The veto of a Tax Allocation District bill by Gov. Sonny Perdue has no effect on Columbus' November referendum that, if successful, would give the city the ability to create the special districts.
The bill, Senate Bill 225, would have required city government and school board officials across the state to receive training on TADs — a method of financing redevelopment through future property tax revenue. It would also have limited school boards' ability to give their input and review potential projects, said Teresa Tomlinson, executive director of MidTown Inc. "What this bill was trying to do was force (school boards) to consent without any input," Tomlinson said. "It was trying to make them a rubber stamp of what the city was trying to do."
Chris Schrimpf, deputy press secretary for the governor, said the bill stemmed from a Cobb County issue. Perdue vetoed the bill because, if enacted as law, a local disagreement would have been dealt with by a statewide law that affected everyone. The veto has no effect locally. Columbus Council voted May 15 to hold a referendum on Nov. 6. If it passes, the city will have the power to create TADs.
House Bill 320, signed by Perdue May 16, gave Columbus councilors the ability to call for the referendum.
TADs spur redevelopment through estimated future property tax revenue. Upon creation of a TAD, a baseline is set for property tax revenue for the city and schools within the district at its current level. Bonds are issued based on future development and the money typically is used for infrastructure improvements.
The future revenue goes to a special fund that pays off the bonds. Revenue gained up to the baseline continues to go to the city and school board, respectively. All taxing entities must sign off on every TAD — a part of the existing law that would have been tweaked to the detriment of school boards by the successful passage of SB 225, Tomlinson said. "It didn't surprise me that it was vetoed," she added.