When you pay a state fee, be it for a license plate or for use of a landfill, chances are much of it is being diverted to some unrelated purpose. The Lanier County Commission today passed a resolution urging the Georgia legislature to dedicate state fees to their statutorily-designated programs.
Lanier County Commissioners Paul Brockington (District 1), Susan Bowling (District 3), Harold Simpson (District 2), Dennis Fender (District 4), and Alex Lee (Chairman). Neil Ginty (County Administrator) in pink shirt.
The Commissioners’ only question after I briefly spoke was to the County Administrator as to whether the county attorney had reviewed this resolution: she had. Thanks to Commissioner Harold Simpson for the motion, Commissioner Susan Bowling for the second, to all the Commissioners for voting for it, to County Administrator Neil Ginty for scheduling it, and to WWALS member April Huntley for asking for it to be on the agenda.
See also the Resolution supporting the Alapaha River Water Trail they passed today.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!
When we get a signed copy we will post it. Meanwhile, here is the text; see also PDF.
A RESOLUTION OF THE ______________________, IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA, REQUESTING THE PASSAGE OF HR 158 (SPONSORED BY REP. JAY POWELL, R-CAMILLA), A MEASURE ALLOWING THE GEORGIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO DEDICATE FEE COLLECTIONS FOR THEIR STATUTORILY DESIGNATED PROGRAMS
WHEREAS in many cases these fees were created to aid local governments in implementing programs such as hazardous waste cleanups, clean community programs, indigent defense and judicial programs, peace officer training, and teen driver training; and
WHEREAS the state government significantly redirects these fees to fund unrelated portions of the state budget; and
WHEREAS without funding from these fees, local governments often must raise taxes to fund programs designed to keep their citizens healthy and safe; and
WHEREAS regarding the Hazardous Waste Trust Fund and Solid Waste Trust Fund, nearly 40 percent of the $469 million collected since 1993 has been diverted from its designated purposes; and
WHEREAS in the case of the teen driving program known as Joshua’s Law, which generates between $3-$10 million annually, only about $8 million has been used to fund teen driver programs since the program’s creation in 2005; and
WHEREAS with respect to the Peace Officer & Prosecutors Training Fund that generates an estimated $27 million annually, an estimated $70 million was redirected to fund unrelated portions of the state budget between 1987 and 2009; and
WHEREAS because of these diversions of fees, tire dumps and hazardous waste sites remain untouched, teen drivers have inadequate guidance, and peace officers cannot get funding for additional and necessary training programs; and
WHEREAS these diversions of fees are therefore detrimental to the health, safety, and welfare of our citizens; and
WHEREAS the Georgia Municipal Association and the Association County Commissioners of Georgia support legislation to end the practice of these fee collections becoming de facto taxes.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE ______________, IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA, AS FOLLOWS:
that the ________________ supports legislative efforts to address this ongoing funding problem for local governments by adopting a constitutional amendment authorizing the General Assembly to establish dedicated trust funds.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Georgia General Assembly should adopt a resolution on this issue, such as HR 158, during the 2018 legislative session so that a
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Governor of the State of Georgia should sign and approve such constitutional amendment resolution.
ADOPTED by the ________________, in the State of Georgia, this _________ day of _______ 2018.
Upon adoption of this resolution, copies of the full resolution shall be mailed or electronically submitted to the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the local legislative delegation.