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Values of tax breaks to be weighed
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Now that we have passed the 30th legislative day of the 2010 session, all legislation approved by the state House or Senate has “crossed over.” This means that for the last 10 legislative days of this session, we will debate and vote on bills and resolutions that have already passed the Senate.

Last week some Senate bills made their way through House committees and were considered on the House floor.

Senate Bill 319 was one of the first bills the house considered. This bill seeks to improve our public schools by broadening the term “textbook,” to include digital material, such as computer hardware, software or technical equipment. The purpose of this bill is to allow schools the option to buy and use devices like Kindles, iPads and other types of electronic textbooks.

Senate Bill 341 places residency requirements on the HOPE GED voucher. This legislation will add consistency to the HOPE Scholarship programs and ensure that these programs only benefit Georgia residents.

Senate Bill 206 will help the General Assembly weigh the economic benefits of existing tax expenditures. Specifically, this legislation will require the Office of Planning and Budget to create an annual report that lists the economic impact of all tax credits, deductions and exemptions. This report will then be used by the General Assembly to determine if these credits, deductions and exemptions are benefiting our economy, as they were intended.

We also passed several measures introduced in the House.

To encourage employment and stimulate businesses in Georgia, the House passed the JOBS Act of 2010 on Crossover Day. House Bill 1023, the Jobs, Opportunity, and Business Success Act, seeks to encourage employment and stimulate our businesses and the economy. Using incentives and tax credits, our goal is to help the people in our state.

Specifically, this bill would provide employers that hire people that are currently receiving unemployment compensation with the “Georgia Works Tax Credit.” Also, it will allow corporations and individuals to file an income tax exclusion for long-term capital gains and also eliminate the corporate net worth tax beginning in 2012.  

Another benefit is the creation of the Angel Investor Income Tax Credit that promotes third party investments in early stage businesses. All of these options are incentives for businesses to stay or relocate to Georgia and for our citizens to once again have employment opportunities created by the private sector.

Tax reform has been a major topic all across our nation. In an effort to research Georgia’s current revenue structure, we passed House Bill 1405, the 2010 Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians. This will create a Special Joint Committee composed of 11 members including Gov. Perdue, two members each appointed by the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker, four economists and the chairperson of both the Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business. Also created under this bill is the Special Legislative Joint Committee which will include six House members and six Senate members.  

By creating these committees, the General Assembly as a whole is working together, in a bipartisan manner, to research our tax structure in Georgia. Bringing together these leaders in our state, our goal is to reach workable solutions, with the committees offering suggestions and making recommendations.  

After our first week considering Senate bills, we will take a short break to look at the state budget and review pending legislation.
Although we will not be in session next week, I will still be working. I am always eager to hear your thoughts and concerns. Please feel free to call me with any questions or comments that you might have regarding our state.

You can reach me at my Capitol office at (404) 656-5116 or email at

Thank you for your time.