Amendment 3: Timber Tax Reform
A “yes” vote creates a more uniform, fair market valuation of Georgia's timberland for its 450,000 private forest landowners.
Supports private forest owners and timber growers involved in the commercial timber business.
Supports the Georgia economy and the environment.
Attempts to create a more equitable taxation system for Georgia's working forests.
The amendment would create a property class, "Qualified Timberland Property," which changes the formula by which the value of forest and timberland properties are taxed. The intent of this referendum is to both support Georgia’s timber industry and to preserve the state’s forests.
For those with large enough tracts and with properties spanning different localities, this would move the tax assessment from counties to the Georgia Department of Revenue. Changes to the Forestry Land Protection Act via alterations in Fair Market Value, covenant length, and parcel sizes could reduce tax revenues for some counties. Therefore, a provision to phase-in market valuations that might result in large budgetary changes has been included.
The amendment experienced near-unanimous support by all members of General Assembly and is supported by the Georgia Forestry Association.
Offers a tax break to the commercial forestry industry, negatively impacts the environment, and negatively impacts rural school systems dependent on the tax base (which would then have to be rectified with grants from taxpayer funds).
Encourages land owners to maximize timber production, also maximizing destruction of the environment. Terrible precedent…there are alternative ways to tax large timber dollars fairly without harming others or the environment. Regressive tax that harms landowners while benefiting large commercial interests and developers. Negatively impacts access to large natural areas -- Kathryn Kolb, environmentalist
Opposed by Necessary Trouble Indivisible, Voter GA & David Hudson (Georgia Press Association)
Creates more uniform, fair market valuation of privately-held timberland.
Creates a fair system for forest landowners while maintaining funding for counties throughout the state – State Rep (R) Jay Powell, chief sponsor.
By giving landowners a lower tax rate, they have incentive to use their property for conservation – State Rep (D) Bee Nguyen
Supported by Minority Leader Stacey Abrams and State Legislators Mary Margaret Oliver, Elena Parent, Bee Nguyen, and (Rep Elect) Becky Evans.
Supported by Georgia Forestry Association, Galvanize Georgia and Dekalb Strong.