Thursday, November 6, 2008

Voters Give 'Thumbs Up' to Georgia Forests

By an overwhelming margin Georgia voters approved Amendment 1 on November 4. Passage of this historic measure, supported by leading agricultural, environmental, sportsmen and business organizations, will lead to the implementation of the Georgia Forest Land Protection Act of 2008. Amendment 1, which according to one source drew the largest number of votes of any candidate or amendment in Georgia history, will provide protection from development for many of the state's large timberland properties. With 96% of the state's precincts having reported, Amendment 1 appeared to have won in all of the state's 159 counties.

"Amendment 1 means that many landowners will be spared the decision to sell some or all of their property primarily due to an inability to pay property taxes," noted the Georgia Forestry Association's Steve McWilliams. "The people of the state have made it abundantly clear that they hold our forests in high regard."

The next step for this new tax program is the rule making process to be led by the Property Tax Division of Georgia Department of Revenue. Vicky Lambert, Director of DOR's Property Tax Division hopes to have rules and forms to guide the implementation and administration of the Forest Land Protection Act in place by January 1, the effective date of the new conservation use tax program.

Source: Georgia Forestry Association

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