or Login to see your representatives.

Access Candidates' and Representatives' Biographies, Voting Records, Interest Group Ratings, Issue Positions, Public Statements, and Campaign Finances

Simply enter your zip code above to get to all of your candidates and representatives, or enter a name. Then, just click on the person you are interested in, and you can navigate to the categories of information we track for them.

Measure Details

To encourage the preservation of Georgia's forests through a conservation use property tax reduction program.

Georgia Ballot Measure - Amendment 1

Election: General Nov. 4, 2008 (General)
Outcome: Passed

Categories:
Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
Government Operations
Housing and Property
Environment

Summary

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the General Assembly by general law shall encourage the preservation, conservation, and protection of the state's forests through the special assessment and taxation of certain forest lands and assistance grants to local government?"

( ) YES ( ) NO

This proposal directs the General Assembly to provide for a new method of ad valorem tax assessment of forest land conservation use property. Such property will include only tracts of forest land which exceed 200 acres except where the General Assembly has provided by general law for exceptions to the 200 acre limit under certain circumstances. Subject to certain qualifications, an owner of such property will be able to enter into a covenant to restrict the use of the land to current use; and the land will then be taxed according to a formula based on current use, annual productivity, and real property sales data. A breach of the covenant will result in a government recapturing the tax savings and may result in other appropriate penalties.

The General Assembly is directed to appropriate funds to local government to partially offset any loss of local revenue.

The General Assembly has enacted a law to implement this constitutional amendment. This law will become effective only if the constitutional amendment is ratified by the voters. This law is 2008 HB 1211; Act No. 464, found at Ga. Laws 2008, p. 297.

A copy of this entire proposed constitutional amendment is on file in the office of the judge of the probate court and is available for public inspection.

Measure Text

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution so as to provide for the special assessment and taxation of forest land conservation use property; to provide for local government assistance grants; to provide for definitions, procedures, conditions, and limitations; to provide for the submission of this amendment for ratification or rejection; and for other purposes.

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1.
Article VII, Section I, Paragraph III of the Constitution is amended by revising subparagraph (a) as follows:
"(a) All taxes shall be levied and collected under general laws and for public purposes only. Except as otherwise provided in subparagraphs (b), (c), (d), and (e), and (f) of this Paragraph, all taxation shall be uniform upon the same class of subjects within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax."

SECTION 2.
Said Paragraph of the Constitution is further amended by revising subparagraph (f) as follows:
"(f)(1) The General Assembly shall provide by general law for the definition and methods of assessment and taxation, such methods to include a formula based on current use, annual productivity, and real property sales data, of 'forest land conservation use property' to include only forest land each tract of which exceeds 200 acres of a qualified owner. Such methods of assessment and taxation shall be subject to the following conditions:
(A) A qualified owner shall consist of any individual or individuals or any entity registered to do business in this state;
(B) A qualified owner desiring the benefit of such methods of assessment and taxation shall be required to enter into a covenant to continue the property in forest land use;
(C) All contiguous forest land conservation use property of an owner within a county for which forest land conservation use assessment is sought under this subparagraph shall be in a single covenant;
(D) A breach of such covenant within 15 years shall result in a recapture of the tax savings resulting from such methods of assessment and taxation and may result in other appropriate penalties; and
(E) The General Assembly may provide by general law for a limited exception to the 200 acre requirement in the case of a transfer of ownership of all or a part of the forest land conservation use property during a covenant period to another owner qualified to enter into an original forest land conservation use covenant if the original covenant is continued by both such acquiring owner and the transferor for the remainder of the term, in which event no breach of the covenant shall be deemed to have occurred even if the total size of a tract from which the transfer was made is reduced below 200 acres.
(2) No portion of an otherwise eligible tract of forest land conservation use property shall be entitled to receive simultaneously special assessment and taxation under this subparagraph and either subparagraph (c) or (e) of this Paragraph.
(3)(A) The General Assembly shall appropriate an amount for assistance grants to counties, municipalities, and county and independent school districts to offset revenue loss attributable to the implementation of this subparagraph. Such grants shall be made in such manner and shall be subject to such procedures as may be specified by general law.
(B) If the forest land conservation use property is located in a county, municipality, or county or independent school district where forest land conservation use value causes an ad valorem tax revenue reduction of 3 percent or less due to the implementation of this subparagraph, in each taxable year in which such reduction occurs, the assistance grants to the county, each municipality located therein, and the county or independent school districts located therein shall be in an amount equal to 50 percent of the amount of such reduction.
(C) If the forest land conservation use property is located in a county, municipality, or county or independent school district where forest land conservation use value causes an ad valorem tax revenue reduction of more than 3 percent due to the implementation of this subparagraph, in each taxable year in which such reduction occurs, the assistance grants to the county, each municipality located therein, and the county or independent school districts located therein shall be as follows:
(i) For the first 3 percent of such reduction amount, in an amount equal to 50 percent of the amount of such reduction; and
(ii) For the remainder of such reduction amount, in an amount equal to 100 percent of the amount of such remaining reduction amount.
(4) Such revenue reduction shall be calculated by utilizing forest land fair market value. For purposes of this subparagraph, forest land fair market value means the 2008 fair market value of the forest land. Such 2008 valuation may increase from one taxable year to the next by a rate equal to the percentage change in the price index for gross output of state and local government from the prior year to the current year as defined by the National Income and Product Accounts and determined by the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis and indicated by the Price Index for Government Consumption Expenditures and General Government Gross Output (Table 3.10.4). Such revenue reduction shall be determined by subtracting the aggregate forest land conservation use value of qualified properties from the aggregate forest land fair market value of qualified properties for the applicable tax year and the resulting amount shall be multiplied by the millage rate of the county, municipality, or county or independent school district.
(5) For purposes of this subparagraph, the forest land conservation use value shall not include the value of the standing timber located on forest land conservation use property.
(g) The General Assembly may provide for a different method and time of returns, assessments, payment, and collection of ad valorem taxes of public utilities, but not on a greater assessed percentage of value or at a higher rate of taxation than other properties, except that property provided for in subparagraph (c), (d), or (e), or (f) of this Paragraph."

SECTION 3.
The above proposed amendment to the Constitution shall be published and submitted as provided in Article X, Section I, Paragraph II of the Constitution. The ballot submitting the above proposed amendment shall have written or printed thereon the following:

( ) YES
( ) NO

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the General Assembly by general law shall encourage the preservation, conservation, and protection of the state´s forests through the special assessment and taxation of certain forest lands and assistance grants to local government?"
All persons desiring to vote in favor of ratifying the proposed amendment shall vote "Yes." All persons desiring to vote against ratifying the proposed amendment shall vote "No." If such amendment shall be ratified as provided in said Paragraph of the Constitution, it shall become a part of the Constitution of this state.

Back to top