The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act

 
 
Establishing a long-term, sustainable source of funding for conservation in our state

Georgia’s economy and quality of life have long been tied to the state’s abundant natural resources. Future success will depend upon effective management and protection of these finite assets. The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act proposes a solution that would generate annual, dedicated funding for land conservation purposes without raising or creating any taxes or fees.   

Industries, such as Georgia’s $27 billion outdoor recreation industry and $61 billion tourism rely directly upon access to the coast, lakes, rivers, mountain ranges and hunting and fishing destinations, and many others depend on the ability to build or expand operations.   

Maintaining an effective balance between the needs of our economy and our environment requires both long range planning and the ability to address more immediate needs. Georgia’s current land conservation program relies on annual appropriated funding, the nature of which makes multi-year acquisition plans difficult to execute and often precludes the state’s ability to leverage additional private and philanthropic investment.  

The Solution?

The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act (House Bill 332), along with companion legislation calling for a voter referendum as required by the Georgia Constitution (House Resolution 238), would dedicate up to 80% of the existing sales and use tax on outdoor sporting goods for land conservation.

Funding would be used for the acquisition of lands critical to the protection of clean water supplies, wildlife or outdoor recreation. It would also be used to acquire and improve parks in urban areas and maintain access to already protected lands throughout the state.   

If signed by the Governor, the referendum will be on the November 2018 ballot.