- Important: All passwords were reset on 06/15/11. Old passwords will no longer work. Click here to retrieve your password.
- Subscribe to Our Free Dewsletter
We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
The Other Georgia Amendment
Most Georgians know that an amendment relating to charter schools will be on their ballot on November. But few know that there is a second amendment up for consideration that, if approved, could save the state millions of dollars by allowing multiyear lease agreements.
The Like the Dew community is divided on this amendment and we would prefer not to run this piece unless we can pair it with one that presents the arguments against the amendment.
The article tells us only this: “Though he acknowledged that multiyear leases could be abused, Alan Essig, Executive Director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, said there is a definite argument to be made for the amendment.” Don’t our readers deserve to hear about those potential abuses that are given such short shrift here? Considering all the cronyism and the absence of ethics governing Georgia politicians, don’t our readers deserve to read an argument against allowing the current crop of Georgia politicians whom may well lock us into leases for as many as 20 years? We invite your arguments.
Over the next ten years, the amendment would save the state $66 million, according to Paul Melvin, who is the director of communications for Georgia’s State Properties Commission.
State agencies such as the Georgia Department of Public Health, the Division of Child Support Services, or the Georgia Environmental Protection Division could get better rates on long-term leases for offices around the state.
Property owners leasing to these agencies would also be more willing to make improvements to leased properties, according to state Sen. Buddy Carter, who sponsored the resolution proposing the amendment.
Nothing in Georgia’s Constitution specifically addresses multiyear leases, according to Melvin. They’re effectively forbidden, however, by the requirement that an existing legislature not put debt on a future legislature.
Other states already lease property for more than a year. “We surveyed 19 states and out of those 19 states, 18 out of 19 states used a multiyear lease,” Melvin said.
If adopted, the amendment would allow state agencies that fall under the State Properties Commission, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, and the Georgia Department of Labor to sign longer leases. Leases by cities and counties would not be affected.
Leasing requirements would change for the University of Georgia. Currently, UGA uses their foundation to lease teaching space for the Terry College of Business in Atlanta and for UGA’s Gwinnett campus. Then, UGA leases the space from the foundation one year at a time.
“We would be able to cut that middle man out,” said James Dorsey, UGA’s director of the Office of Real Estate and Space Management.
The resolution was adopted with a unanimous vote in the Georgia Senate during the 2011 legislative session. State Rep. Jay Neal, who sponsored the resolution in the Georgia House of Representatives, said the resolution was not adopted in the House because time ran out in 2011.
During the 2012 session, the House approved the resolution, along with another bill that placed parameters on multiyear leases. The parameters restrict multiyear leases to 20 years and allow the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission to set a yearly limit on the total value of multiyear leases.
Though he acknowledged that multiyear leases could be abused, Alan Essig, Executive Director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, said there is a definite argument to be made for the amendment.
“If we want the state to run more like a business, if we want them to be efficient, these are the kinds of tools the state doesn’t have that they need to have,” Essig said.
- Editor's Note: In reviewing this story, some Dewers disagreed with the author's position on this issue
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
Last week Americans saw heavy media coverage of the death 50 years ago of President John F. Kennedy. I couldn't help but compare the aftermath and funeral of JFK with that of Abraham Lincoln, both victims of assassins. One reason this came to mind is because I had just finished a year-long project -- reading Carl Sandburg's six volume biography of Lincoln. (Altogether, it was about 2,400 pages, and that in small type. I gave myself a year to read it, and as a reward, could read a shorter book when I finished each volume.) Sandburg's massive biography is a great read, Read on →
Many of us love a good conspiracy theory. Some of us, though, love them more than others. It's no surprise liberals are more likely to buy into a conspiracy theory critical of the right, or conservatives are more likely to believe one critical of the left. The data supports exactly that, proving we often dare research the obvious. Here I'm going to discuss four specific conspiracy theories, two from each side of the political spectrum, and sketch what a national sample of over 5,000 U.S. adults tells us about who does, and does not, believe in them. First, the conspiracies. The first Read on →
I live in Alabama, and though I wasn’t born here and didn’t even move here until I was in my late thirties, I have come to be All-Things-Alabamian. For those who don’t know, we attach miracle-like attributes to many of our foodstuffs here. Black-eyed peas, for instance, are thought to bring good luck throughout the South, especially when served on New Year’s Day. Well, who needs good luck then? Good luck is most appreciated when it matters most, and when it matters most here is now — the days following Thanksgiving. You see, we are very different from the rest of you. For instan Read on →
I looked over and the strange fact that Pamela Kheto was driving seemed perfectly normal, even though my sole contact with her in the last ten years was a brief meeting in a parking lot where she tried to recruit me for some kind of power-grab at her church. When I looked to the front I saw we were on rough terrain. I felt the bottom scraping on large boulders, finally hitting something huge that threatened to completely tie us up, the edge of a cliff actually, but our momentum carried us up and over, teetering on the edge a Read on →