Constitutional Amendments should be rare. When there is an amendment, voters should know the issue thoroughly so they can cast an informed vote. More often than not, issues are not well publicized and debated before the voter is faced with a particular decision for the first time in the voting booth. I have a personal commitment to vote "NO" if I do not know what I am voting for.
I have read each of five full resolutions for the amendments (on Tuesday's ballot), including one lengthy explanation by a high-ranking legislator advocating its passage. I do not agree any of these constitutional amendments are improvements over the current law, and I vote "no" to all of them for the following reasons:
Amendment 1 looks like the state wants to mimic the federal government by creating set-aside contracts and promote socio-economic goals (quotas for minorities, women, disabled vets, Indians, geographical areas, etc.). It consolidates power into political groups by allowing government entities to choose winners and losers instead of letting businesses compete fairly for government contracts. "More economically competitive"? Only for certain anointed groups.
Amendment 2 imposes an annual $10 charge on each passenger motor vehicle registration to fund trauma care. This is a mandatory tax increase (by another name) to the driving public for every car, truck, motorcycle, sport utility vehicles, and passenger van with the capacity of 10 or fewer passengers. However, any vehicle owned by the state or its departments, agencies, or authority by any political subdivision of the state are exempt from paying the "fee." If they exempt themselves, obviously it's not a good deal for the rest of us.
Amendment 3 goes against all business best practices. To determine earned value, you need a schedule and budget. This amendment lets the government go forward without a real projected budget. There is no way to determine if the taxpayers are receiving value for their money. This is really bad policy.
Amendment 4: This Amendment misleads the public by using feel-good phrases such as "energy efficiency" and "conservation improvement". The key phrase in the SR 1231 is that "the General Assembly may by general law authorize governmental entities to incur debt for the purpose of entering into multiyear contracts (not to exceed 10 years) for this program." According to the advocates, Georgia taxpayers pay hundreds of millions dollars in utility bills for more than 15,000 buildings. We have a problem here. Why do we need more than 15,000 buildings? This indicates our state government is too big. Instead of retrofitting these buildings, I suggest we consolidate services and sell the majority of these buildings and rent spaces as needed. Let the landlords worry about maintenance of the buildings.
Amendment 5 allows any property owner in an industrial area to voluntarily remove its property from the industrial area by filing a certificate to that effect with the clerk of the superior court for the county. However, the filing of a certificate shall be irrevocable and shall bind the owners, their heirs, and their assigns. The phrase "it shall be irrevocable... and their assigns" makes this amendment unacceptable.
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