Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment?
The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment is Amendment 1 on the November general election ballot. It is a historic opportunity for Georgians to protect our waters and lands by constitutionally dedicating a portion of the existing sales tax on outdoor sporting goods. It will be on the 2018 general election ballot. Vote Yes Amendment 1 - November 6, 2018
What will I see on the ballot?
The constitutional amendments will be near the end of your ballot. The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment is Amendment 1 and reads:
Without increasing the current state sales tax rate, shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to create the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund to conserve lands that protect drinking water sources and the water quality of rivers, lakes, and streams; to protect and conserve forests, fish, wildlife habitats, and state and local parks; and to provide opportunities for our children and families to play and enjoy the outdoors, by dedicating, subject to full public disclosure, up to 80 percent of the existing sales tax collected by sporting goods stores to such purposes without increasing the current state sales tax rate?
How much funding would this generate for conservation?
If passed, the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment would generate approximately $20 million in dedicated annual funding for a period of 10 years.
How would these funds be used?
The funding generated by this amendment would only be used for projects consistent with the state’s established goals for conservation including: protecting lands critical to clean drinking water, acquiring and improving parks and trails, and maintaining and improving access to wildlife management areas. As a result of these investments, it would also support Georgia’s economy, including the $27 billion outdoor recreation industry.
Why should conserving land be a priority for Georgia?
Natural resources like water and land are finite. If we do not protect them, they may not be here for future generations, which would put both our quality of life and economy at risk. For example, properly managed lands, shorelines and forests play a critical role in ensuring access to the clean drinking water every Georgian relies on.
Is this a tax increase?
No, this is a not a tax increase. It is simply a dedication of taxes already collected on outdoor sporting goods.
Why is dedicated funding important?
Georgia currently relies upon an annual appropriations process to fund our conservation needs, which makes long-term planning difficult. A dedicated funding source will provide a reliable, predictable amount of annual funding that will not only help that planning process but also better position Georgia to attract additional federal, philanthropic and private investment.
Could these funds be used for other purposes?
No. The voter referendum ensures the funds cannot be used for any other purpose.
When would the funds be dedicated?
Funds would be dedicated starting on July 1, 2019.
How can I support the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment?
First, be sure to vote yes on the general election ballot! For information about registering to vote, voting locations or early voting click here! Second, be sure to tell your friends, family members, co-workers and others in your network to do the same. Finally, if you would like to make a donation to our campaign, click on donate in the navigation bar.
What kind of goods will have their sales tax included in the dedicated funding?
The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment will dedicate funding based on sales at stores classified as “sporting goods” by the North American Industry Classification System. This existing classification allowed for a more seamless process for both retailers and the state’s department of revenue.
Will this funding “take away” from other state priorities?
The General Assembly determined the initial $20 million annual dedication of funds in light of the state’s other budget needs. It is important to remember that these funds will actually generate additional revenue as they support Georgia’s growing outdoor recreation industry and other job-creating sectors such as film, tourism, and agriculture that rely upon land and water. While Georgia’s tax collections are currently up over 7% year-over-year, there are also provisions in the legislation that provide guidance should there be an economic downturn.
What are the safeguards in the case of an economic downturn?
If sales tax collections fall a full 1% or more below the year prior, the amount dedicated is reduced by 20%. If that happens again the next year (ie, another 1% or more drop) the amount is reduced by 50%. It stays at the lower amount until the tax collections return to the level they were before they dropped.
How does land conservation protect our clean drinking water?
The protection of riparian buffers and forest lands provide natural filtration systems for our freshwater. These funds will allow the state to be proactive and work to identify those places that are important in this process.