Thursday, October 2, 2008

November Ballot Amendment Promoting Redevelopment Receives Major Endorsement

PRNewswire/ -- On Wednesday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution endorsed Amendment 2, which will appear on the November 4 statewide ballot.

Amendment 2 allows school boards to participate in Tax Allocation Districts, or TADs, an important redevelopment financing tool used by more than 50 communities across Georgia. TADs help revitalize blighted neighborhoods and abandoned industrial sites, turning them into thriving residential and commercial districts that generate more revenue for cities, counties and schools.

The Amendment 2 text that will appear on the November 4 statewide ballot:

To authorize local school districts to use tax funds for community redevelopment purposes.

"Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize community redevelopment and authorize counties, municipalities and local boards of education to use tax funds for redevelopment and programs?"

If approved Amendment 2 restores to school systems the power, if they so choose, to help their communities grow. This is a power school systems in Georgia have enjoyed for more than two decades, and that school systems in 46 other states enjoy as well. But earlier this year, a state Supreme Court decision took away that power. Amendment 2 puts that local control back in their hands.

As appeared in the October 1 issue of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

"This amendment does not authorize specific TAD-financed projects anywhere in Georgia. It merely allows school property taxes -- which account for about two-thirds of all local property taxes -- to become a part of the mix. Local school boards would retain the authority to say "no" to the use of school taxes or to negotiate specific terms in order to approve a TAD. That's important because some of the projects promoted for TADs in recent years are too risky, especially in a depressed housing market. Local government officials, including school boards, should scrutinize these requests closely before approving them, demanding to know why the developers can't get conventional market financing or why local governments won't issue general revenue bonds to get them off the ground.

Tax allocation districts can be a useful financing tool for well-conceived projects that might not otherwise be affordable. But they also should be used sparingly. This amendment will allow communities to keep them in their redevelopment tool box. Vote YES."

"For years, TADs have been used to revitalize blighted neighborhoods and bring residents and businesses back to communities across Georgia," said George Israel, President and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. "They are a proven redevelopment tool for cities and counties, and they generate millions of dollars for local school systems. We support the TAD amendment and all three amendments on the November ballot. This is a critical time for our economy -- and these initiatives mean thousands of new jobs for Georgians everywhere."

Georgians for Community Redevelopment is a nonprofit organization devoted to educating Georgians about the opportunities of Tax Allocation Districts (TADs) and promoting the passage of Amendment 2 on the November 2008 ballot. For more information on Amendment 2, please visit the website

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