Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill earlier this month regarding how the state allocates funds to clean up tire dumps and hazardous waste sites. But he has no intention of abiding by parts of the law he signed.
Under a bill passed last week, state lawmakers won’t be able to divert hazardous and solid waste trust fund fees to other parts of the budget. The measure caused a last-minute battle between legislators in the waning moments of the legislative session, but backers say Georgians will now be getting what they paid for.
State Senators have weakened a bill that would require the state to spend fees on their intended purposes. The original version would have forced the state to cut the tire fee and other fees according to how much lawmakers appropriated for the purpose in the previous year.
A proposed bill would prevent the state from redirecting fees collected for specific purposes to other budget areas. Lawmakers have drafted similar bills before. But this measure wouldn’t require a constitutional amendment, so it’s likelier to pass.
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.
Hikers visiting Georgia's wildlife management areas must pay new fees starting next year. The board of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources voted unanimously Wednesday to charge visitors $3.50 for a three-day pass to wildlife management areas and fishing grounds or $19 for an annual pass. That's the same fee that hunters and fishermen pay.
Cities and counties are losing millions in fees intended to boost 911 call centers. Now, there's a legislative push to get that money back into local coffers. At issue are fees from sales of prepaid cell phones and packages of minutes bought to restock those phones. The extra $1.50 charge is supposed to go to technology upgrades for emergency call centers. But in recent years, money from those fees has gone into the state’s general fund during tough budget times.
State lawmakers expected new fees to generate millions more dollars than they're actually generating. Lawmakers expected an extra $200 paid by the state's worst speed violators to bring in $23 million. It's actually bringing in about $10 million.
The state has collected millions of dollars over the years in fees that aren’t going toward their original purpose. Local officials say if lawmakers continue to divert fees to other purposed they shouldn’t pass any more of them.