Know Before You Go: Reason behind Question 2 on the Georgia Ballot
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Sometimes ballot questions can be an afterthought, but this year there’s a referendum that could provide relief for Georgians who experience a natural disaster. Question 2 on every Georgia ballot could amend the Georgia Constitution to allow for counties to grant tax relief to properties in a disaster area.
In Newnan, neighbors are still recovering after a tornado swept through the city a year and a half ago. Neighbors on this street tell Atlanta News First the city hit them with property taxes months after the storm when they were still trying to pay to rebuild their homes. Newnan’s City Manager Cleatus Phillips says the city looked for ways to waive the property taxes.
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“The way the statute was written we couldn’t give any type of credit or exemption to people who are in the tornado path. Without each homeowner to o and submit a claim, which is a lot of work your asking someone to do who is trying to recover from the devastation,” said Phillips
In response, Georgia State Rep. Lynn Smith proposed an amendment to the state’s constitution that would give local governments the option to grant tax relief for properties damaged by storms and natural disasters. HR594 passed unanimously and now goes to the voter.
“Speaking for the heart of our community which came together as we struggled to recover from the aftermath of the F4 midnight tornado that hit us in 2021, I led the fight to make it easier for folks to get relief in the wake of such storms. The resulting bill earned unanimous support in our state legislature and the constitutional amendment is on the ballot this November. HR 594 would amend our state’s constitution to give local governments the option to grant tax relief for properties damaged by storms and natural disasters. Right now, they do not have the ability to even consider doing so. That needs to be changed and I hope Georgians will vote YES in support,” said Smith in a statement.
While this possible change to state law will not help the people still struggling to rebuild here in Newnan, neighbors tell Atlanta News First they don’t want anyone to go through the same thing they had to.
“It’s not going to help the citizens of Newnan in that storm, but you never think that’s going to happen, but to have that tool in the tool belt. It would be a great advantage to us,” said Phillips.
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