The November 6 election welcomed new environmental stewards into the legislature as well as the approval of two state constitutional amendments that will benefit Georgia’s conservation efforts.
The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act (Amendment 1), overwhelmingly approved by voters, will allow a portion of existing sales tax on outdoor sporting goods to support the protection of the state’s land, water, and wildlife with no new taxes or fees. This new amendment will dedicate over $20 million each year to approved conservation efforts.
Second, the Georgia Fair Forest Tax (Amendment 3) will fix the lack of uniformity of county tax assessments on forest land. Forestry in Georgia accounts for 35 billion dollars in annual economic impact1 and continued success within the industry is important for conservation efforts.
The November ballot also left several seats undecided and headed to a runoff. On December 4th, Georgian’s will go back to the polls to cast their vote for Secretary of State and Public Service Commissioner (District 3). We cover the Public Service Commissioner races closely due to their implications concerning the nuclear power plant, Plant Vogtle.
Additionally, State Rep. Dan Gasaway from house district 28 will have a re-do election on the same day as the state runoff after election officials assigned voters to the wrong district in north Georgia. Gasaway received 63% on our Environmental Score Card and has been an advocate for the environment during his tenure in the state house.
(1) Georgia Forestry Commission. (2016). Economic Benefits of the Forest Industry in Georgia: 2016. Web; accessed: February 2018.