Schoolhouse Beat

Georgia bill would offer tax break to private businesses serving universities

The Georgia General Assembly may approve a property tax break for private parties that run housing and parking operations for the state’s university system.

The legislation, House Bill 788, would support the University System of Georgia’s plans to privatize student housing and reduce its $3.8 billion debt burden, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday.

The House of Representatives approved the measure Wednesday. It still needs Senate approval. Voters would also vote on the proposal in the November general election.

Opponents argue that the ballot language does not clearly explain that the proposal is related to privatization and that it would exempt private entities from paying taxes on the campus property.

The ballot question as currently proposed: "Shall property owned by the University System of Georgia and utilized by providers of college and university student housing and other facilities continue to be exempt from taxation to keep costs affordable?"

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