Friday, February 17, 2012
The General Assembly adjourned Friday, February 17 and will reconvene Tuesday, February 21 for Legislative Day 22 of 40. Lawmakers are scheduled to be in session next week through Friday, February 24.
Call your Representative and Senator and tell them to support the Energy Tax Exemption!
The Georgia Chamber has been a longtime advocate for the elimination of the sales tax on energy used for manufacturing, mining and agriculture in order to encourage economic development and reduce the cost of goods produced in Georgia. This January, Governor Deal announced this issue as one of his top priorities from the 2011 Georgia Competitiveness Initiative results as Georgia is one of the few states in the nation levying this tax – hindering the ability to attract new manufacturing facilities and keep current plants here.
The Chamber is urging the General Assembly to support the Governor’s proposal to remove this energy tax and help create permanent manufacturing jobs in Georgia. We are reaching out to the state House and Senate right now and need your help! Please contact your State Representative and State Senator and ask them to support this top Chamber priority!
2012 Scorecard Update
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TAXATION
Georgia Chamber President and CEO Chris Clark testified Wednesday in front of the House Ways and Means Income Tax Subcommittee in support of a bill aimed to increase Georgia’s economic competitiveness by modifying job incentives and tax credit programs. The measure is one of the Governor’s Competitiveness Initiative priorities that the Chamber co-chaired last year. (HB 868; SUPPORT)
Click here to hear Chris Clark discuss the importance of House Bill 868 to Georgia businesses
BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
The Senate Retirement Committee passed Sen. Tim Golden’s state pension reform measure – allowing Georgia to devote up to five percent of the state Employee Retirement System’s (ERS) assets to certain types of alternative investments such as venture capital funds. This legislation only pertains to ERS and not the separate Teachers Retirement System of Georgia – which is exempt from this measure. (SB 402; SUPPORT)
The Georgia House of Representatives is planning to reconsider a Constitutional Amendment to restore an alternative route for approving and sustaining charter schools as early as next week, needing a 120-vote, two-thirds supermajority required to pass a Constitutional Amendment. House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones – the measure’s author – has been working with all interested parties over the last several weeks to address concerns and reach a compromise on the Amendment language.
Please continue to contact your State Representative and urge them to vote YES to this important legislation!
Please visit www.gachamber.com/scorecard to see the most up-to-date list of scorecard issues for the 2012 session.
Bills of Interest
BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
A package of legislation aimed at streamlining government and helping Georgia companies create jobs and grow their business is being introduced in the Georgia Senate Wednesday – sponsored by State Sen. Ross Tolleson. Tolleson’s two bills seek to enact regulatory reforms by increasing transparency and efficiency in government. Collectively, the measures would require an annual federal rules and regulations report to be compiled by each agency to track and quantify the impact of federal regulations implemented, as well as a real-time online tracking system for permits so that applying businesses have access to permit status. (SB 427, SB 428; SUPPORT)
Sen. Fran Millar introduced legislation addressing a critical need to solve Georgia’s unemployment insurance trust fund debt. Millar’s bill seeks to repay the state’s federal loan as quickly as possible while restoring solvency to Georgia’s unemployment insurance system. The measure has been assigned to the Senate Insurance & Labor committee for a future hearing. (SB 447; SUPPORT)
On Friday the U.S. House and Senate voted to extend the 2 percent payroll tax cut through the end of the year, in addition to preserving current jobless benefits and the Medicare reimbursement rate. The approximately $140 billion measure now heads to President Obama for his signature.
Speaker’s “Red Tape Watch” Initiative Continues Next Week
The House Special Committee on Small Business Development and Job Creation will continue its “Red Tape Watch" hearings next week at the State Capitol. The Initiative is aimed at helping Georgia’s small businesses grow through a comprehensive review of the state’s regulatory environment.
Click here to see the video from previous Red Tape Watch meeting.
The next public hearing before the House Small Business Development & Job Creation Committee will be held Thursday, February 23 at 2: 00 p.m. in Room 415 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building. If you have concerns regarding current state regulations, and are unable to attend, click here to share your thoughts.