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House tries to ease sales tax battles
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Last week, the Georgia General Assembly reached its halfway mark as the 20th legislative day (Feb. 18) came to a close. A decision was made to recess for the next two weeks to focus our time and attention on the 2011 budget.

Due to significant budget shortfalls and waiting the incoming revenue figures, the General Assembly will take the next few weeks to determine the options for making cuts to the budget and balancing our budget, as required by our Constitution. During the recess, members of the Appropriations Committee of the House and Senate will meet daily to work on solutions to our budget shortfalls.

Last week several bills of importance were passed by the House including the following:

In order to avoid lengthy and costly disputes regarding joint sales tax collections and disbursal between the county and municipalities, the House passed H.B. 991: Sales and use tax; county and municipal; distribution of proceeds; revise. We want to encourage cooperation and negotiations in good faith and within a timely manner between county and municipal entities. This bill allows judicial proceedings to take place if an agreement is not reached within 60 days of mediation or non-binding arbitration. 

Also, relating to counties and municipalities, the House passed H.B. 122: Counties and municipalities; budget  excess; searchable web site; provisions, which requires local governments with a budget of over $1 million to develop and operate a searchable Web site  available to the  public regarding their budget and audits performed. This helps  to ensure transparency and accountability.

To provide state oversight for regional commissions, in relation to Economic Development, the House passed H.B. 867. This bill will create a Commission on Regional Planning which will provide for the state oversight and will be composed of the governor as chairperson, in addition to 12 members, one of which will be chosen by the Speaker of the House. The Commission on Regional Planning would be responsible for helping to coordinate state contract terms, identifying appropriate state and federal funding for shared commission goals, and identifying issues and opportunities requiring state, regional or local action.

The General Assembly will go back in session March 8.

Rep. Ann Purcell serves on the following Committees: Appropriations, Appropriations-Higher Education, Children and Youth, Economic Development and Tourism, Education, and Health and Human Services.

Rep. Ann R. Purcell
504 Coverdell Legislative Office Building
18 Capitol Square, Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: (404) 656-0188