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Ga. Supreme Court rules school taxes can go to BeltLine

8:13 AM, Jun 3, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld a lower court's ruling that school tax revenue can be spent on non-educational development projects like the BeltLine.

In the opinion released Monday, a Supreme Court Justice wrote that the high court disagrees with the argument that the tax spending is unconstitutional.

John S. Sherman with the Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation filed a lawsuit against the city of Atlanta in late 2008 to prevent officials from using school property tax revenues on projects in the BeltLine and Perry-Bolton tax allocation districts (TADs).

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In October 2011, a trial court ruled in favor of the city, saying that using school tax revenue for the two TADs did not violate the Georgia Constitution. Sherman appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the February 2008 case of Woodham v. City of Atlanta ended with the high court ruling that the use of school tax funds for the BeltLine Redevelopment Plan was unconstitutional.

In Monday's opinion, the Supreme Court said "the subsequent constitutional amendment and revision of the statute governing TADs changed the applicable law, and those changes were expressly made retroactive with respect to the county, city, and local board of education approvals needed to use school taxes for redevelopment purposes."

"The Georgia Constitution 'is the supreme state law,' and our Constitution can be amended to make constitutional things that were once declared by this Court to be unconstitutional," the high court wrote, adding that Sherman's argument is "meritless."

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