2nd Statewide Ballot Question Overlooked

9:35 AM, Oct 16, 2012   |    comments
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11 Alive News

ATLANTA -- There are two proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot November 6th in Georgia. The first on charter schools has gotten a lot of attention, but that second one has been mostly overlooked.

On your ballot, it's listed as the second amendment and will read "allows the state to save taxpayer funds through multi-year real estate rental agreements." It's based on a senate bill proposed by a group of Republicans, but passed a vote overwhelmingly in both parties.

Currently, the Georgia Constitution will not allow a current General Assembly to financially find any future General Assembly. This new constitutional amendment would allow for some exceptions.

To read the text of the amendment, click here.

This law would allow some state agencies to enter into long-term rental agreements without obligating present funds. The plus for taxpayers is longer agreements generally come at a better price. But it's making a financial commitment without knowing what future state budgets will include. It's one reason the proposed amendment came out of negotiation with an added rule: "any such agreement shall provide for the termination of the agreement in the event of insufficient funds."

The State Properties Commission said they've crunched the numbers. They currently have 1,800 leases. 

Not every one of them would enter a multi-year lease. But if the amendment passes, they estimate it would save taxpayers $66 million over the next 10 years.

State property officer Steve Stencil tells 11Alive news there was no real debate over the proposal. Both houses passed it with overwhelming bipartisan report. He also said because the amendment hasn't generated much buzz, voters may not know what it is and vote against it.
State amendments must gain a majority of voter support to become law. Once it passes, the governor cannot veto that decision.

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