Amendment would allow multi-year leases - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Amendment 2 would allow multi-year leases

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ATLANTA -

Georgia voters will decide on two constitutional amendments on the election ballot this year. Supporters say "Amendment 2" could save taxpayers a lot of money.

From the Capitol to an array of office buildings, the state of Georgia has vast real estate holdings. But state agencies also rent thousands of square feet of space in private office buildings. Those agencies can currently agree to only one-year leases.
     
Amendment 2 on this year's election ballot would give state officials the go-ahead to make multi-year lease agreements.
    
The state properties commission estimates that approval would say the state $66 million over 10 years. The vast majority of lawmakers supported putting the measure on the ballot.

 "It's about efficiency, and this is going to give us another tool in the toolbox to help really help provide greater savings for taxpayers," said Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

Cagle says the state will get better lease deals with longer-term agreements.

"You're going to have greater incentive by the landlord to come and negotiate terms that are more conducive and that's where the $66 million savings come in," said Cagle.

The ballot measure asks voters, "Shall the constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide for a reduction in the state's operating costs by allowing the general assembly to authorize certain state agencies to enter into multiyear rental agreements?"

It's a question many voters said they have yet to consider.    

Critics argue that financial savings are not guaranteed, and they express concern that the state will be bound by long-term leases.

Supporters contend the change would include oversight mandates to prevent lease abuses.

"Amendment 1" on the ballot is the hotly-debated charter schools proposal, which would give the state more authority to establish charter schools.

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