Remember that early voting runs this Sunday through Friday at the Chamblee Civic Center, Monday through Friday at Brookhaven City Hall, and Saturday through Friday at both the Sandy Springs Public Library and North Fulton Government Annex.
Click here for sample ballots, voter guides and more information about early voting.
This post is to provide you with additional information about this year’s ballot questions. The constitutional amendments include an opportunity to permanently cap the state income tax rate. Courtesy of our State Senator Fran Millar, here is a synopsis of each question:
Amendment A prohibits an increase in the state maximum income tax rate in effect as of January 1, 2015 (6 percent). North Carolina just lowered its rate to 5.75 percent. Many of us would like to see Georgia reduce or eliminate its income tax. A “yes” vote ensures that the legislature can’t increase this maximum.
Amendment B adds reckless driving penalties and fees to the brain and spinal injury trust fund. DUI fees already go to this fund. If this passes and someone gets a DUI reduced to reckless driving, then this money will also go to the brain and spinal injury trust fund.
Statewide Referendum 1 exempts private businesses that operate student housing or a student parking deck for the state university system from property taxes. Currently, if any part of a public-private partnership is for-profit, the non-profit exemption from property taxes does not apply. The goal of the referendum is to take the debt burden of student housing and parking facilities off the university system. To give private enterprise an incentive to operate these facilities and service the debt, they will get the same exemption from property taxes that the university system would enjoy. The university system still owns the property through a contractual arrangement with the operator. This is intended to give the university system a better bond rating and allow them to focus on educating students rather than repaying debt.
For Brookhaven voters, there’s one more question. This synopsis is not from Senator Millar:
The Brookhaven Redevelopment Powers referendum was requested by unanimous resolution of the Brookhaven City Council. A good summary of the mechanics and pros and cons of the redevelopment powers is published in a Q&A on the Georgia Municipal Association’s website.
Click here to read the Q&A.
Also, here is an excerpt from the minutes of the February 25, 2014 meeting of the Brookhaven City Council in which they unanimously requested the referendum. It gives context to their request:
“[City Manager Marie] Garrett provided an explanation of transmittal of the Legislative Package Resolution to Representative Mike Jacobs. She reported that the Resolution contained a request to introduce legislation to enable the City to operate under the Redevelopment Powers Law. She explained that said legislation would allow the City to identify stagnant or [blighted] areas with potential for redevelopment, and to designate those areas as tax allocation districts which would implement tax increment financing for new development. She reported that areas such as Buford Highway could meet the criteria for a tax allocation district and explained that any proposal would have to be approved by the citizens through a referendum. She explained that if said referendum was passed the Council would have to approve a redevelopment plan for a specific geographic area within the City.”