. It also harms the ability of the state
to pursue more progressive tax policy that can address income inequality. The cap also
signals intent to pursue an increase in the sales tax, which would have harmful tax implications for more than 80% of Georgians. Lastly, empirical evidence shows no direct
correlation between income tax cuts and business competitiveness.
Stacey’s Position: I opposed the legislation and will vote NO on Amendment 1.

Amendment 2: Adding reckless driving penalties or fees to the brain and spinal injury
trust fund
Ballot Question: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow additional reckless driving penalties or fees to be added to the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund to pay
for care and rehabilitative services for Georgia citizens who have survived neurotrauma
with head or spinal cord injuries?
Summary: Amendment 2 will allow the addition of penalties to reckless driving charges
with the funding directed to the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund.
Pro: This funding will increase the available dollars for health care and rehabilitative services for those who have experienced neurotrama.
Con: The addition of penalties and fees will increase court fees paid by defendants who
may not have the ability to pay.
Stacey’s Position: I voted in favor of the amendment and will vote YES on Amendment 2.

Referendum 1: Allows property owned by the University System of Georgia and operated
by providers of student housing and other facilities to remain exempt from taxation
Ballot Question: Shall property owned by the University System of Georgia and utilized
by providers of college and university student housing and other facilities continue to be
exempt from taxation to keep costs affordable? Summary: Amendment 3 will allow the
University System of Georgia to privatize student housing and related facilities. More
importantly, those private companies would receive the same tax treatment as the state:
construction costs would be tax-exempt.

Pro: The current system of construction costs for student housing and facilities relies on
heavy bond indebtedness by the University System or the schools themselves. By privatizing this function, the system can engage professional companies to perform construction
and maintenance, while held to cost controls required by contract with the entities.
Con: Privatization of these functions could eventually cost students more; and granting
tax exempt status to private activities drains state revenue. Smaller, less well-financed
schools can often not afford the costs associated with dorm construction and maintenance,
and campuses that need refurbishment must balance those costs against competing needs.
By allowing for privatization with tax exemption, the University System can offer incentives for construction and maintenance on a broader range of campuses, and the private
builders assume the risks. The legislation package included provisions to protect against
gouging students and the system retains ownership of the land and improvements.
Stacey’s Position: I voted in favor of the amendment and will vote YES on Amendment 3.



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