Referendum Questions on the November Ballot
This November, there will be three ballot questions put before Georgia voters: two Constitutional Amendments and one property tax referendum. All three ballot questions impact county governments.
Constitutional Amendment #1: Dedication of Trust Funds
Ballot Language: “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?”
House Resolution 164 established a constitutional amendment that will allow the Georgia General Assembly to establish, by statute, true and dedicated trust funds whereby fees collected for a specific purpose must go to that purpose.
Constitutional Amendment #2: Waiver of Sovereign Immunity for Certain Non-Monetary Claims
Ballot Language: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to waive sovereign immunity and allow the people of Georgia to petition the superior court for relief from governmental acts done outside the scope of lawful authority or which violate the laws of this state, the Constitution of Georgia, or the Constitution of the United States?"
House Resolution 1023 created a constitutional amendment that will waive state and local government sovereign immunity for non-monetary claims alleging that the government has violated the Constitution or state law or is otherwise acting beyond its authority. This waiver would apply to claims arising on or after January 1, 2021. Damages and attorney’s fees would not be available as a part of such lawsuits.
Property Tax Exemption: Habitat for Humanity Properties
Ballot language: “Shall the Act be approved which provides an exemption from ad valorem taxes for all real property owned by a purely public charity, if such charity is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code and such real property is held exclusively for the purpose of building or repairing single-family homes to be financed by such charity to individuals using loans that shall not bear interest?"
House Bill 344 would exempt from ad valorem property taxes those real estate parcels owned by non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable corporations and held exclusively for the purpose of building or repairing single-family homes, where such parcels are then to be financed with zero-percent interest loans from that charitable corporation to individuals. If the property ultimately is not transferred and financed via a zero-percent loan, all previously forgiven property taxes become due. The intent of this bill is to provide a property tax exemption for properties owned by Habitat for Humanity.