I wanted to give a brief summary of what I considered the significant legislation of the 2017 session.
For those of you who live in DeKalb I am very pleased to report that if approved by the voters in November a homeowner will receive a $400 to $500 property tax reduction for a home worth $300,000 (100 percent HOST versus the current 80 percent HOST).
If the infrastructure SPLOST in November is approved, then the property tax freeze (county and city not school), that I originally passed, becomes permanent as long as the SPLOST and HOST remain in effect. I limited the SPLOST proceeds to be spent on transportation; on public safety facilities (police and fire and their equipment); 15 percent for capital project repair; and bond indebtedness for municipalities until paid off. Also, the sales tax will not apply to groceries. There will be no new government complex on Memorial Drive (Cynthia McKinney Boulevard).
I worked with CEO Michael Thurmond on this legislation and very much appreciate his support.
I also led the effort to defeat a proposed MARTA tax increase. We will never have regional transit if DeKalb and Fulton taxpayers are foolish enough to keep increasing what we pay for the rest of the metro area to utilize. We also killed a Vernon Jones attempt to thwart good ethics policy.
I was pleased to play a significant role in the passage of SB 206. This requires insurance companies to provide coverage for hearing aids for individuals 18 and under.
HB 37 bans funding from any college or university that fails to follow federal immigration law (sanctuary campus). No Georgia institution is taking this action.
Once again I opposed HB 280 (campus carry) and three other Republican Senators joined me. Casino gambling (destination resorts) SB 70 never got out of committee.
Major disappointments were the House not passing SB 5 which required the Georgia Lottery to increase the amount of money for the HOPE scholarship and Pre-K programs and SB 6 which creates a Georgia Regional Transit Council.
I was also disappointed that the House and the Senate could not come to an agreement on an income tax cut.
This is the first year of the two-year session so hopefully we will do better in 2018. Other than the DeKalb efforts, I rate the overall session a C grade at best.
Your thoughts and comments are always welcome. Hopefully there will be a 6th Congressional district runoff.