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Understanding Amendment 1

As election day approaches on November 2, we’re going to do our best to give you as much information as we can about each of the proposed constitutional amendments on this year’s ballot. Today we start with Amendment 1.

Amendment 1 is probably the most difficult of the 4 proposed constitutional amendments to understand on your ballot. It is very wordy, and even has some Latin thrown in there to make things extra confusing.

To get to the point, Amendment 1 has nothing to do with raising taxes or reducing taxes in any way shape or form.  It is merely a sort of addendum to an amendment passed in 2006.

If passed, then tax collection offices will receive the same percentage of money for operation that they have received since the 2006 law was passed.

Tax collection offices receive money from multiple agencies across Alabama. The 2006 amendment wrote some of the groundwork for how the proportions are doled out. The 2006 law was worded in such a way that it will leave out certain taxes in the next several years putting a higher burden to run tax collection offices on some state government agencies more than others.

There is an education element to this ballot issue as well.  If approved, some counties’ public schools could have less of their money held back in from taxes in order to support the county tax collector’s office. This provision will effect each county differently depending on how its code is written.

The Alabama Education Association supports the measure, saying it is a small amount of money and it doesn’t have a glaring impact on schools or county tax offices which need money to continue working.

A vote for Amendment 1 means you want to keep the funding stream the same. A vote against means other state government entities will collect more from the collected taxes which would take away from county tax collection offices.

Be sure to check with your particular county’s tax collection office and see how your code is written for an even more detailed impact of either approving or turning down Amendment 1.

3 Responses to “Understanding Amendment 1”

  1. i think there’s a typo in paragraph 8. i believe you mean amendment 1, not 3.

  2. “A vote for Amendment 3 means you want to keep the funding stream the same.” Is this a typo???

  3. Summary
    The Constitutional Amendment (Amendment  778 ratified in 2006) that guaranteed a minimum 10 mills of property tax dedicated to school systems provided specifically that millage levied under the amendment would be free of collection and assessment costs. 
    If Amendment 1 on the ballot on November 2, 2010 passes, it will nullify this provision in Amendment 778: 
    “The proceeds from said tax shall not, any provisions of any law or of this constitution to the contrary notwithstanding, be subject to any fees, charges or commissions for assessment or collection by any person whatever, it being the intent hereof that the full amounts of the proceeds of said tax collected shall be used for general public school purposes.”
    If you have more than 10 mills for schools in your district, passage of this amendment will not affect you.
    If this amendment passes and you have millage that is authorized under Amendment 778, you will experience a loss of revenue because of assessment and collection fees (see below).
    Prior to Amendment 778, some districts collected less than 10 mills.  For example, you could have had 7 mills that were approved by voters and then 3 provided by Amendment 778.  These 3 mills are presently not subject to charges, commissions or assessment or collection fees, but the 7 voted mills have a 2% assessment fee and a 2% collection fee deducted as a general rule (even though some local laws make exceptions).  If Amendment 1 passes, the assessment fee and collection fee will apply to the additional 3 mills and will result in less revenue for your school system. 

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