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Amended budgets gets OK
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Last week, the House and Senate passed the amended FY08 budget agreed upon by the conferees. This budget adds about $320 million to the FY08 budget.

Highlights include:
• $40 million for reservoir funding.

• $500,000 for local water and sewer improvements.

• $6.3 million Hazardous Waste Trust Fund.

• $58.5 million for trauma funding, which is $5.5 million more than the original proposal.

• $1.6 million for DHR Adult Protective Services.

• $150,000 for repairs to the fire breaks in south Georgia in the aftermath of the forest fires last summer.

• $20 million towards the equalization formula for local schools.

• $2.7 million for the State Public Defenders Office.

• $210 million in bonds for early funding for school capital outlay projects.

• $37.16 million for private disproportionate share hospitals. This includes state and federal funding.

• $1.4 million in economic development tourism spending.

• New funds for mental hospitals, child welfare services and PeachCare.
Bills of interest
The following bills passed the Senate this week:
• H.B. 961: Expands the licensed doctors who can submit affidavits on behalf of disabled people so that they may receive special parking permits.

• H.B. 1014: Changes various provisions relating to the Georgia Higher Education Savings Plan by expanding it to include qualified tuition programs under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.

• H.B. 1019: Creates the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank within the State Road and Toll way Authority. There is $50 million in the FY09 budget for the bank to assist local governments’ transportation projects.

• H.B. 1027: Allows online drug use risk reduction programs to satisfy some sentences.

• H.B. 1245: Addresses current problems with the public defender program at the state level. This bill prohibits senior judges from presiding over death penalty cases, lowers the bar for eligibility for indigent defense in misdemeanor cases and creates a fee-splitting formula for conflict of interest cases.
Tax proposals passed by the House
The following are tax proposals passed by the House and are presently being considered by the Senate:
• H.B. 237: Sales tax exemption for manufacturing machinery. For FY09, the state would lose $11.5 million with this tax exemption.

• H.B 272: Caps sales tax exemption for energy used in manufacturing at present levels. For FY09, the state would lose about $8.7 million with this exemption.

• H.B. 670: Income tax credit for hauling wood residuals to a renewable biomass facility. For FY09, the state would lose in between $4.5 million and $5.2 million with this exemption.

• H.B. 851: Expands current income tax credit for rehab of historic structures. For FY10, the state would lose anywhere between $2.7 million and $10 million.

• H.B. 957: Extends sales tax exemption for Goodwill and health clinics. For FY09, the state would lose under $1.5 million.

• H.B. 977: Tax incentives for high deductible health plans. For FY09, the state would lose $11.5 million with this with this exemption.

• H.B. 1100: Revisions to film tax credit. For FY09, the state would lose $10 million.

• H.B. 1133: Income tax credits for individuals’ contributions to organizations who will award private school student scholarships. For FY09, the state would lose $50 million with this exemption.

• H.R. 1246: Eliminates car tag tax and reimburses local governments for the lost revenue. Also, the resolution eliminates the state portion of the property tax and freezes assessed property values at 2008 levels. In FY10, the state would lose $423.7 million.
To find out more about any legislation, visit the Legislature’s home page at