Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sen. Ronnie Chance, Feb. 24th Update

This week, the Georgia General Assembly reached the 20th Legislative Day, which marks the halfway point of the 2009 Legislative Session. The Legislature has been working hard to ease the problems caused by the global economic crisis, and thus far the Senate, House, and Governor are all working together. A good example of this is the Homeowner Tax Relief Grants (HTRG).

Early this session, the Governor proposed the elimination of funding for the HTRG because of budget concerns. The money for these grants was approved last year, and local governments had already factored them into their bills. Had the legislature not acted, many citizens across Georgia would have received an additional property tax bill for several hundred dollars.

However, I am pleased to report that we have successfully saved the grants. The House and Senate, acting quickly, passed legislation that the Governor has already signed to ensure funding for these grants will occur. It was very important to secure these grants in these difficult economic times.

Below are a few updates on bills moving through the legislature:

An Effort to Create Jobs for Georgians

This week, Republican Leadership in the Georgia General Assembly continued work on a package to stimulate the economy through the private sector. The "Jobs, Opportunity, and Business Success Act of 2009" will provide tax incentives to create real, long-term jobs in Georgia.

The bill includes the following:

$500 credit towards the unemployment insurance tax for each eligible employee hired.
$2,400 Income tax credit for each eligible employee hired. This credit will be available to those who hire an employee that has been unemployed for at least 60 days and remains employed for at least 24 months at a rate above the average weekly rate of unemployment benefits as determined by the DOL.

Start a "new business" holiday. This component would create a one year "holiday" on new filings for LLC's, Limited Partnerships and For Profit Companies.

Elimination of the State Inventory Tax on all Georgia businesses.

Elimination of the Sales Tax Deposit.

Gradual elimination of the Corporate Income Tax. This is a gradual elimination of the Corporate Income tax beginning in 2012 and phased over 12 years. Beginning in 2012, the tax rate will be reduced by .5% each year over 12 years. We are avoiding short-term revenue loss to the state while signaling a pro-business, pro-jobs plan for the future.

Senate Votes to Strength Food Safety in Georgia

The Senate passed Senate Bill 80, which imposes stricter guidelines on food testing for processing plants in response to the nationwide salmonella outbreak that was linked to a South Georgia peanut butter plant.

The legislation requires that food processing facilities report suspicions of contaminated food, food testing and retention of testing results to the Department of Agriculture. This bill provides the Department access to any food processor's testing records for the presence of contaminants.

The Commissioner of Agriculture is also directed to establish requirements for regular food testing. Processors are to report positive finds of contaminates within one business day of the discovery directly to the state. The bill also gives the Commissioner the right to test any food if there are reasonable grounds to suspect contamination.

SR 1: The "Taxpayer Protection Amendment"

This measure passed by the Senate would require any additional state revenue collected in future years to be appropriated in the Amended Budget in the following priority: 1. Satisfying the state's student enrollment increases; 2. Funding of the Revenue Shortfall Reserve until the fund reaches 10 percent of the previous year's budget.; 3. Any remaining surplus would be put towards outstanding debt and/or providing taxpayer relief. If passed and signed by the Governor, the resolution would go before voters as a proposed constitutional amendment on the November 2010 ballot before becoming law.

Illegal Aliens in Georgia Prisons

The Senate Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee passed SB 136 which decreases the costs and expenses of operating state prisons by deporting many of the illegal aliens in our prison system. SB 136 requires the Department of Corrections and the State Board of Pardons and Paroles to participate in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Rapid Removal of Eligible Parolees Accepted for Transfer (REPAT) Program. In an effort to crack down on the increasing population of illegal immigrants living in Georgia, the bill expedites the deportation process of aliens incarcerated or eligible for parole. Aliens who participate in this program would waive any right to appeal their conviction and would be required to serve the remainder of their prison term without parole if they are caught in Georgia illegally again.

Thank you for your interest. Please contact me if I may be of assistance at (404) 463-1366 or at ronnie.chance@senate.ga.gov.
Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use
Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

No comments: