This November voters will be asked to support a ten dollar surcharge on their car tag fee to support trauma care in Georgia. But it remains to be determined who will control the money should it get approval at the ballot box.
The tag fee would raise about $80 million dollars a year. The amendment spells out that the money will go to the Trauma Care Trust Fund, which is currently controlled by the Georgia Trauma Care Commission.
But on the last day of the session, lawmakers added language that gives them the power to oversee the trauma spending by adding the sentence "The General Assembly shall provide for the operation of such trust fund and shall specify the trauma care purposes for which such funds are to be expended."
The move doesn't yet worry Kevin Bloye with the Georgia Hospital Association. He says at least the money is dedicated to trauma care.
“What we’re encouraged about is that the dollars will definitely remain in the trauma system," he says. "But yeah there will be some work to do once the amendment is passed on how to delegate that money within the system.”
Blye says his association will mount a massive campaign effort prior to the November vote.
The hospital association has lobbied for 4 years to get a dedicated source of money to expand Georgia’s trauma care network. There are currently only 4 level one trauma centers in the state, and none South of Macon.