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Burt Jones

While many recent headlines focus on negative news, causing further divide in our state and nation, there is good news within Georgia’s economic outlook. On Sept 1, Georgia was named the “Top State for Doing Business” for the seventh year in a row by Area Development.

Last week, Gov. Brian P. Kemp announced that “Georgia’s August net tax collections totaled nearly $1.89 billion for an increase of $134.5 million, or 7.7%, compared to August 2019, when net tax collections totaled roughly $1.75 billion.” The increase in tax collections is a good sign for our economic recovery and stability, job creation and future budget discussions.

While there is more work to be done, I am proud of the small businesses, corporations, economic leaders and all of our citizens who continued to invest into our state’s economy by creating jobs, supporting local economies and bringing back consumer confidence. In addition to positive tax collection numbers, job creation is 1.5 times higher than in previous months in 2020. According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, in August new investments totaled $642 million and 4,036 jobs were created throughout the state.

This is all great news and a stark contrast to the predictions some had while we were addressing the budget and tax legislation during this past session. In preparation for lower tax collections and to ensure Georgia’s economy could bounce back as quickly as possible, we passed legislation that would positively impact tax collections and finances for Georgia’s citizens. Below are highlights of several pieces of legislation that received final passage and was signed into law related to finance:

♦ House Bill 779 – Changes the distribution process for alternative ad valorem taxes, that are collected on motor vehicles, to local governments. – Effective June 29

♦ House Bill 846 – Updates the Internal Revenue Code and includes retroactive changes within many provisions including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that the federal government passed to support citizens, local communities, businesses – large and small –, healthcare facilities and others who were negatively impacted by the pandemic.

Under HB 846, manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE) can apply for a new income tax credit. This is critically important to ensure that all Georgians, businesses, local communities and healthcare providers have adequate access to PPE today and in the months to come. By keeping these manufactures in our state, we do not have to compete with other states to secure PPE and their needs will bring business here by purchasing PPE from our local businesses. – Effective June 30

♦ House Bill 1037 – Addresses audit requirements, including the 10% credit for Georgia promotional projects and qualified expenditures under the “Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act.” – Effective Jan. 1, 2021

♦ House Resolution 164 – This is a Constitutional Amendment and will be on your Nov. 3 General Slection ballot. If HR 164 is approved by voters, fees or taxes enacted by law and collected within the state will be directed for the fund stated in the legislation. – Effective August 5 and upon approval of a majority of voters.

Other pieces of legislation addressing finance received final passage, but I wanted to provide you with some major highlights – including the one that you will see on your ballot. If you have any questions about the bills listed above, other pieces of legislation related to finance or any legislation discussed during the 2020 session, please feel free to contact my office.

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