Originally created 11/06/96

Returns favor Georgia school-tax amendment

ATLANTA - A constitutional amendment that would allow school boards for the first time to use a one-cent sales tax increase to build schools or pay off debt gained support in early returns Tuesday.

It was one of five constitutional amendments and two referendum questions on the ballot - an unusually short list. Most of the measures involved taxes in some way.

With 35 percent of the precincts reporting, the school tax amendment was favored by 267,297 votes or 52 percent, and opposed by 242,416 votes or 48 percent.

Another would complete the job the Legislature started last winter of repealing the intangible tax, a levy on stocks, bonds, cash and other assets of the well-to-do. That measure was ahead 236,490 votes or 56 percent, to 185,053 votes or 44 percent, with 31 percent of the precincts reporting.

An amendment authorizing tax breaks for businesses that create jobs in depressed areas was ahead with 237,200 votes or 53 percent, to 213,132 votes or 47 percent. Thirty-four percent of the precincts had been counted.

Voters were solidly opposed to a measure clearing the way for people who run cotton gins to assess themselves a levy to train workers and promote their industry. With 31 percent of the precincts reporting, it trailed 246,311 votes or 60 percent to 166,813 votes or 40 percent.

An amendment paving the way for Chatham County to impose a higher tax rate on an island undergoing rapid development was ahead with 31 percent of the precincts reporting: 216,059 votes or 54 percent, to 186,442 votes or 46 percent.

The two referendum questions granted tax exemptions, and both had leads with votes counted in about a third of the precincts.

One concerning church buses and vans was ahead 264,297 votes or 56 percent to 206,015 votes or 44 percent, with 33 percent counted. The other for Masonic lodges led 222,901 votes or 52 percent to 202,070 votes or 48 percent, with 31 percent reporting.

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