Georgia legislature refers constitutional amendment to 2020 ballot concerning dedication of tax and fee revenue

The Georgia Legislature voted on Monday to send House Joint Resolution 164 to the November 2020 ballot for voter consideration. The measure would authorize the Georgia Legislature to dedicate certain tax or fee revenue to the public purpose for which the taxes or fees were imposed.

For example, the measure would allow revenues resulting from taxes or fees regarding hazardous wastes to be dedicated to the “investigation, detoxification, removal, and disposal of any hazardous wastes, hazardous constituents, or hazardous substances at sites where corrective action is necessary to mitigate a present or future danger to human health or the environment.”

The Augusta Chronicle reported that dedicating state funds such as Georgia’s Solid Waste and Hazardous Waste trust funds to their intended use was a priority of the amendment’s sponsor, Jay Powell (R), who passed away in November 2019.

Rep. Andrew Welch (R) said, “It would bring a level of accountability to these fees and truth in taxation back to the dedication of these fees.”

This amendment was introduced as House Resolution 164 on February 7, 2019, by Rep. Jay Powell (R-171). On February 20, 2019, the state House passed HR 164 by a vote of 169-1 with ten Representatives excused or not voting. The single no vote came from Republican Representative Matt Gurtler. The amendment was passed in the Senate as a substitute on March 25, 2019, by a vote of 52-0 with four excused.

On March 3, 2020, the House amended and passed the measure by a vote of 164-4 with 12 not voting. The Senate agreed to the House’s amendments and passed the bill on March 9, 2020, certifying it for the November 2020 ballot.

From 1996 to 2018, 81 measures have been on the ballot in Georgia, of which, 84% (68 of 81) were approved and 16% (13 of 81) were defeated.

Additional Reading:
Georgia 2020 ballot measures