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NOTES FROM THE SENATE
BY SENATOR JACK HILL,
4th DISTRICT
May 20, 2015

Governor’s Vetoes – One Budget Item, Five General Bills
Maybe it’s a sign of better times, or a sign of clearer communication between the House, Senate Appropriations Committees and the Governor’s office, but there was only one veto of an appropriations from HB 76 when he signed the Appropriations Act in Statesboro Monday, May 11.  
The House had added $3.5 million for construction of a seawall on Hutcheson Island in Savannah.  The Governor’s veto message stated that the State cannot bond improvements on property not owned by the state.  Apparently the Seawall property is privately owned.  You will see state appropriations to local governments and even non-profits in the state budget, but those appropriations will be in cash and not in bonds.
General Bills Vetoed
Veto No. 1 – SB 76 allowed motorcyclists and bicyclists to proceed at a red light if it appeared their weight did not activate the light change as is the case at some intersections. The bill also removed height limitations on handlebars. Gov. Deal cited crash data and roadway safety in his veto message.
Veto No. 2 – HB 439: the Georgia new markets Jobs Act would have created two new tax credits totaling $110 million to be subtracted from the current insurance premium tax the state presently receives. One of the credits would have gone to community development entities and the other to finance business start-up investments.  Gov. Deal cited the impact the bill would have on state revenues and suggested more study.
Veto No. 3 – HB 510 would have created a separate fund in the OneGeorgia program, the Georgia Sports Commission Fund. The Governor’s veto message cited a present funding mechanism that would accomplish the same result.
Veto No. 4 – HB 86 moved services dealing with senior citizens from the Dept. of Human Services and created a separate Dept. of Aging attached to the Dept. of Community Health.  The Governor’s veto message noted the diverse missions of the acquiring agency and suggested continuing discussion on the issue.
Veto No. 5 – HB 524 was proposed by the Georgia Superior Court Clerks Cooperative Authority to create a new statewide registry of business trade names that would be maintained by the Authority.  These trade names would have been advertised in the local official organ in the county.  Gov. Deal questioned the need for the registry and the additional fee required where a business would have already registered with the Secretary of State’s Office.
April Revenues Push to $1 Billion Increase YTD
In baseball vernacular, state revenues hit a homerun in April as total revenues pushed towards $2 billion ($1.93 b) and reached the highest increase of any month so far this year, $252 million, ahead of April of 2014. 
This 15 percent increase was led by an increase of $190.7 million in Individual Income Taxes in April, some 22 percent, pushing the major category of revenues to $1.05 billion for the month. Net Sales and Use Taxes grew 7.4 percent, gaining $34.6 million on sales tax collections totaling over a half billion dollars.
Motor Fuel Taxes were up 11 percent as Sales taxes grew 11.6 percent and Excise Taxes 10.4 percent on revenues of $91.3 million for the month.  Corporate Taxes were down slightly at                           -1.1 percent.  Tobacco Taxes were up 10.7 percent and Alcoholic Beverages up 8.7 percent.  Tag/Title Fees continued to increase, showing a $13 million gain or 13.7 percent on fees totaling $107.8 million.
April’s $1.9 billion revenues was the third largest month in at least 10 years.  State revenues for the fiscal year, with only May and June remaining, are totaling $521.7 million above the budgeted amount passed by the Legislature.  Lapsed funds will flow into the Revenue Shortfall Reserve which could easily exceed $1 billion.  Sounds like a lot, but this amount will only run the state around 20 days.
Next Week: Comparing Georgia’s Revenue Growth to Other States and Year to Date     Revenue Numbers.
Legislation and final action may be accessed online at:  www.legis.ga.gov and the State Budget can be accessed online at the Senate Budget and Evaluation website:   www.senate.ga.gov/sbeo/en-US/Home.aspx         


 

Previous columns can be viewed at:  www.senatorjackhill.com


I may be reached at
234 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334
(404) 656-5038 (phone)
(404) 657-7094 (fax)
Or Call Toll-Free at
1-800-367-3334 Day or Night
Reidsville office: (912) 557-3811


 

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