Georgia lawmakers weigh another sales tax for schools

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Georgia lawmakers weigh another sales tax for schools

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A DeKalb teacher warns: “I fear the OSD will only create more schools that will continue to hemorrhage talented teachers and students who will wish to escape the culture of test prep and paperwork.”

Georgia legislators on Thursday heard testimony about a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow another penny on the dollar sales tax for schools.

Unlike the current tax that communities can approve to pay the financing cost for new buildings, this sales tax would pay for ongoing maintenance and operations for up to five years.

House Resolution 319 was introduced last year by Rep. Bubber Epps, R-Dry Branch. It didn’t get out of committee. On Thursday, school officials from across the state gave their opinions about it, some favoring the idea of the voter-approved tax because of school funding shortages and others raising concerns that it wouldn’t bring in much money in the areas that need it most.

It’s unclear what will happen next with the resolution, which, if approved by the General Assembly, would place the tax question before voters. Rep. Brooks Coleman, R-Duluth, chairs the House Education Committee and gave Epps the informal hearing ahead of next week’s start of the legislative session. “We were getting some input, just seeing what people felt,” Coleman said.

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