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State tax revenues slip
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The House of Representatives passed its version of the FY08 amended budget on Friday by a vote of 159 to 6. HB 889 added some $730 million in total funds to the FY08 general budget.

Changes include:
• $6.6 million in state funds that will mean payments to Disproportionate Share Hospitals not currently receiving funds for indigent care.
• Changes $25 million for school buses from cash to bonds.
• $30 million in funding to address an equalization issue for a number of generally fast-growing school systems.
• $1.6 million in new funds for Adult Protective Services in DHR to replace reduced federal funds.

The Senate is presently working on its version.
Revenues slip in January

A trend of declining revenues continued in January with a 7.1 percent decrease compared to January 2007. Revenues totaled 1.8 billion, a reduction of $140.8 million.

For the first month of this fiscal year, individual income taxes declined by 7.7 percent. Overall sales tax collections were up marginally at 0.9 percent, but the distribution to the state was a negative 1.8 percent. This report included Christmas retail sales receipts. Total motor fuel taxes were up 3.1 percent. Corporate taxes declined 56.8 percent, but are normally up and down within a quarter.

Year-to-date total revenues are up $207 million or 2 percent. Individual income taxes (about 1/2 of revenues) are up 3 percent and sales taxes (1/3 of revenues) are up 1.1 percent. YTD revenue growth of 2 percent is not meeting the growth projections of 4 percent.
Bills of interest
The following bills passed the Senate this week:
• S.B. 216: Outlines which individuals are not qualified to serve on grand juries: anyone under indictment for a felony or anyone convicted of a felony and has not had their rights restored.

• S.B. 315: Extends 5 percent fine add-ons to be used for teen driver education.

• S.B. 342: The “Water Conservation and Drought Relief Act.” Allows the Soil and Water Conservation commission to fund improvements and construction on reservoirs.

• S.B. 352: Brings the Environmental Protection Division under provisions of Administrative Procedures Act except for federal law mandates.
Legislation introduced
The following bills were introduced in the Senate this week:
• S.B. 394: Sends a portion of the funds generated by traffic light cameras to a trauma care network.

• S.B. 395: Establishes the Safety Net Clinic Grant Program, which allows care and protection of indigent and elderly patients.

• S.B. 400: Allows the director of the State Forestry Commission to appoint investigators to investigate violations of forest fire laws and allows investigators to make arrests based on such violations.

• S.B. 409: Exempts motorcycle riders over 21 from wearing protective head and eye gear. These riders must have minimum $10,000 medical insurance.

• S.B. 413: Would regulate wrestling and martial arts.

• S.B. 432: Allows the victim’s family or other witnesses with personal knowledge of a murder victim to testify at the sentencing of the defendant.

• S.B. 434: Changes “Department of Technical and Adult Education” to “Technical College System of Georgia.”
Jayson Foster
Last Tuesday, the Senate adopted S.R. 762 recognizing Georgia Southern University quarterback Jayson Foster for winning the Walter Payton Award for Division I-AA football.  
To find out more about any legislation, visit the Legislature’s home page at