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State revenues growing
Hill Jack
Sen. Jack Hill

As you will see from the long list of legislation introduced and the growing list of bills passed, the 2016 General Assembly is in full swing and moving towards the halfway mark. January revenues came in and continue to show strong results. An overall growth of 10 percent netted down to 6.4 percent when the new transportation revenues are subtracted.

January is one of the stronger months of the year, reflecting Christmas sales tax numbers, and this month revenues totaled $2.04 billion with a gain of $186.7 million. Individual income taxes came in at 7.9 percent on a gain of $83.0 million. Corporate income taxes showed a strong gain of $18.4 million on revenues of $34.3 million.

Christmas sales reflected in sales tax reports filed in January were strong over the previous year, gaining a net $13.2 million on revenues of $557.5 million for the month, up 2.4 percent. Tobacco taxes were negative at -9.7 percent, and alcoholic beverages gained 6.7percent. Auto tag/title ad valorem taxes came in at 12.2 percent, or $8.4 million gain.

Transportation revenues came in at $67.3 million, or 36 percent of the total gain for the month. Motor fuel taxes brought in a gain of $54.9 million, impact fees $1 million and hotel/motel fees $11.3 million.

So, after seven months of the fiscal year, the state is up $1.02 billion in revenue year-to-date, for an increase of 8.9 percent overall or net 5.2 percent, without the new transportation funds. At this point, it appears the state’s revenues are $279 million ahead of budget for the fiscal year.

Legislation passed in the Senate last week

• SB 255-Establishes new garnishment proceeding in response to federal court order by requiring the garnishee to give the debtor more time to respond, as well as requiring that the garnishee explicitly lay out what assets are exempted from garnishment and simplifying the process of enacting those exemptions. No more than 25 percent may be garnished from direct deposit payments. (Passed 50-0, goes to governor)

• SB 278-Increases the penalties for pimping and pandering and requires registration on the State Sex Offender Registry upon the second conviction for pandering. (Passed 53-0)

• SB 283-Allows banks to pool public funds in order to minimize risks. Banks with assets exceeding $50 billion are required to use this multi-bank risk pool, but smaller banks are simply given the option to do so. (Passed 51-3)

• SB 308-Provides grants to nonprofit organizations which provide pregnancy services to woman who are not likely to be able to afford them otherwise, with the intention of reducing abortions. (Passed 38-16)

• HB 742-Aligns Georgia tax code with changes in the federal tax code, especially with respect to corporations. All Corporations must file taxes by April 15, except for S Corporations, which must file taxes by March 15. (Passed 51-1, goes to governor)

Legislation introduced in the Senate last week

• SB 350-Would dedicate of monies from the 5 percent excise tax on consumer fireworks to trauma care and fire services. (Public Safety)

* SB 352-Brings fantasy sports content operators under state licensure, sets license fees at $50,000 initial, $10,000 renewal, and requires audits. Empowers state atttorney general to implement additional regulations as deemed necessary. (Regulated Industries and Utilities)

• SB 355-Would end punitive testing consequences for both teachers and students related to federal, state, or locally mandated standardized tests, through alternative assessments. (Education and Youth Committee)

• SB 357 Provides that establishing a school board code of ethics that does not interfere with the right of freedom of speech is in the discretion of the local board of education, as well as eliminating previously required training. (Education and Youth Committee)

• SB 369-Limits type of building for sale of fireworks. Limits the quantity of firepower and locations where fireworks can be used, as well as limiting hours of use to 10 p.m. unless specially permitted. Prohibits fireworks near flammable areas and other access areas, and during droughts. (Public Safety)

Evans County leadership visit

A leadership group from Evans County visited the Capitol this week. Among the highlights of the day were photos with Gov. and Mrs. Nathan Deal. They also heard from department heads and observed the House and Senate in session. Other visitors this week came from Emanuel County, Georgia Southern and Effingham County.

I may be reached at

234 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334

(404) 656-5038 (phone)

(404) 657-7094 (fax)

E-mail at

Or call toll-free at

1-800-367-3334 day or night

Reidsville office: (912) 557-3811