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23 January 2018

Commissioner and Department of Fire Safety and Potential State Income Tax Removal

Written by Senator John Albers

The 2018 Legislative Session is well under way at the State Capitol. My colleagues and I have been busy with constituent visits to the Capitol, vetting proposed legislation in committee meetings, and debating and voting on legislation on the senate floor. We have been discussing and reviewing several issues including property taxes, the proposal of removing the state income tax, and the creation of the Commissioner and Department of Fire Safety.

Late last year, I pre-filed six pieces of legislation addressing property tax assessments in Fulton County. Each piece of legislation would change property tax bills for the cities of Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Mountain Park, and Roswell as well as the Fulton County School District. The legislation would limit the tax increase residents see each year by creating a 3% cap on property tax assessment increases. This proposed legislation also addresses property tax exemptions and includes referendum language that would leave the implementation of the laws to a vote by the citizens of each respective city and the Fulton County School District. Sandy Springs already has a 3% floating exemption in place.

Since work was done well in advance to ensure all vested parties are on the same page, the six pieces of legislation are moving through the legislative process efficiently, and it is my absolute intention to pass this legislation before the end of session. I believe that it is imperative we get this done, so citizens have an opportunity to vote on an issue that effects each and every one of them.

Along with property taxes, we have been busy analyzing Georgia’s number one source of revenue – the state income tax. Leading up to the 2018 Legislative Session, we were all waiting to see how changes made to the federal tax code would affect not only our state’s income tax, but also the overall budget. We are currently reviewing the changes made on the federal level to see how they fully impact Georgia’s tax programs — particularly the state income tax. This is a very complex issue that takes time and thorough deliberation. Our goal is to ensure that any changes made to the state income tax will grow jobs and the economy.

In addition to addressing property and income taxes, I have been working with my colleagues on passing the Consolidation of Fire Safety Services in Georgia Act.This legislation would move everything from the insurance commissioner’s office over and consolidate all fire service departments to the new Commissioner and Department of Fire Safety. The goal of this legislation is to streamline processes and administrative duties for the new Department while removing barriers and unnecessary regulations currently in place. This legislation is currently moving through the legislative process and is well on its way to becoming law effective July 1, 2019.

If you have any questions about the status of these issues or any others, please reach out. It is always great to hear input from my constituents and all citizens of Georgia.

About the Author

Senator John Albers

Senator John Albers

Senator John Albers represents the 56th Senate District, which includes portions of North Fulton county. 404-463-8055, John.Albers@Senate.Ga.gov.