Watch: What's in Gov. Deal's new budget?
In addition to tire cleanup, the state has created programs to train police and educate teen drivers. But, like the tire dump project, they have been drained by lawmakers for other purposes. It’s a roundabout way to balance the budget — avoiding levying extra taxes or cutting spending — but it has angered environmental groups, educators and Georgians.
In response, lawmakers have introduced methods over the years to hold funds to account. This year, House Ways and Means Chairman Jay Powell introduced House Resolution 158, which would dedicate fees to specific funds and causes for up to 10 years, at which point they would come up for renewal.
If adopted by the House and Senate, the measure would be placed before voters as a constitutional amendment in 2018.
“We’re not asking them to do anything unlawful, immoral, unethical,” Brown said. “All we’re saying is do what you said you were going to do.”
Passed in 2005, “Joshua’s Law” funds driver education programs in Georgia schools through fees on traffic fines. There are at least 140 programs in the state, but “had they funded the money where it was supposed to go,” Brown said, there could have already been programs in every Georgia high school and prevented teen deaths.
“If you guys will scream, they’ll listen,” Brown told a group of high school students without such a program.
Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority of in each legislative house before being sent to voters for final approval.
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