Published on: Feb. 17, 2017
Chamber Legislative Update
CHAMBER LEGISLATIVE AGENDA UPDATE (as of 2/17/17):
- Military Affairs Study Committee Recommendations: HB 224 by Rep. Belton seeks to amend the Quality Basic Education Act to provide that a military student may attend any public school in their local school system.
- Commercial Property Tax Assessments: Two bills, HB 347, sponsored by Rep. Knight, and HB 325, sponsored by Rep. Ron Stephens, have been dropped in an effort to provide more predictability and transparency to the assessing of commercial properties. Both bills propose amending the statute when the income approach is utilized. Both would allow the property owner to supply income and expense data in computing the assessment. HB 347 also allows data supplied by the commissioner to be considered pursuant to OCGA 48-5-269. Other amendments proposed under HB 347 include changes to the procedures on approval of the tax digest, to procedure and duties of the board of equalization, and to the appeal procedure. Both bills have been assigned to House Ways and Means Committee.
- Tax exemption for marine repair industry: HB 125 introduced by Rep. Ron Stephens—creates an exemption for repair of boats valued over $500,000. Passed the House 152 to 14 February 16.
- Online Sales Tax: HB 61, sponsored by Rep. Powell, would levy a 5% tax on all online sales made to those living in Georgia. The Bill passed the House 157 to 11 on February 15 and has headed to the Senate for a first read.
- Hospital Medicaid Financing Program: SB 70 was signed into law by the Governor on February 13. This legislation will extend the sunset on the “provider fee” for hospitals through June 2020. It is expected to generate $311 million annually in state Medicaid funds and assist in drawing down $600 million in federal Medicaid dollars. We thank the General Assembly and Governor for their leadership and hard work on this important issue.
- Education: HB 338, sponsored by Rep. Tanner, provides for support and assistance for low performing schools. The Bill has had a second read in the House.
- Destination Resort Act: SB 79 and HB 158, introduced by Senator Beach and Rep. Ron Stephens respectively, would provide for licenses for Destination Resorts. There have been several changes to SB 79, as well as an initial hearing with questions and testifying but no vote was taken. Changes and a potential committee hearing expected next week. Either measure requires passage by Georgia voters in the November 2018 election to allow for the facilities.
- Transportation: The Georgia Department of Transportation has awarded $8.5 million to pave 12 miles of Interstate 95 from north of I-16 to south of Georgia/South Carolina Bridge.The anticipated completion date for the project is November 30.
- Water Wars: Special Master hands Georgia a win in the water wars: https://www.gachamber.com/georgia-wins-florida-v-georgia-supreme-court-challenge/