Georgia Forest Preservation Amendment, Amendment 1 (2008)
Georgia's Forest Preservation Amendment or HR 1276 is a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment that encouraged the preservation, conservation, and protection of the state's forests through the special assessment and taxation of certain forest lands and assistance grants to local government. 
|Amendment 1 (2008)|
Election Results via: The Georgia Secretary of State
The measure enacted the following provisions:
- Give tax credits for people who own 200 acres or more of forest property and choose not to develop the forest land for at least 15 years.
- Mandate that the state would reimburse local governments for the property tax revenue they lose from the lower tax.
- State Representative Mike Cheokas, D-Americus
- State Representative Richard Royal, D-Camilla
- State Representative Jay Roberts, R-Ocilla
- State Representative Jerry Keen, R-St. Simmons Island
- State Representative DuBose Porter, D-Dublin
- State Representative Jim Cole, R-Forsyth
- State Representative Johnny Floyd, R-Cordele
- State Senator George Hooks, D-Americus
- State Senator John Bulloch, R-Ochlockne
- Georgia Forestry Association
- The Blackshear Times
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Arguments in Favor
Notable arguments made in support of the measure included:
- The amendment will ensure that as Georgia continues to grow and develop, it will continue to protect the forests in the state.
- This amendment will affect very little taxable land value, and is a worthwhile investment in helping keep our forest lands.
- Georgia School Boards Association
- The Tifton Gazette
Arguments in Opposition
Notable arguments made in opposition to the measure included:
- Rural school districts would lose valuable tax base, and although the measure authorizes the General Assembly to appropriate grants to local governments to offset the loss of tax revenue, there is fear that school districts will suffer.
- While the wording indicates that this is a program to protect the state’s forests, this is not a state land purchase set aside for the benefit of all Georgians. It is in reality a bill to provide property tax relief for paper companies and others that have forest land holdings in excess of 2,000 acres.
Proposed Amendment 1 allows the state to assess and tax certain privately owned tracts of timberland according to their “current use,” rather than to assess and tax based on a property’s highest-valued use, in order to encourage forest conservation. This “conservation use” is only available to landowners who agree not to develop the land for 15 years. The state has agreed to provide funds for counties whose revenues might decrease significantly as a result. Despite this provision, Amendment 1 could result in a nominal tax cut for certain property owners.
HR 1276 was on the ballot in Georgia's general election on November 4th, 2008.
- Georgia 2008 ballot measures
- Laws governing ballot measures in Georgia
- Laws governing recall in Georgia
- History of direct democracy in Georgia
- List of Georgia ballot measures
- 2008 ballot measures
- List of ballot measures by year
- List of ballot measures by state
- Full text of HR 1276 Official Georgia General Assembly website
- Placing a constitutional amendment on the Georgia ballot
- Ballot Measures Database from the National Conference of State Legislatures
- Gainesville Times: "Trio of amendments target development issues," Oct 12, 2008
- Georgia General Assembly - HR 1276 Official State Legislature website
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Guide to voting on state ballot questions," Oct 1, 2008
- Blackshear Times: "EDITORIAL / Read here, and elsewhere, about the ballot’s three constitutional amendments and then cast an informed vote," Oct 8, 2008
- Tifton Gazette: "Vote 'No' on forest amendment," Oct 9, 2008
- National Taxpayers Union
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