GEORGIA OUTDOOR STEWARDSHIP ACT
"Creates the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund to protect water quality, wildlife, and parks."
The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act (GOSA) calls for a referendum on a constitutional amendment that would dedicate a portion of existing state sales and use tax on outdoor recreation equipment to establish a new conservation trust fund.
The GOSA dedicates to the trust a portion of existing sales tax collected from the sale of outdoor sporting goods. It also sunsets after 10 years, but could be extended by the legislature without having to seek further approval from voters.
The fund invests into three different initiatives: to acquire new public land that has been prioritized by the State’s Wildlife Action Plan; to support the stewardship of existing state land; and to provide grants for approved purposes to local communities.
AMENDMENT 2: STATEWIDE BUSINESS COURT
"Creates a state-wide business court to lower costs, enhance efficiency, and promote predictable judicial outcomes."
A statewide business court promotes faster and more cost efficient resolution of complex business to business cases, and makes Georgia a more attractive and competitive state.
Business courts offer the distinct advantages of a specialized court: certainty and predictability of outcomes, efficient dispute resolution, consistent case management, and lower costs.
The court will be modeled after the successful North Carolina Business Court and Metro Atlanta Business Court, which is currently limited to certain cases pending in Fulton and Gwinnett Counties only. It is important to expand the business court to the entire state to give parties outside the Metro Atlanta area an equal opportunity to have their complex cases resolved quickly and efficiently.
THE FAIR FOREST TAX
"Encourages the conservation, sustainability, and longevity of Georgia's working forests through tax subclassification and grants."
The Fair Forest Tax establishes a new class of land that is assessed at fair market value as determined by the Department of Revenue rather than the tremendous variability private landowners currently deal with across 159 counties. Accuracy in valuations is of critical importance to timberland owners.
Additionally, it provides more options for 4.7 million acres of forestland that are currently not in any program, to enroll in conservation use tax programs and seek relief from the highest timberland ad valorem tax rates in the Southeastern USA.
Lastly, this tax preserves the local assistance grants to counties by updating a formula in the current legislation that ensures counties are accurately compensated for the majority of the lost revenue from the Forestland Protection Act. This is critical to maintain funding for schools and county governments in our most rural communities.