As the halfway mark of the 2008 legislative session approaches, we continue to move legislation through our process and key initiatives are now being heard in committee prior to consideration by the full House.
Tax relief has been a key issue for many months and in subcommittee this week, we heard testimony from the Speaker on his property tax relief proposals. On the floor of the House, we adopted House Bill 919 creating oversight of the Georgia Lottery Corporation to protect the future of HOPE scholarships.
In a subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, House Speaker Glenn Richardson presented his proposal to provide property tax and ad-valorem tax relief to Georgia citizens. House Bill 979 and House Resolution 1246 would eliminate the ad valorem tax on personal vehicles, freeze property tax assessments at the 2008 level and provide Georgians with increased tax deductions for portions of their property taxes.
The Senate also took a step toward property tax relief with the passage of two bills to cap property tax assessments. Our debate on tax reform will continue and I look forward to working with my colleagues to bring reform relief to Georgians.
Georgia’s lottery has funded the HOPE scholarships and pre-K programs that have benefited our students for many years. Recently questions have been raised about how the Georgia Lottery Corporation has used lottery funds for excessive staff bonuses rather than for scholarships and new pre-K programs. I was a co-sponsor of House Bill 919 to create a legislative oversight committee to ensure that we continue to use lottery funds to benefit our students above all else.
I continue to attend meetings in the House Transportation Committee as we strive to find solutions to meet Georgia’s traffic needs. We heard testimony on a bill proposing a one-cent sales tax that would fund statewide traffic priorities. We still have a lot of work to do but finding more efficient ways to move people and transport goods on our roads is a high priority.
I will continue to keep you up to date on our actions as the legislative session progresses. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at my Capitol office at (404) 656-0213.