"Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize community redevelopment and authorize counties, municipalities, and local boards of education to use tax funds for redevelopment purposes and programs?"
This is a tough one.
Welcome to TAD land.
TADs are Tax Allocation Districts. The concept is local school districts allow funds raised through property tax, usually dedicated to education, to be used for infrastructure development. The theory is with these improvements overall property value will rise offsetting or even exceeding the original investment.
In Georgia, the Legislature passed law to allow TADs in 1985. Unfortunately, our good representatives on the hill were a little sloppy with the wording and when Atlanta's "Beltline TAD" was challenged in court last year, the Supremes gave it a 9-0 unconstitutional smackdown.
As the "Beltline" was not only the largest TAD ever proposed in the state of Georgia and theorized as the engine which could simultaneously make use of hundreds of acres of unused rail right of ways, spur development in needy areas and alleviate the city's choking transportation problem, the sudden stripping away of this common funding tool bordered on disastrous.
Amendment II is an effort to correct this constitutional mess.
Given the standards we set in the discussion of Amendment I, this may seem an easy call. TADS certainly seem to complicate the tax system.
The problem is TADs work.
The best example is Atlantic Station. At the time the largest reclamation of "brown space" in the nation, this TAD turned a toxic industrial site into a multi-use mixed development of bowling alleys, restaurants, condos and corporate offices. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the increase in property value in just 8 years was an astonishing 7,213%. Money flowed not only back into the always strapped Fulton County School system, but dramatic increase in sales tax revenue helped every municipality involved.
There are many more success stories on a much smaller scale. TADs have been an overwhelming success for over 20 years primarily because local school boards have been good stewards of money spent for your children. Just last year, the Dekalb County School District opted to not fund the potentially disastrous Sembler/Druid Hills redevelopment project.
Ultimately, Amendment II is where the rubber meets the road between principle and realism. So, you're going to get a little wiggle room on this one.
If you believe a stand has to be made for simplification in the tax code and the Constitution, Vote NO.
If you believe this is not an addition to a cluttered Constitution but a minor correction to preserve something that is a proven success, VOTE YES.
Next: Amendment III
To view amendments in their entirety please go here.