Saturday, April 1, 2017

Georgia Legislature Wrap-up

Report from Georgia Pundit 3/31/17

Tax breaks were a hot topic in the last hours of the General Assembly yesterday.

If Gov. Nathan Deal signs on to what the General Assembly has done, Georgia musical artists and music producers would for the first time receive income tax credits for musical and theatrical performances and musical recordings that take place in the Peach State.

In a nod to a growing number of lawmakers critical of special interest tax breaks, the legislature on Thursday reduced the proposed tax credits from 20 percent in earlier versions of the bill to 15 percent. To qualify for the credit, a performer or producer would have to spend at least seven days in Georgia.

The film industry, which already has benefited greatly from the tax credits the General Assembly enacted in 2008, would for the first time receive tax credits for money spent in Georgia on post-production work.

The legislature also approved a bill expanding the rural hospital tax credit program lawmakers created last year by increasing the credit from 70 percent of the amount donors contribute toward rural hospitals to 90 percent.

The General Assembly approved legislation to lower taxes on Georgians who lease vehicles on the last night of the 2017 session, but only after stripping a controversial provision that would have raised taxes on many used-car buyers.

Owners of giant yachts willing to get their boats repaired in Savannah also got a tax break from legislators.

But lawmakers couldn't reach a deal on a bill to lower the state's top income tax rate.
Senators said the Georgia House sent them $588 million worth of tax-credit and tax-cut bills to consider this year. Some got through, some didn't.

Kathleen Foody and Ezra Kaplan of the Associated Press
 wrap-up the legislative session:

Georgia lawmakers approved legislation permitting concealed handguns on college campuses but failed to pass an update to state law on adoption before the gavel fell on the legislative session.

Attention now turns to Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican in his final term. Georgia law gives Deal 40 days to decide whether to sign, veto or allow measures to become law without his name.

Changes to Georgia adoption law that proponents call long overdue stalled in the Senate despite a last-minute effort to force a vote.

Senators brought that measure up for a vote past 12:30 a.m. and after a testy debate, sent it to a committee for further debate. The move killed the bill for the year.

An expansion of Georgia's program allowing patients with certain conditions to possess oil derived from marijuana is headed to the governor's desk

After House and Senate leaders announced a compromise, the bill adds new diagnoses to the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis oil, including autism, AIDS, Tourette's syndrome, and Alzheimer's disease.
Party On - Atlanta City Council will consider lowering fines and eliminating jail time for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Tybee Island will ban public consumption of alcohol for four days expected to coincide with some Spring Break festivities.

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