Tag Archives: trust fund

Victory on Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1, and more voting for clean water

Voters in every county in Georgia approved Amendment 1, to dedicate state fees and taxes to their stated purposes. The statewide victory was 81.6%.

There is more work to do, to get the legislature to use this new law to stop taxes from being diverted to the general fund, so for example counties and cities can get more grants for tire amnesties. But now the mechanism is available.

That wasn’t the only good referendum news, and there is more voting for clean water to do.

[Victory: 82%]
Victory: 82%
Special thanks to the Suwannee River Basin cities of Adel, Hahira, and Valdosta, Atkinson, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties, for passing resolutions in support.
See also previous blog post.

The other good clean water news is that Amendment 2 passed with 74.5% Yes, also passing in every county. That’s HR 1023: people may petition for declaratory relief from certain acts of this state or certain local governments or officers or employees.

Dave Williams, Capitol Beat News Service, 4 November 2020, Georgia voters pass three ballot questions by wide margins,

The sovereign immunity amendment stems from a 2014 Georgia Supreme Court decision that essentially granted the state blanket immunity from citizen lawsuits in a case brought by the Center for a Sustainable Coast. The group had filed suit alleging the state Department of Natural Resources was illegally allowing alterations to private property in fragile coastal wetland areas protected by state law.

So that’s two victories for clean water by the people of the state of Georgia.

As everyone probably knows, there are Georgia runoff elections on January 5, 2021, with the usual early voting and absentee ballots. Both Georgia U.S. Senate seats are in the runoff.

A Public Service Commission runoff that was scheduled earlier will also be on January 5, 2021. WWALS has long advocated for GA-PSC to make responsible decisions on power plants and pipelines that affect all our waters, from water levels to coal ash to mercury.

Once again, we urge you to vote for clean water.

As an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, WWALS cannot Continue reading

Please vote Yes on Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1: dedicate fees to their stated purpose

Update 2020-10-07: On Steve Nichols radio show, with video.

Don’t you think taxes and fees charged by a state should go to the purposes the state said they would? Well, in Georgia, many such funds have been mostly diverted to the general fund, and then who knows where. You can vote in this election to stop that: vote Yes on Amendment 1.

[Six cities and counties for Amendment 1]
Six cities and counties for Amendment 1: Adel, Hahira, and Valdosta, Atkinson, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties.

For example, the state of Georgia charges a fee on every tire sold, with funds supposed to go to cleaning up old tires and other waste management. Yet more than $50 million of those funds have been diverted to other purposes. It’s not just tires. Other examples of diverted funds include ones for indigent defense and judicial programs, peace officer training, and teen driver training.

There is no organized opposition to Amendment 1. Pretty much the only opposition stated during passage of the authorizing bill was about being able to use funds during an emergency. The bill explicitly allows that. The bill passed the Georgia Senate unanimously and the House with only one vote against.

Organized support for Amendment 1 includes six cities and counties in the Suwannee River Basin: the cities of Hahira, Valdosta, Adel, and Atkinson, Lanier, and Lowndes Counties, each of which passed a resolution in January 2019 in support of the bill that authorized putting Amendment 1 on the ballot for 2020. Also, the Valdosta Daily Times supported it in an editorial. WWALS supports Amendment 1, as do, so far as we know, all the Riverkeepers of Georgia.

Amendment 1 on the ballot

This is how Amendment 1 appears on the ballot:

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to dedicate revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were intended?

( ) YES

( ) NO

Please vote YES.

Addition to Georgia law

Below is the text that Amendment 1, when approved, will add to subparagraph (r)(1) to paragraph VI in section 9 of Article III of the Georgia state constitution: Continue reading

Stop Georgia from mis-using tax funds: HR 164 for vote Thursday 2020-03-05

This would be fraud if a business did it.

Much of Georgia taxes on new tires or trash dumping are supposed to be dedicated to collecting tires, handling hazardous waste, and the like. Unfortunately, about 40% of such tax collections get diverted to the Georgia General Fund, and from there to who knows where, while tires and trash collect in our rivers. That’s over $200 million dollars of your tax money misused to date.

stop the lies: pass HR 164

This year we can get this passed, even though original sponsor Jay Powell is deceased. HR 164: dedication of revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were imposed; authorize. This resolution would authorize a constitutional amendment referendum to give the General Assembly the authority to dedicate fees while providing flexibility to the budget in the event of a downturn or recession.

To send email to your Georgia State Senator and the Lt. Governor of Georgia asking them to support HR 164, here’s Continue reading

Water amendments passed 2018-11-06

The obvious water constitutional amendments passed resoundingly in both Florida and Georgia.

FL 9 and GA 1, Water Amendments

By well more than the required 60%, Continue reading

Georgia and Florida Constitutional Amendments 2018-11-06

Two Georgia state constitutional amendments are relevant to clean water, of those on the ballot tomorrow in the November 6, 2018, General Election. And in Florida, vote Yes on Florida Amendment 9, to ban offshore oil and gas drilling.

In Georgia I recommend:

  • Yes on 1, the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment
  • No on 2, appointing instead of electing some judges

Below is why.

Yes on GA 1, Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment

Yes on GA 1

For the title, summary, and detailed constitutional changes, see Continue reading

Biggest city in Suwannee River Basin passed resolution for dedicated state fees @ VCC 2018-01-25

Hear it from the Mayor, Acting City Manager, and Council of Valdosta, Georgia, and just in time for them and the Lowndes County Chairman, Manager, and Commissioners to attend their annual Bird Supper in Atlanta to discuss it with state legislators: fees collected by the state of Georgia should be dedicated to the purposes for which they were collected. Below are LAKE videos are from the Valdosta City Council, Thursday, January 25, 2018, including a few words I said about which local governments already passed this resolution.

Lowndes County Chairman speaks for stopping state fee diversions 2018-01-22

The Lowndes County Commission votes tonight, 5:30 PM, on a resolution Chairman Bill Slaughter put on the agenda yesterday morning in support of stopping diversion of state fees, just after a report about a tire amnesty that was apparently funded by the Georgia Solid Waste Trust Fund, which has had fees diverted upwards of $50 million. Valdosta and Hahira also have that resolution on their agendas, after Lanier County, Adel, and Atkinson County passed it recently. If you can attend one of these meetings and thank these elected officials for doing this, I’m sure they would appreciate it.


      Chairmanr: Add to agenda resolution supporting GA  H.R. 158

Video. Chairman Bill Slaughter said Continue reading

Atkinson County passes resolution against Georgia state fee diversions 2018-01-18

Chairman Lace Futch had a few words about my grandfather and a few questions, then he asked me to read the BE IT RESOLVED part to the Atkinson County Commissioners. They voted unanimously for the resolution to ask the Georgia state legislature to stop diversion of state fees, Thursday January 18, 2018. WWALS Board Member and Atkinson County resident Shirley Kokidko had asked for it to be on the agenda, and she thanked the Commissioners at the end of the meeting for passing it.

See also the resolutions previously passed by Lanier County 2018-01-08 and the City of Adel 2018-01-16.

Reading, Commission
Photo: Atkinson County Commission by John S. Quarterman for WWALS 2018-01-18.

Text of the Resolution

Continue reading

City of Adel passed resolution against state fee diversions 2018-01-16

The City of Adel passed a city resolution in support of Georgia House Resolution 158, “a measure allowing the Georgia General Assembly to dedicate fee collections for their statutorily designated programs,” this Tuesday, January 16, 2018. That’s the second in the Suwannee River Basin, after Lanier County. The more of these urging resolutions that get passed, the more likely the legislature will act to schedule a Georgia Constitutional Amendment to stop many millions of dollars of diversions of state fees from their intended purposes.

Mayor, Council, Staff, Meeting
Photo: Adel City Council in their December 4, 2018 meeting, by John S. Quarterman for WWALS.

Text of the Resolution

Continue reading

Resolution against state fee diversions discussed at Valdosta City Council 2018-01-11

For our waters, last Thursday, Valdosta City Council Tim Carroll recommended (Video) a resolution in support of a resolution in the Georgia state legislature to stop state fee diversions.


      12. Council Comments - Tim Carroll
Video by Gretchen Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE) at Valdosta City Council, Thursday, January 11, 2018.

Newly elected Mayor Pro Tem Sandra Tooley wanted to know whether Continue reading