The Trauma of Amendment 2

10:54 PM, Oct 4, 2010   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- Georgia voters will have in front of them five proposed constiutional amendments and a proposed statewide referendum on the ballot next month.

These measures are always confusing to voters.

What do you know about Amendment 2?

It reads, "Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to impose an annual $10.00 trauma charge on certain passenger motor vehicles in this state for the purpose of funding trauma care?"

While Republicans in the State Legislature placed this on the ballot, Democrats, we are told by their state office, most support the trauma concept too. So what's the big deal?

The big deal is funding, millions of dollars in funding via tax.

A group of supporters called "Yes 2 Save Lives" is running a TV ad using a teenage car crash to promote Amendment 2.

The commercial is funded in part by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the group is not listed by name but instead by its outgoing President George Israel.

Nine months ago, most people in state government believed the new "Super Speeder" law would cover the cost of trauma centers statewide.

The "Super Speeder" levied a $200 fine for those who drive over 75 miles per hour on two lane highways in Georgia.

It was projected the law would bring in $24 million.

It hasn't happened with only $2 million coming in. Thus, a new way was needed to raise the money for trauma centers.

11Alive reporter Jeff Hullinger asked Robert F. Dallas, the Director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, about voters.

"Voters are in a foul mood," Hullinger said. "What if they say no? Then what happens? How do you get this funded?

"We'll probably be where we were for the past 5 or 10 years of not having enough," Dallas said. "The price will be paid."

But for some, the price is too steep.

There has not been an explanation of how the funds raised would accomplish the expansion from 16 centers to 30.

"They've been very vague about where they are going to be; they are talking about expanding a network but have not given any details," said Brett C. Bittner, Operations Director for the Libertarians of Georgia.

He added, "A lot of times what we have seen on these amendments and referendums, the special interests that are advocating doesn't quite have the lobbyists money or enough lobbyists money to get the legislature to stand behind it."

Dallas countered, "If the Libertarians wanted to be treated in the picture, every road should be a toll road because the cost causers -- namely we -- who drive on the road would be the cost payer -- instead we have a system in place where everybody pays for the road either from gas tax or the general fund."

The question for voters -- is it worth the price?

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