Mon., September 6, 2010 2:24pm (EDT)

Car Tag Fee Would Benefit Ga. Trauma Care
By Susanna Capelouto
Updated: 4 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
A new car tag fee would generate about $80 million a year for trauma care in Georgia. (photo courtesy of Benjamin Elijah Griffin)
A new car tag fee would generate about $80 million a year for trauma care in Georgia. (photo courtesy of Benjamin Elijah Griffin)
This November voters will be asked to approve a $10 car tag fee for trauma care. There’s worry that the current political climate could derail what advocates say is a much needed cash infusion.

Statistics show that Georgians are 20 percent more likely to die from a traumatic injury than other Americans. That’s because state’s trauma care network is underdeveloped with only about 13 trauma centers.

Dr. Dennis Ashley with the Georgia Trauma Care Commission says, if approved by voters, a new car tag fee would bring about $80 million to the system.

”That would be marked just for trauma and the reason that would be important is that the death rate is so much higher than in other states," Ashely says.

But he says getting that approval this year could be a challenge. Ashley worries that current anti-tax sentiments could derail the vote.

"There is anti-government sentiment now and if this referendum came up 5 years ago there probably would not have been much of a campaign or education at all," Ashley says.

Ashley says because this is a constitutional amendment, the money can only be used for trauma care. The commission will start a media campaign later this month to advocate for the tag fee.