2022 Elections

2022 TGV Voting Guide: Georgia Ballot Questions

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8. 

Early voting begins Monday, October 17 and ends November 4. Contact your local elections office for information on early voting locations and Saturday voting opportunities. In the event that one is necessary, the General Election runoff is slated for December 6, 2022.

To check your polling location and view a sample ballot specific to your municipality/county, visit the MyVoterPage on the Ga SOS website.

AMENDMENT 1: Constitutional Officers 

This question is a constitutional amendment.

How it will read on the ballot: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to suspend the compensation of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State School Superintendent, Commissioner of Insurance, Commissioner of Agriculture, Commissioner of Labor, or any member of the General Assembly while such individual is suspended from office following indictment for a felony?”

What the amendment seeks to do:

Halt the compensation of some elected officials if they have been indicted (formally charged)  on felony charges. 

Who proposed this measure?

Senator Larry Walker III and others via Senate Resolution 134. SR 134 passed in the Senate with one dissenting vote (Sen. Bill Cowsert) and 169-0 in the House.

Why was this measure proposed? 

5 months after being sworn into office in 2019, then-Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck was indicted on federal charges related to an ongoing investigation revealed while he was running for office. He refused to step down, but Governor Kemp suspended Beck, pending adjudication of his case. Nevertheless, the state constitutions provided that he continued to receive his salary and benefits anyway. State reports later revealed that Beck was paid $343,000 (excluding benefits) while he was suspended before a jury found him guilty on all charges. 

Who will be impacted? 

Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State School Superintendent, Commissioner of Insurance, Commissioner of Agriculture, Commissioner of Labor and General Assembly members.

What voting YES means:

You support certain elected officials having their salaries suspended when they are suspended from office and also facing felony charges. This position sets aside the presumption of innocence. 

What voting NO means:

You do not support certain elected officials having their compensation suspended due to facing felony indictments while the case is pending and has not been adjudicated in a court of law.


AMENDMENT 2: Temporary Property Tax Changes for Disaster Areas 

This question is a constitutional amendment. 

How it will read on the ballot: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the governing authority of each county, municipality, and consolidated government and the board of education of each independent and county school system in this state shall be authorized to grant temporary tax relief to properties within its jurisdiction which are severely damaged or destroyed as a result of a disaster and located within a nationally declared disaster area?”

What the amendment seeks to do:

This measure would allow local governing authorities to provide temporary relief on property taxes in areas under a natural disaster declaration. This constitutional amendment is in response to the tornadoes that struck Coweta a county last year and, despite being under an emergency declaration and in a federal disaster area, federal aid was denied. While this does not provide “direct aid,”  presumption is that relief on property taxes would help property owners after a natural disaster. 

Who proposed this measure?

Rep. Lynn Smith and others via House Resolution 594. It passed the House & the Senate unanimously but a handful of House members did not vote: Reps. Carl Gilliard, David Wilkerson, and Marie Metze.

What voting YES means

You support local governments having the authority to grant temporary relief from property taxes if the impacted population is in a declared disaster area.

What voting NO means

You do not support local governments having the authority to grant temporary relief from property taxes if the impacted population is in a declared disaster area.


REFERENDUM A: Tax Exemptions for Certain Timber-related Equipment 

How it will read on the ballot: “Shall the Act be approved which grants a state-wide exemption from all ad valorem taxes for certain equipment used by timber producers in the production or harvest of timber?”

What the referendum seeks to do?

Creates a new exemption for some equipment used for timber production and harvest. Among the equipment listed in the enabling legislation: skidders, feller bunchers, debarkers, delimbers, chipharvesters, tub-grinders, woodscutters, chippers, loaders, dozers, mid-motor graders, and the related attachments. It would also apply to equipment that is under lease-purchase agreements. Actual timber would still be taxed. If approved by voters, it will take effect beginning in tax year 2023. 

Who proposed this measure?

State Representative Sam Watson and others via House Bill 997. It passed the House unanimously with one lawmaker opting not to cast a vote (Rep Todd Jones) and passed the Senate 50-1 (Sen. Lindsey Tippins) in 2022. Three senators did not vote: Sens. Gloria Butler, Harold Jones II, and David Lucas)

Why was this measure proposed?

Because this technically addresses property tax exemptions, it must be voted on by Georgians. 

Who will be impacted?

Individuals who own and utilize certain timber equipment will be positively impacted. Owners of other equipment that is not otherwise subject to exemption would be adversely impacted. 

What voting YES means:

You support adding timber equipment to the list of things not subject to property taxes under Georgia law. 

What voting NO means:

You oppose special carve outs in the state tax law and do not support adding timber equipment to the list of things exempt from property taxes in Georgia.


REFERENDUM B: Tax Exemptions for Agricultural Equipment & Farm Products

How it will read on the ballot: “Shall the Act be approved which expands a state-wide exemption from ad valorem taxes for agricultural equipment and certain farm products held by certain entities to include entities comprising two or more family owned farm entities, and which adds dairy products and unfertilized eggs of poultry as qualified farm products with respect to such exemption?”

What the referendum seeks to do?

Expand the current tax exemptions for agricultural and farm equipment to include: entities that are a merger of two or more family-owned farms and include dairy products and eggs. 

Who proposed this measure?

State Representative Sam Watson and others via House Bill 498. It passed the House in a vote of 169-1 (Rep. Meisha Mainor) and passed the Senate unanimously in 2021.

Why was the measure proposed?

Under Georgia law, tax exemptions for farm products apply to the livestock, crops, nut-bearing trees, fruit, plants, bushes, plants & trees that will be transplanted elsewhere, and Christmas trees. Because this technically addresses property tax exemptions, it must be voted on by Georgians. 

Who will be impacted?

Those eligible to claim the tax exempt status will be positively impacted. Anyone not eligible and those not already eligible under the current carve outs will be adversely impacted. 

What voting YES means:

You support a carve out in the state tax law for certain agricultural and farm equipment. Specifically, you want dairy products, eggs, and entities that are a merger of two or more family-owned farms to be eligible for tax exempt status. The Georgia Farm Bureau endorsed this legislation. 

What voting NO means:

You oppose special carve outs in the state tax law. You do not support dairy products, eggs, and entities that are a merger of two or more family-owned farms to be eligible for tax exempt status. 

Jessica Szilagyi

administrator
Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of The Georgia Virtue. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta, a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast,' and she has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers." Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

4 Comments

  • Avatar
    Janet October 18, 2022

    Amendment 1 explanation for what voting NO means is confusing – seems the same as voting yes.

    • Avatar
      Elle October 18, 2022

      I thought the same thing. I believe it’s an error on the writer’s part.

  • Avatar
    Pamela Clark October 18, 2022

    Thank you for the great information on the ammendment!

  • Avatar
    Madeline October 19, 2022

    What about an amendment not to allow any foreign entity such as the Chinese communist party (ccp) to purchase any land or properties in Georgia. I was listening to a debate, and one of the person’s mentioned that ccp has already purchased about one million acres of property in Georgia.

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