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Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - 6:49am

Ballot Amendments Explained

On November 2, Georgia voters will make decisions on five amendments to the state constitution and a referendum. The purpose of Amendents one, two, three, four, five and Referendum A are explained.

Amendment 1: Making non-compete agreements more binding
“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to make Georgia more economically competitive by authorizing legislation to uphold reasonable competitive agreements?”

Amendment 1 addresses contracts that some employees have to sign as a condition of being hired. This could affect worker-employee relations. They basically say that if a worker leaves his or her job, he or she cannot directly compete with his or her former employer.

More on Amendment One:
Ballot Question Addresses Business Contract  By: Orlando Montoya


Amendment 2: Providing funding for trauma centers
“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to impose an annual $10.00 trauma charge on certain passenger motor vehicles in this state for the purpose of funding trauma care?”

Amendment 2 would add a $10 fee to the annual car tag. The money would then be placed in a trust fund to help pay for Georgia’s trauma care network. Trauma care specializes in treating the most severe trauma cases such as head injuries resulting from car accidents.

More on Amendment 2:
Hospitals Push for Trauma Care Tax  By Noel Brown
Car Tag Fee Would Benefit Ga. Trauma Care  By: Susanna Capelouto
Ballot Questions Fuels $1 Million TV Ads  By: Orlando Montoya

Dozens Rally for Trauma Care  By: Melissa Stiers



Amendment 3: Change in transportation funding
“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to allow the Georgia Department of Transportation to enter into multiyear construction agreements without requiring appropriations in the current fiscal year for the total amount of payments that would be due under the entire agreement so as to reduce long-term construction costs paid by the state?”

Amendment 3 would let the DOT enter in multi-year obligations with limits set by the general assembly. This would allow the DOT to sign contracts on transportation projects before it has all the money for them upfront.

More on Amendment 3:
Voters to Decide on Transportation Funding  By: Melissa Stiers


Amendment 4: Allowing state multi-year contracts for water and energy efficiency

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide for guaranteed cost savings for the state by authorizing a state entity to enter into multiyear contracts which obligate state funds for energy efficiency or conservation improvement projects?”

Amendment 4 would make it easier for the state to upgrade its buildings so they can be more water and energy efficient by entering in multi-year contracts with companies. The state currently spends more than $200 million every year for utilities This amendment would allow for energy-efficient and water conservation projects that guarantee savings.

More on Amendment 4:
Amendment Targets Energy Savings  By: Melissa Stiers


Amendment 5: Allowing owners of industrial area property to get city services
“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to allow the owners of real property located in industrial areas to remove the property from the industrial area?”

Amendment 5 deals with the city annexation of small areas in just two counties. A group of property owners in unincorporated Chatham County want to be annexed into either Savannah or Garden City. This is a state matter because it deals with industrial areas, two of which were enshrined long ago in the state constitution.

More on Amendment 5:
Amendment 5 Affects Only a Handful of People  By: Orlando Montoya


Referendum A: Removing the state inventory tax on businesses
"Shall the Act be approved which grants an exemption from state ad valorem taxation for inventory of a business?"

Referendum A would get rid of the state inventory tax. The state collects about $2 million from the inventory tax every year. This referendum applies only to the state inventory tax. Local government could still tax inventories. Georgia is the only southeastern state with a state-wide inventory tax.

More on Referendum A:
Should Georgia Tax Businesses On Inventory?  By: Melissa Stiers