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Friday, February 10, 2017

NOTES FROM THE SENATE, FEBRUARY 10, 2017

AMENDED BUDGET NEARS AGREEMENT AS SESSION KICKS INTO GEAR

The House and the Senate neared agreement on the 2017 Amended Budget after the Senate passed the budget 53-1 and leaders looked to resolve differences. The House continued to move to completion of the FY 2018 Budget as the Session approaches the halfway point.

JANUARY REVENUES UP 7.5%--REFUNDS AFFECTING?

January revenues rebounded in January showing a 7.5% increase with Individual Income Taxes growing 11.0%. Corporate collections lagged at minus 10.5%. Net Sales Taxes came in at a 2.0% growth. All together, the month showed a positive gain of $154.05 million. Individual Income Tax Refunds were up 22.6% or $8.3 million while Withholding taxes were up $110 million or 12.2%.

Tag, Title and Fees were up $10.01 million but Ad Valorem Taxes decreased minus 0.7%.
Motor Fuel Taxes were up 2.4% on revenues of $144.5 million. Highway Impact Fees were up $541,000 and Motel/Hotel Taxes were up $483,000.

The state is now $160.7 million ahead of budget and the trailing 12 month average is holding at 6.7% revenue increase. The net gain exclusive of the new Fuel taxes shows an increase YTD of 3.67%. Overall, state revenues are up 4.6% for the year so far after 7 months.

PASSED BY SENATE, NOW IN THE HOUSE

SB 12 - Allows licensed dental hygienists to perform cleaning under general supervision. (Passed 48-1)

SB 14 - Extends rural hospital tax credit to LLCs and S Corporations. (Passed 41-5)

SB 18 - Extends to personnel of the Georgia Peace Officers and Training Council the right to retain their weapon and badge after retirement. (Passed 47-1)

SB 40 - Authorizes emergency medical services personnel to transport certain mentally ill patients if they have probable cause for believing that the person is a mentally ill person requiring involuntary treatment. (Passed 47-1)

SB 48 - Freezes the cost of certain hunting licenses (Resident hunting license; Resident big game license; Nonresident big game license) that are renewed before expiration. (Passed 53-1)

LEGISLATION INTRODUCED IN THE SENATE THIS WEEK

SB 115 - Prohibits the sale of ethanol added gasoline.

SB 116 - Local governments would be prevented from charging a storm-water collection and disposal fee on properties that are designed to control water overflow during storm events.

SB 118 - Raises the age limit from six to twenty one for health insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorders.

SB 121 - Allows the State Health Officer to permit individuals and entities to dispense medications that counteract opioid overdose, such as naloxone. Requires pharmacies to keep detailed records the sale of all such agents.

SB 122 - Creates one zone statewide for firearms deer hunting starting Sept. 8 through the 3rd Monday of January.

SB 123 - Allows destination cancer hospitals to apply for a CON to increase bed capacity of Georgia residents beyond the 35% limit now in place.

SB 128 - Allows sharing of driver's license information, such as date of birth, gender or identification number, with the Department of Natural Resources for use in the detection and prevention of fraud in applications for licenses, permits, and registrations.

SB 133 - Exempts corporations with a net worth less than $100,000, including capital stock, paid-in surplus, and earned surplus, from the corporate net worth tax.

SB 134 - Allows banks and credit unions to offer lottery-like programs for consumers making deposits to a savings account.

SB 137 - Under the Child Support Recovery Act, requires payer to pay the full fee of $25 required by the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 instead of the child support recipient paying the fee.

SB 142 - Provides for automated traffic cameras in school zones, to record and fine drivers who speed by more than 10 MPH one hour before and after school hours. Fines are limited to $125.00.


Full transcripts of bills may be found at http://www.legis.ga.gov/en-US/default.aspx . Simply type the bill number into the box at the top left-hand corner of the screen and specify if it is in the House or the Senate. As always, I welcome any questions you may have.

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