Voters approve three ballot issues, including income tax cap

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By large majorities, Georgia voters approved three issues that were listed on the general election ballot.

A constitutional amendments to put a permanent cap of 6 percent on the state income tax rate was passed by just under 74 percent of the voters.

Georgia’s top income tax rate has been 6 percent for nearly 60 years, with no serious proposals to raise it in recent years.

“Georgia is now the only state in the Southeast that constitutionally caps its maximum income tax rate,” said state Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth), who sponsored the constitutional amendment in the Senate.

“Our constitutional promise of low taxes will encourage new businesses to locate here and existing businesses to expand,” Shafer contended.

Another constitutional amendment will channel revenues generated by reckless driving penalties or fees to the state’s Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund to help pay for rehabilitative services for people who’ve suffered serious head and spinal cord injuries.

The state constitution allows additional fines for DUI offenses to be diverted to the trust fund, but DUI offenses are often reduced to reckless driving charges, which means there is less money for the fund.

The amendment, which was approved by 69.8 percent of the voters, authorizes judges to assess an additional 10 percent of the fine imposed under the reckless driving offense for payment to the trust fund.

A statewide referendum issue, which 73.6 percent of the voters passed, will make it easier for the Board of Regents to privatize the operations of dormitories and other campus facilities so that the University System can deal with about $4 billion in bonded debt from the construction of those buildings.

These college buildings currently are exempt from ad valorem property taxes. The referendum allows the University System to transfer this tax exempt status to the real estate management firm that’s selected to operate these campus facilities.

© 2014 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: ballot issues , constitutional amendment , David Shafer , income tax cap