On November 2, Georgia voters will face a number of constitutional amendments on the ballot. One that they should certainly support is Amendment 4 (Vote Yes on Amendment 4), which will make it possible to clean up waste in state government buildings.
What is the problem Amendment 4 addresses?
The state constitution needlessly prevents state agencies from replacing and retrofitting outdated energy and water systems and equipment in state government buildings through what are known as “guaranteed savings performance contracts.” Amendment 4 allows the state to enter into these contracts with private businesses, saving taxpayer dollars and creating jobs while reducing energy use in state government buildings.
This really is a win-win situation. The taxpayer gets a free ride while the contractor fronts all the cost of the efficiency improvements and then earns back their costs plus a profit for doing the work paid out of the energy savings over a series of years. After the contractor is paid off, you and I — the taxpayers — save all the money going forward for years to come.
As always with anything involving government, there is a fear that corruption and “good old boy” backroom deals could ruin it. I get that, and again, skepticism is natural.
But having read this amendment, and having studied how it works in other states, I know that the actual legal wording of Amendment 4 would make it pretty hard for even the most savvy politician to take advantage of.
Opposition appears to be minimal, but one Tea Party group opposes this amendment because it would sanction multi-year contracts, which the group sees as unsavory.
Taxpayers for Energy Efficiency has developed an excellent website that is a great resource to voters. It includes research on Amendment 4, case studies that demonstrate how performance contracts have saved money in other states, and other information.