Monday the Lowndes County Chairman spoke for it, Tuesday the Lowndes County Manager spoke for it, and then they passed it: a resolution to stop the Georgia legislature from diverting funds collected by state fees. This was the fourth such local resolution in the Suwannee River Basin in Georgia. Thursday Valdosta also passed it (video to come) and more after that.
Video. County Manager Joe Pritchard said the resolution “really is supporting the concept of maintaining the purpose of funds and fees that are allocated by the General Assembly. It has often been; it often has happened, that the General Assembly has diverted some of those funds for other purposes. This legislation proposes a constitutional amendent that will prevent that.”
Commissioner Demarcus Marshall made the motion, Commmissioner Scottie Orenstein seconded, and all voted in favor.
Here’s the video:
Biggest county in Suwannee River Basin passes resolution against Georgia state fee diversions 2018-01-23
Videos: Approved resolution against state fee diversion, economic strategy, road abandonment
Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, January 23, 2018.
Thomas Lynn, Valdosta Daily Times, January 24, 2018, County supports ending fee diversion,
VALDOSTA — The Lowndes County Commission approved a resolution supporting House Resolution 158 to stop diversion of state fees.
At its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, the commission voted unanimously to support the Statehouse’s resolution that would help revenues derived from fees and taxes go into the appropriate funds.
There are more than 500 Georgia municipalities, businesses and residents that submit millions of dollars in fees and payments annually to the state, documents state.
Many of the fees were created to aid local governments in implementing various programs such as hazardous-waste cleanups, clean-community programs, indigent defense and judicial programs, peace officer training and teen-driver training.
However, the State of Georgia has been significantly redirecting the fees to fund unrelated portions of the state budget, according to the county. Without funding from the fees, many local governments often have to raise taxes to fund the programs designed to keep residents healthy and safe.
HR-158 is currently in review by the House Ways and Means Committee.
If the General Assembly adopts a resolution on the issue during the 2018 legislative session, a constitutional amendment could be put before the voters in November.
HR 158 was voted out of the Ways and Means Committee onto the floor of the House yesterday, Friday January 26, 2018.
This resolution has now been passed by:
This resolution in support of Georgia HR 158 to stop diversion of state fees has already been passed by:
- Lanier County 2018-01-08,
- City of Adel 2018-01-16,
- Atkinson County 2018-01-18.
- Lowndes County 2018-01-23
- Valdosta 2018-01-25 (video to come)
It’s on the agenda for Hahira next week, and maybe another.
-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.