Can you trust the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund Amendment?
Published 5:25 pm Friday, November 2, 2018
The upcoming 2018 election in the state of Georgia has been the limelight for two candidates which are neck-and-neck, fighting for the spot of Georgia governor, and both of which are extremely qualified to do so, regardless of party affiliation.
While most of this spotlight is focused on the governor’s race between Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams, it is extremely important to call attention to the five proposed amendments that have been brought forth within the state of Georgia for various issues to solve potential financial or social issues.
For this article, we will focus on the first amendment, which is a very intriguing proposal. This proposed amendment’s main goal if created would be to create the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund to protect water quality, wildlife habitat, and state and national parks. This bill is based on House Resolution Number 238, Resolution Act Number 414, and is concerned with Georgia Legislation pg. 1138. It is important to understand how this question will be worded on the ballot, so that we know how to analyze the positives and negatives of this amendment if passed.
It is stated “Without increasing the current state sales tax rate, shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to create the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund to conserve lands that protect drinking water sources and the water Quality of rivers, lakes, and streams; to protect and conserve forests, fish, wildlife, habitats, and state and local parks; and to provide opportunities for our children and families to play and enjoy the outdoors, by dedicating, subject to full public disclosure, up to 80 percent of the existing sales tax collected by sporting goods stores to such purposes without increasing the current state sales tax rate (GA Ballot).”
Essentially, this amendment would take a certain percentage of tax dollars that are spent upon sporting goods items such as fishing poles and binoculars, and use that money to maintain and better develop Georgia’s natural resources. This allows that those resources can be used more effectively as well as the natural preservation of important areas, but would be taking money that could be used for other departments in the state of Georgia.
JOHN MITCHELL BENTON, ROBERT ALLEN and DAVID APAIG
Political Science, LaGrange College