The Breakdown
An update from the gold dome.
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April 5, 2022 - Sine Die Edition

Like clockwork, the Georgia General Assembly saved plenty of action for the last day of the 2022 session, including the FY 2023 budget – the one piece of legislation required to pass by law. Now the Governor has until May 14, 2022 - 40 days to review hundreds of measures that landed on his desk for final approval or veto.

The FY 2023 budget was agreed to by the House and Senate appropriation negotiators early Monday morning and approved by both chambers by the final hour of the session. The funding proposal will increase salaries for most state employees by $5,000 and gives state retirees their first cost-of-living adjustment in 14 years. Targeted raises will go to correctional officers in the adult and juvenile prison systems to bolster retention rates. The budget also increases spending by 10.8% over the budget the General Assembly adopted last spring. It includes an $11.8 billion investment in K-12 education, the largest in the state’s history.

Additionally, budget negotiators agreed to eliminate the institutional fees the University System of Georgia began charging students during the Great Recession and increase Medicaid coverage for low-income mothers in Georgia to a full year following the birth of their children, up from the current six months. The FY 2023 budget takes effect July 1, 2022.

In the final hour of the evening, the House and Senate agreed to a compromise on HB 1473 by Rep. Shaw Blackmon, legislation to cut the state’s income tax. The final bill includes a phased-in rollback of state’s income tax rate from 5.49% to 4.99% over six years, starting with the 2024 tax year. The current tax rate is 5.75%. The bill also includes a trigger mechanism to ensure tax cuts do not continue if the economy declines. Taxes would not be reduced in any year where state revenues do not increase by at least 3% or the year’s net revenue collections are not higher than those of the previous five fiscal years. The legislation also increases taxpayers’ personal exemptions. Single filers will get an exemption of $12,000. Exemptions for married couples filing jointly will increase every two years, from $18,500 in 2024 to $24,000 in 2030.

Orders of Appreciation

As you are likely aware, 2022 is an election year for members of the Georgia General Assembly and all constitutional officers, our congressional members, and our Junior U.S. Senator.  Many have opted to retire from public service, and we will miss them tremendously. On behalf of the Cobb Chamber, we thank Sen. Lindsey Tippins, Rep. Matt Dollar, and Rep. Erica Thomas for their hard work and dedication to serving Cobb County. All three have announced their intention not to seek re-election.

Under the new district lines created through the reapportionment special session, Rep. Roger Bruce and Rep. Sheila Jones will no longer have portions of Cobb County in their legislative districts, and we will miss them not being a part of our delegation.

In addition, we will miss working with Sen. Bruce Thompson, Rep. Erick Allen and Sen. Jen Jordan as part of the Cobb Legislative delegation. All have announced their candidacy for constitutional offices.


Legislation of Interest

During the 2022 legislative session, the Cobb Chamber signed onto letters of support for several measures that follow the tenants of our legislative priorities and pro-business agenda.

SB 142  by Sen. Jeff Mullis would have allowed for sports wagering on both professional sports as well as collegiate teams. Under this bill, the Georgia Lottery Corporation would be responsible for regulating for sports wagering, and the proceeds derived from such activity would be dedicated to the HOPE Scholarship fund. – Did not pass

SB 332 by Sen. John Alberts also known as the Georgia Inform Consumers Act, continues Georgia’s efforts to crack down on organized retail crime by providing critical protections for consumers who unknowingly purchase stolen and counterfeit products from online marketplaces. SB 332 will require online marketplaces to verify high-volume third-party sellers and provide consumers with an email, phone number or direct electronic communication to contact sellers with questions or concerns about the products they are seeking to purchase. Governor’s Desk for consideration

HB 961 by Rep. Chuck Efstration cleans up statutory language in Georgia's apportionment statute addressing damages in civil litigation originally passed in 2005. In a recent Georgia Supreme Court ruling, Hatcher v. Alston & Bird, inconsistencies in the statute were at issue. Under the guidance of the ruling in that case, HB 961 clarifies the legislative intent of the statute and reinstates the apportionment of damages aligned with the apportionment of fault in single defendant cases. – Governor’s Desk for consideration

HB 1291 by Rep. Vance Smith - known as the “high-tech exemption,” this incentive has been responsible for attracting significant technological investment in Georgia for over 20 years. HB 1291 renews and modernizes the incentive which spurs Georgia’s massive technology investment across multiple businesses, bringing jobs, tax revenue, and economic growth to our state. This bill also puts in place a tax on those companies that are choosing to invest here, which will support local and state government while also encouraging large scale investment. – Governor’s Desk for consideration

Update on Additional Chamber Legislative Priorities

SB 87 by Sen. Michael “Doc” Rhett is also known as the "Senator Jack Hill Veterans’ Acti" has been supported by the Chamber since the 2021 Session. If signed by the Governor, taxpayers can take a portion of their refund and direct the funds toward a disabled veteran benefit organization. This measure is in honor of former Senator Jack Hill who was a close friend and mentor of the author, as well as the long-standing Senate Appropriations Committee Chair. – Governor’s Desk for consideration

SB 331 by Sen. John Albers is a bill designed to prevent local governments from enacting ordinances dictating employee hours, scheduling, or regulating employee output during work hours. – Governor’s Desk for consideration

SB 339 by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick creates a green alert program to notify the public when a veteran or military service member known to have a physical or mental health condition related to his or her service, or who is at imminent risk of self-harm, is missing. The bill is also known as the “Green Call Act.” – Did not pass

SB 357 by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick provides military students with the discretion to select adjacent school districts for attendance and to provide for a standard process of military student school transfers. – Did not pass

SB 361 by Sen. Larry Walker uses a proven tax incentive structure to encourage investment in local law enforcement. SB 361 creates a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for private and corporate taxpayers choosing to invest in law enforcement organizations. – Governor’s Desk for consideration

SB 379 by Sen. Brian Strickland would create the Office of Workforce Development, which will establish a program to promote the creation and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs in the state, with the goal of creating more programs to support the demands of our growing economy and current workforce challenges. Businesses that train up to five students will be eligible to receive compensation of up to $10,000 per student upon completion of the apprenticeship course. – Governor’s Desk for consideration

SR 463 by Senator Steve Gooch creates a Joint Study Committee on the Electrification of Transportation for the State of Georgia to establish a comprehensive, strategic plan that sets policy objectives for infrastructure, economic preparedness, transportation funding, innovation, and the development of a successful electric vehicle market in the state of Georgia. – Governor’s Desk for consideration

HB 934 by Rep. Rob Leverette legislation allows a Single County Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) to be collected for the full amount of time (five years), as opposed to ending once the estimated amount is collected. To collect for the maximum amount of time, an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) would have to be in place between the county and cities and all proceeds would be spent according to the IGA - on transportation purposes. This bill will not be retroactive but will apply to TSPLOST referendums once enacted. – Governor’s Desk for consideration

HB 1034 by Rep. Marcus Wiedower extends the sunset provision for a sales tax exemption on certain sporting event tickets through 2031. The bill proposes a 9-year extension which is necessary to secure major events like the Super Bowl, World Cup, and other professional sports championships. – Governor’s Desk for consideration

HB 1053 by Rep. Ron Stephens extends the film post-production tax credit set to expire on January 1, 2023, through 2027. The tax credit has been fully subscribed since its inception and has successfully supported an extending post-production industry in Georgia. – Governor’s Desk for consideration

HB 1058 by Rep. Bruce Williamson allows for elective consolidated corporate tax returns. Currently, the law allows for the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) to give permission for consolidated reporting, and this bill removes the DOR discretion to allow taxpayers to make their own filing determinations. – Governor’s Desk for consideration

HB 1064 by Rep. Jesse Petrea allows for Georgians receiving military retirement income to have most, or all income exempt from state tax. Governor’s Desk for consideration

HB 1520 by Rep. Lee Hawkins creates a Council on Addressing Healthcare Workforce Challenges. This idea emerged from the Georgia Hospital Association due to its member hospitals’ struggle with staffing. – Did not pass

Legislative Calendar

All done! Now the Governor has 40 days to review and consider the legislation that made his desk for either signature into law or to veto.  If he does not veto or sign a bill, it will automatically go into law.

After that, the 2021-2022 legislative term is officially over. By order of the state constitution, the General Assembly will reconvene for a new legislative term on the second Monday in January of 2023.


Advocacy 101

Now what happens? While many bills died as the Georgia General Assembly adjourned Sine Die, never fret – there is still opportunity for issues to be considered. Several study committees passed one or both chambers, setting the stage for deeper dives into a myriad of issues. From the reports generated, new bills will be formed for the 2023-2024 legislative session. Stay tuned!

If you have any questions about the Cobb Chamber Government Affairs Committee, the Cobb Chamber legislative priorities, or legislative advocacy in general, please reach out to Amanda Seals, Executive Vice President of Advocacy and Government Relations.

 

1100 Circle 75 Pkwy.
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Atlanta, GA 30339

770-980-2000
cobbchamber.org

 
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