19 December 2017
I sponsored Senate Resolution (SR) 222, creating the Senate Special Tax Exemption Study Committee, which is comprised of six Senate members who have been working with the Department of Revenue, Senate Research, Pew Charitable Trust and others to examine the costs and benefits of all state tax exemptions. The goal of the committee is to ensure that each exemption has the potential for a Return on Investment (ROI). We worked hard to address any outdated exemptions that may hurt businesses while ensuring that exemptions that benefit Georgia’s economy and businesses, big and small, are properly utilized and promoted.
Along with reviewing our current state tax exemptions, eliminating the state income tax, or revising what is currently in state law, has been a big topic during the interim. Changing the state tax code and any alterations to the state income tax proposals will have to be addressed carefully and properly because this is a complex issue that will take time, compromise, and cooperation from everyone. We must work with our federal counterparts to ensure that any changes, on either level, do not have a detrimental effect on our citizens, small and large businesses, or economic growth.
During the 2017 legislative session, we passed several pieces of legislation addressing a variety of health issues like opioid abuse and overdoses in Georgia. Although we made progress last year, addressing this epidemic remains a top priority. We’ve lost too many citizens to this epidemic, and we must do all we can to help those battling this disease. This is not a political or partisan issue – it is a life issue that affects everyone.
Along with these topics, we’ll be working on legislation that will bring jobs and companies to Georgia. We will work hard to keep our AAA bond rating while addressing regulations on small and big businesses by alleviating burdens and red tape. Working alongside the governor, we’ll continue to look at ways to improve failing schools and what can be done to improve the Teacher Retirement System.
Starting later in the 2018 legislative session, the Georgia Senate will livestream standing committee meetings as well as press conferences held in the Senate Press Conference Room. Currently, citizens can watch a livestream of the Senate Chamber while the Senate is in session, and we are proud to offer the same opportunity for our committee meetings. This increases transparency and allows citizens who may not have time to travel to the Capitol the opportunity to watch meetings and be a part of the process.