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Georgia amendment No. 4: Using tax revenue from firework sales for fire prevention and trauma care

In this series, we will preview what you need to know about the local contested races, constitutional amendments and special election ballot questions on your Nov. 8 ballot. This week, we looked at proposed amendments to the Georgia Constitution.

Other proposed amendments to the Georgia Constitution that will appear on your ballot:

* Amendment No. 1: Creating an Opportunity School District

* Amendment No. 2: Creating a support fund for child sex trafficking victims

* Amendment No. 3: Abolishing and re-forming the Judicial Qualifications Commission

WILL APPEAR AS: Dedicates revenue from existing taxes on fireworks to trauma care, fire services and public safety.

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the proceeds of excise taxes on the sale of fireworks or consumer fireworks be dedicated to the funding of trauma care, firefighter equipping and training, and local public safety purposes?”

WHAT IT IS: A year after fireworks officially became legal to purchase in Georgia in 2015, this amendment seeks to allocate tax revenue for issues that could arise from unsafe firework use – trauma care, fire services and public safety.

District 26 state Rep. Geoff Duncan said the bill would “laser focus” those tax dollars if approved.

“This particular measure would allow the excise tax dollars being raised from firework sales here in Georgia to be laser focused in a specific direction,” he said. “Many other places through Georgia, in the tax code dollars are raised and are just returned to the general fund and spent through the general budget.”

Duncan said the measure wouldn’t add any new taxes but simply would allocate those already being paid.

“The taxes are already in place, this is just specifically laying out where those tax dollars are to be spent,” he said.

The amendment made its way to the ballot by the way of Senate Resolution 558, which was popular enough to gain a total of only four no votes in the state house and senate combined.

“It obviously has to be extremely popular,” Duncan said. “To be a constitutional amendment, to get to that status, you have to have two-thirds of [the] House and two-thirds of the Senate.”

Senate Bill 350, which also passed last session, clarifies that the tax funding will break down to 55 percent for Georgia Trauma Care Network, 40 percent for the Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training Council and 5 percent for local governments’ public safety purposes.