The highlight of last week was the passage of HB 918 – the annual tax code update and the first cut in our state income tax in eighty years.
HB 918 doubles the standard deduction for all filers. The income tax rate drops to 5.75 percent with the 2019 tax year and 5.5 percent in 2020 if approved by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor. Based on the fiscal analysis, Georgia personal tax filers will receive in excess of $1 billion in relief between 2018 – 2023. The middle class should receive in excess of a 15 percent reduction. The bill includes no tax break for Delta but I will support one if it becomes available in another bill. While I believe Delta was not consistent with various groups to whom they give discounts, that is their right. American and United get tax breaks where they have large hubs and I believe this makes sense with Georgia and Delta.
SB 457 – School Safety Plans – requires public and private schools to conduct drills on the execution of school safety plans. The form and intervals of these drills will be determined by guidance from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and Homeland Security Agency. I believe the Senate will also have an off session study committee on this topic.
SB 351 – Advanced Practice Registered Nurses – allows the APNR under physician supervision to order radiographic imaging tests (MRI, CAT scan).
SB 359 – Surprise Billing – requires health providers and insurers to disclose information about in and out of network services. The bill also makes provisions for when a person receives out-of-network emergency care and provides for mediation in the event of surprise bills over $1000.
SB 386 – Transit (finally) allows an optional local referendum for counties to pass a 1 percent sales tax to fund transit. It does not allow the MARTA tax in Fulton and DeKalb to be increased. I asked several times. We have paid enough for MARTA.
SB 403 – This bill requires optical scanning equipment in all elections beginning in 2024. Paper receipts.
SB 426 – Broadband Infrastructure – allows small cell technology (5g). Your phone will be ten times as fast as with 4g.
SB 450 – Baiting deer in our area – I voted no. They may be pests but this type of hunting doesn’t seem very sporting.
SB 453 – Cities – Effectively kills new cities if within three miles of an existing city and increases the number of services that the city must provide. I voted NO. However, the bill passed with my amendment that reads as follows: “This bill shall not apply to any proposed city bill introduced prior to April 1, 2018.”
Please continue to send me your comments and questions.