NOTES FROM THE SENATE
BY SENATOR JACK HILL,
May 17, 2013
GOVERNOR’S VETOES SCARCE IN 2013
Governor Deal released only 5 Veto statements and two signing statements as the signing deadline ended May 7.
Vetoes No. 1 and No. 2 were local bills applying only to Dodge County.
Veto No. 3 of HB 193 extended previously granted sales tax exemptions to non-business entities including health centers and food banks. Also in the bill was a restoration of the Sales Tax Holiday in August and a pass-through transfer of the film tax credit. The Governor called for a review of the bill by the Competitiveness Initiative taskforce to determine if the exemptions should be renewed in the 2014 Session.
Veto No. 4 of HB 240 expanded the licensed providers in the speech pathology field that may bill for Medicaid reimbursement. Citing the pressure on the Medicaid budget, the Governor noted a potential inequity among providers.
Veto No. 5 of SB 11 would have established the Georgia Geospatial Advisory Council. The Governor noted the potential cost of new services required of various state agencies under the act. The Governor stated his concerns in creating a new council without appropriations.
Signing Statement No. 1 concerned HB 276 which extended the life of the Hazardous Waste Trust Fund but added language tying future fee amounts to the net appropriations of funds from the fees. The Governor asserted that the Georgia Constitution limits the dedication of any funds without the Constitution being amended and barring that, no future General Assembly could be obligated by Ga. code alone.
Signing Statement No. 2 concerned SB 293 and stated his reservations with the renaming of Friendship Road east of I-985.
GOVERNOR SIGNS $850 MILLION BOND PACKAGE FOR STATE INFRASTRUCTURE
There were no budget item vetoes in Gov. Deal’s Veto Message last week. The State follows a Debt Management Plan which is reviewed along with all financial and policy dealings by the bond underwriters when the state goes to the bond market to sell bonds. Georgia has maintained it AAA highest bond rating with all three rating agencies and this has saved the state millions and millions of dollars in interest over the years. Only a handful of states have been able to hold onto the top rating during the recession, but Georgia is one of the few.
The Bond package puts investments in virtually every part of state government and keeps this growing state moving forward.
The major portions of the bond section were:
· Dept. of Corrections – repairs, security upgrades, vehicles $ 16.4 million
· Department of Defense – armories $ 3.2 mil
· Georgia Bureau of Investigation – repairs, vehicles $ 1.5 mil
· Department of Juvenile Justice – facilities $ 10.6 mil
· Public Safety facilities – vehicles, facility repairs $ 9.6 mil
· Community Affairs – reservoirs $ 4.5 mil
· Environmental Facilities – loan programs for water and sewer $ 24.2 mil
· Economic Development—World Congress Center, parking lot $ 15.0 mil
· Georgia Ports deepening – Savannah Harbor $ 50.0 mil
· Dept. of Education—school construction, equipment, tech grants $238.9 mil
· Department of Revenue – GRATIS System $ 10.0 mil
· Board of Regents – facilities, equipment $325.0 mil
· Jekyll Island Authority – youth facility $ 12.0 mil
· Technical College System - facilities, equipment $ 92.0 mil
· Forestry – facilities, equipment $ 4.8 mil
· Natural Resources—facilities, land, equipment $ 26.5 mil
· Agriculture-Atlanta Farmers Market $ 1.0 mil
If you would like additional information regarding a specific budget item, you may access the Georgia General Assembly website at www.legis.ga.gov then select Senate, then Budget and Evaluation Office, then Appropriations Documents.
You can also look up legislation from this past session by going to: www.legis.ga.gov.
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