Originally created 11/06/02

Georgians approve most amendments

ATLANTA - A constitutional amendment that would create a program for the voluntary sterilization of cats and dogs easily won approval Tuesday, but Georgians voted against an amendment that would allow tax breaks for developers of low-income housing.

Georgians also overwhelmingly supported a constitutional amendment that makes people who are in default on taxes ineligible to hold elected or appointed office.

They also voted to allow heavier taxes on property that has been fouled by hazardous waste and less burdensome taxes on such property that has been restored.

Georgia voters said yes or no to 11 questions - six proposed constitutional amendments and five proposed changes to state law.

Returns showed support for constitutional amendments that would:

  • Allow local government to impose a higher tax rate on property that is blighted. According to the proposed change, once the property is cleaned up, the increased tax could be reduced so owners could recoup the cost of fixing their land.
  • Give tax breaks on property used for landing and processing seafood.
  • Voters also gave opinions on five proposed changes to state law. They don't amend the Constitution, but they require statewide voter approval because they grant property tax exemptions.

    Georgians approved a referendum that broadens the group eligible for a $10,000 exemption from school taxes. Currently eligible are people at least 62 years old whose family income does not exceed $10,000. This would exempt retirement income from the earnings test for eligibility.

    Also approved is a change in the $43,000 homestead exemption given to spouses of military personnel killed during periods of war. Voters also passed an increase in the tax exemption for tangible personal property from $500 to $7,500. The intent is to take the tax off tradesmen's tools.

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