AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Paying for a new James Brown arena is getting a second act before Augusta voters.  

“We’re just thankful for the Governor and our legislative delegation for giving us this opportunity to present it to the people of Augusta,” said Coliseum Authority Chairman Cedric Johnson.  

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp was in town on Monday to sign into law a bill that will place on the ballot this November a .5% increase in the sales tax for a new JBA. 

In 2021, Augusta voters rejected a bond referendum to pay for the arena, but that would have raised property taxes – not the sales tax.  

“We heard them loud and clear. They did not want a property tax, and the only way we could figure out to do it will be a SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) .5% percent SPLOST tax,” said Johnson.  

But if voters approve it, it would increase Augusta’s sales tax rate to 8.5%.  

“When you go to all the major cities, there’s other additional sales taxes much higher than 8.5% the bottom line; however, it will not be on the property bills,” said Commissioner Sean Frantom.  

This bill was a bi-partisan effort by local lawmakers to find funding for a new JBA by increasing the sales tax, which visitors also pay. 

“It’s a regional asset. We thought a regional asset should have regional participation in paying for it,” said State Representative Mark Newton, a Republican. 

“This would be the most fair way. I think I can support it from that aspect of it. We really do need a new James Brown Arena,” said Commissioner Alvin Mason.  

And thanks to this signature, county voters will get the chance to say if they agree.