This week, the Georgia General Assembly will meet for legislative day 28 on Tuesday, March 15, which is also Crossover Day. Crossover Day is the last day for a bill to pass out of its Chamber of origin to be considered by the other body during the 2022 Legislative Session. The Georgia General Assembly will meet through Friday, March 18, completing the 31st legislative day. Last week, all candidates for state office had to qualify at the State Capitol. The Secretary of State has the qualified candidate’s information for view here. https://sos.ga.gov/qualifying-candidate-information
Savannah Area Chamber’s Legislative Priorities in Action Last Week
House Bill 911, FY 2023 Appropriation Bill passed the House on March 11 and has been submitted to the Senate for their consideration. Among other things, HB 911 includes several items that were in the Savannah Chamber’s legislative agenda: Funding for Savannah State University’s new physical plant, funding for the completion of the Savannah Convention Center expansion, and funding for Georgia Southern University.
House Bill 1053 (sponsored by State Representative Ron Stephens) extends the film post-production tax credit set to expire on January 1, 2023, through 2027. Since its inception, the tax credit has been fully subscribed and has successfully supported an extending post-production industry in Georgia. The Bill was passed out of the Ways and Means Committee on March 11 and is in the Rules Committee for consideration. HB 1053 is in line with the Chamber’s efforts to support the film and post-production tax credits and advocate for the continued protection of these credits.
House Bill 1064 (sponsored by State Representative Jesse Petrea) unanimously passed out of the House on February 28. HB 1064 passed out of the Senate Finance Committee on March 11 and is now in the Senate Rules Committee for consideration. This legislation will exempt up to $17,500 in military retirement income from state income tax for those under 62 in Georgia. If they work and earn up to $17,500, they can exempt another $17,500 from state income tax for a total of $35,000. This issue has been a priority for the Savannah Area Chamber for several years, and we look forward to the Bill’s passage
Senate Bill 379 would create the Office of Workforce Development under the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia. SB 379 would allow TCSG to establish a program to promote the creation and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs in Georgia. It provides incentives for small and medium-sized businesses that serve as sponsors of this program. This apprenticeship expansion program will train Georgians in jobs that are in high demand and critical to the workforce. Companies that train up to five students will be eligible to receive compensation of up to $10,000 per student upon completing the apprenticeship course. SB 379 passed out of the Senate on March 11 and is now in the House Higher Education Committee for consideration. The Chamber has supported programs like apprenticeships, dual enrollment, and Georgia College & Career Academies.
While not on our Legislative Agenda for 2022, the Chamber will continue to monitor the following legislation that made moves last week: HB 934, House Bill 1302, House Bill 1013, and House Bill 1437.
HB 934 would allow a single county Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) to be collected for the full five years. Current law prohibits a single county TSPLOST from collecting past the projected revenue amount cited in the adopted resolution. HB 934 passed the House and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.
House Bill 1013, the Mental Health Parity Act, passed out of the House on March 8. It was submitted to the Senate and assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee for consideration. HB 1013 helps to provide community-based resources for mental health individuals as an alternative to housing people with mental illness in jails. This will also help to alleviate overcrowding in our county jails. HB 1013 will enhance resources for frontline responders and help provide solutions for individuals dealing with substance abuse.
House Bill 1302 would refund $1.6 Billion of surplus state funds to Georgians who filed income tax returns for both 2020 and 2021 taxable years. HB 1302 would provide A $250 refund to single filers, $375 to head of household filers, and $500 to joint filers. HB 1302 passed the House on March 1. On March 9, the Senate Finance Committee passed HB 1302, and it is now in the Senate Rules Committee for consideration.
House Bill 1437 seeks to lower Georgia state income tax standard rate from 5.75% to 5.25%, eliminating most deductions while raising the standard deduction to $12,000 per year for a single file and $24,000 for joint filers. Currently, taxpayers over 65 can exclude their nonwork retirement income from state income tax. Under HB 1437, that exemption would remain. HB 1437 passed the House on March 9 and was referred to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.