Tue., October 11, 2011 2:47pm (EDT)

State Diverts Millions In Fees
By Melissa Stiers
Updated: 3 years ago

Atlanta  —  
(photo by Juan Barahona via flickr)
(photo by Juan Barahona via flickr)
Millions of dollars in fees paid to the state aren’t going toward their intended purpose,according to a group advocating for local governments.

Georgians pay fees on tires for landfill clean up and court fees for indigent defense.

But Debra Nesbitt with the Association for County Commissioners of Georgia says the state has diverted millions of those dollars to fill state budget holes during the recession.

"Right now that is buried within this huge state budget process," says Nesbitt, "and when legislators, the majority of them, when they go to vote on the budget, they have no idea that those funds have been redirected."

Nesbitt says her group is crafting legislation to make all fees go to their designated purpose.

Lawmakers have shown concern over the issue. They passed a law last year making a 2007 fee on pre-paid cell phones finally fund a grant to improve rural 911 service as originally intended. Nesbitt says the state has misdirected 28 million dollars on that fee alone.