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Hill: An end to birthday tax?
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One of the most wide-reaching pieces of legislation this year came across from the House last weak. HB 480 would end sales taxes on new vehicles and would end yearly ad valorem taxes on automobiles or “the birthday tax.”

Both would be replaced by a title fee that would equal 7 percent or the same level as sales taxes are now on new or dealer sold automobiles. This title fee would be capped at $2,000 no matter the cost of the automobile. Thereafter, any time a vehicle changes ownership or title, that 7 percent fee would be due by the buyer.  

Who likes this bill? New car and used car dealers and everyone who hates ad valorem taxes on automobiles. Who doesn’t like this bill?  Individuals buying a used automobile or small-time sellers of automobiles who are basically outside of the sales tax system.  

If you would like more information on this bill, feel free to contact our office.
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Please fax your responses to: (404) 657-7094

Senate action last week
The following legislation passed the Senate:
HB 59: Exempts sales and use taxes on pharmaceutical samples and medicines provided to patients and/or used in clinical trials.

HB 71: Disallows novelty driver’s licenses.

HB 157:  Changes conditions under which the book allowance or mandatory fees under HOPE may be reduced due to a lottery shortfall. This legislation would preserve the book allowance and mandatory fees unless there is a substantial shortfall in the Georgia Lottery for Education Account and would soften the triggering fees that currently exist that reduce the amount of activity and book fees HOPE students receive when there is a shortfall in the lottery reserve.

HB 226: Allows probationers returning to prison to have time spent waiting in county jails count toward their sentence.  

HB 229: Requires schools to conduct annual fitness tests on students grades 1-12 and report the results to all parents.

HB 343: Authorizes the Department of Public Safety to establish a non POST-certified position to be known as weight inspector for inspection of trucks and carriers.

Legislation passed by the House and presently considered by the Senate
HB 16: Prohibits the electronic tracking of the location or movement of another person without such other person’s consent.

HB 23: Prohibits the use of cell phones and text messaging by drivers under 18 years of age while driving.  

HB 45: Proof of citizenship would be required when registering to vote.

HB 160: Would increase the fees paid to the Department of Driver Services for reinstatement or restoration of suspended or revoked drivers’ licenses. The reinstatement fee for a first conviction would be $210 or $200 if paid by mail; second offense would be $310 or $300 by mail; third offense would be $410 or $400 by mail.

HB 280: Provides additional pay for mathematics and science teachers and removes the sunset provision from the Georgia Master Teacher Program. A certified secondary school teacher in mathematics or science would be moved to the salary step on the state salary schedule that is applicable to six years of creditable service.

HB 325: Authorizes DHR to require fingerprinting and criminal background investigations of all applicants for licensure and license renewal as emergency medical services personnel.  

HB 481: The Jobs, Opportunity, and Business Success Act of 2009 provides incentives for new job growth. This legislation provides a new business filing fee holiday, a $500 credit toward the unemployment insurance tax for each eligible employee hired, a $2,400 income tax credit for each eligible employee hired and the elimination of the sales tax deposit. The Georgia Works Tax Credit will be available quarterly for amounts between $25 and $125 per unemployed individual hired as an employee for up to four calendar quarters; this applies to unemployment insurance tax obligations. Creditable employees must be verified for eligibility to work in the U.S.

HB 484: Dependent children of military personnel stationed in Georgia on active duty would be eligible to receive the HOPE scholarship.

HB 473: Authorizes grants for clean energy property for a limited period of time from federal funds. Clean energy property includes any of the following: Solar energy equipment that uses solar radiation as a substitute for traditional energy, Energy Star certified geothermal heat pump systems, lightning retrofit projects, energy efficient buildings or wind equipment required to capture and convert wind energy into electricity.

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