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More on House Bill 385
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As the Georgia House of Representatives reconvened for its 31st legislative day on March 21, members began Committee hearings on Senate Bills and Resolutions, which have been passed by the Senate on or before crossover day.

Several House Resolutions were addressed by the Georgia House and passed.

HR 248, National Board Certified Teachers; intent to fund; express

This resolution is meant to express the intent of the members of the House of Representatives and their funding for National Board Certified Teachers. Georgia strongly encourages each teacher to become board certified and offers them a 10 percent stipend for 10 years in their current salary to do so. The teacher’s stipend that has already become certified was reduced by 1/2 in 2009 and then eliminated entirely in 2010. The members of the House of Representatives are committed to restoring funding for National Board Certified Teachers at the earliest possible date, as funding permits.

HR 459, Professional Standards Commission; advance degree certificate upgrade; support change

This resolution expresses support for a recent ruling of the Professional Standards Commission relating to teacher certificate upgrades. The ruling says teachers who get upgrades for graduate degrees must pursue them in an area related to their teaching fields and that the degree must be from a credible institution.

HB 385, Revenue a taxation; revenue structure; comprehensive revision.

Many of you have asked me about the tax reform legislation, particularly HB 385. This bill is the result of the citizens’ tax council members required by House Bill 1405 from last year.

I want to clarify what led to the introduction of House Bill 385, what it means and what it does not mean.

In 2010, the Georgia General Assembly passed HB 1405, creating a citizen-led tax council to make recommendations to the legislature on possible changes to tax laws that would make Georgia more jobs friendly.

HB 1405 required that the legislature introduce legislation comprising all of the council’s recommendations. The bill does not require the legislature to pass legislation that comprises all, or some, or any of the council’s recommendations.

HB 385 is the product of the requirements spelled out in HB 1405.

As an aside, legislation pertaining to taxes must originate in the House, not in the Senate, according to the state constitution. This explains why it is a house bill.

The bill, as it is currently written, is tax neutral. It would result in a one-third to one-half reduction in the state’s 6 percent income tax rate in exchange for levying the state sales tax on some services and eliminating certain sales tax exemptions.

I expect that a number of the tax council’s recommendations will not remain in HB 385 when, or if, it is passed. Remember — the requirement was that the legislation as introduced would contain all recommendations.

I am sure, though, that the final bill, if it is passed, will continue to be tax neutral and that the final product will be jobs friendly.

Some of the proposals submitted by the council are worthy of consideration while others are non-starters.

I appreciate the efforts by the citizen’s tax council members, which included the immediate past chair of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the president of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, several citizens and business owners, and four Georgia economists.

I will continue to push for low taxes and more of a state “flat tax” system to encourage businesses to locate, expand and thrive in Georgia. A job is the best stimulus for the economy, not government spending or subsidies.

Thank you for your continuing interest and comments.

Note: Legislation that is passed in the Georgia House of Representatives must be passed by the Senate and sent to the governor before it can become a state law. Other legislation can be viewed on the web at

Contact Information for Rep. Ann R. Purcell, 401 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334, Phone: (404) 656-5139 or email: