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Burns: Session nears 11th hour
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Last legislative week ended with crossover day on Thursday, legislative day number 30, which is one of the longest days of the session. It is the responsibility of the legislature to enact new laws and legislative day 30 plays a key role in the law making process. This day is significant in that it is the last day that legislation must pass either the House or the Senate. The Georgia General Assembly meets for up to 40 session days, and there are only seven legislative days left after today.

For the second year in a row, we are trying to tackle the issue of the ad valorem tax paid on vehicles. HB 480 passed out of the House on crossover day by a vote of 133 to 39. This bill would replace the sales tax and annual ad valorem tax on our motor vehicles with a one-time title fee.  

Another benefit of this bill is that the excess funds could be dedicated to help partially fund trauma care in the state but will still be subjected to the appropriation’s process. If passed by the Senate, this would take affect on or after Jan. 1, 2010. The total of the one-time state and local title fees on the vehicle would be the lesser amount of $2,000 or 7 percent of the value of the vehicle. This bill is essential as it means that instead of paying the yearly ad valorem tax, a one time state and local title fee would be paid when the vehicle is titled.

Several tax bills were on the minds of the General Assembly last week. Two proposals, HB 481 and HB 482, passed out of the House on Thursday.  The Jobs, Opportunity, and Business Success Act of 2009 (HB 481), passed by a vote of 164 to 4. Both of these bills make changes to the tax code while both promoting and encouraging businesses and employment in Georgia. HB 481 would provide a $2,400 credit to businesses that keep people employed for at least two years, gives a $500 credit per employee to employers for hiring people that are unemployed and receive unemployment benefits, and eliminates state sales tax deposits.  

HB 482 passed unanimously. This bill would provide an exemption on all business inventories from the state’s .25 mill ad valorem tax. This is subject to the approval of voters on the 2010 ballot. In Georgia, creating jobs and increasing business are essential during economic times like we are in and these tax proposals help to accomplish both of those needs.

House Bill 261 creates a six-month window during which anyone purchasing one single-family residence will receive a tax credit of up to $3,600. This short tax window will immediately improve Georgia’s real estate market by creating an incentive to buy homes now rather than later.  The positive affects of increasing home sales will ripple out to many other areas of Georgia’s economy, including construction and manufacturing.
We passed some great legislation this week that will help Georgians. Please let me know if any of this legislation is important to you and your family.  

Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at my Capitol office at (404) 656-5116 or at I look forward to hearing from you soon.