March 3, 2007
Legislation in Georgia Legislature as of 2/28/2007
We will try to update every few
days to keep you up to date on new legislation.
following bills may be of interest to you and/or can affect
You can follow
any bill on the internet at www.legis.state.ga.us.
You can also contact your representative or senator and/or
the sponsor of these or any bill at this site. If you have
an opinion, let them know how you feel. __________________________________________________________________
201 Taxpayer Bill of Rights
(Rep. Bob Smith, R-113)
This bill requires local governments to add additional
information to the “Notice of Property Tax Increase” advertisement
required under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (BOR). It also
imposes a minimum size requirement of 30 inches for the
advertisement. If a local government fails to comply
with the Taxpayer BOR, the Commissioner of the Department
of Revenue can require the local government to refund to
the taxpayers the taxes that were collected in excess of
the rollback rate.
Status: Pending in House Ways and Means
ACCG (Commissioners Group) opposes this legislation. Taxpayers
ought to be happy about it. Note: Our BOC may be refunding
taxes the way notices fail to get posted.
232 Impact Fees
(Rep. Ed Lindsey, R-54)
This bill would require local governments collecting transportation
impact fees to consider the proximity of the project
to the area where the fees were collected when prioritizing
their transportation projects. The bill also requires
additional accounting records and an annual review of the
program by the advisory committee. Status: Pending in
House Governmental Affairs Committee
If this bill passes it means the impact fees won’t necessarily
go to help all roads in the county; mostly those roads where
the fees are generated (new subdivisions, etc.) would benefit.
HB 442 Allow 1% Statewide Transportation Sales Tax
(Rep. Vance Smith, R-129)
This bill will allow the state to impose a statewide
one percent sales tax for transportation purposes
if approved by voters in a statewide referendum. This is
widely considered to be a placeholder bill that will be
replaced by a more comprehensive proposal for a statewide
sales tax for transportation.
Status: Pending in House Ways and Means Committee
SB 198 No Landfill within 7 Miles of Water Supply
(Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, R-28)
This bill prevents the EPD from permitting a landfill if
it is within 7 miles upstream of a governmentally-owned
public drinking water supply intake or water supply reservoir.
Status: Pending Senate Assignment
Wouldn’t this be just common sense?
Give Sales Tax Refund to Tourism Operations
(Rep. Jeff Lewis, R-115)
This bill allows companies engaged in approved tourism
operations to receive a refund of their sales and use taxes
– both state and local – for a period of ten years after
the commencement or expansion of an approved tourism activity.
The total refund allowed is the lesser of the entire sales
and use tax liability of the company or 25% of approved
costs. The Georgia Department of Economic Development, along
with the county or city in which the project is located,
determines which companies and projects are approved. Status:
Pending House Ways and Means Committee
is a strange bill as citizens are always told the reason
we need to pass SPLOST and pay for more Economic Development
is to bring in more tourist and to let them pay the sales
tax to generate money for the City and County. How will
letting them keep the sales tax for TEN YEARS benefit that
HB 471 No Transfer of Private Water or Sewer Allowed
(Rep. Ron Stephens, R-164)
This bill prevents local governments or authorities from
requiring the transfer of ownership of a privately constructed
water or sewer system that is not to be connected to a publicly
owned water or sewer system. In addition, local governments
cannot require this transfer as a condition for the approval
or issuance of local permits. Status: Pending in House
Governmental Affairs Committee
This bill would prevent such entities as JCWSA from taking
over water systems such as Turtle Cove. How it would affect
Alcovy Shores Water and Shady Dale City water is unknown
even though JCWSA has tried to have ASWA and possibly Shady
Dale sign agreements as if JCWSA was allowing them
to continue to operate. The Monticello News recently reported
that JCWSA was going to write letter to City of Newborn
about some 2,000ft. of water line that JCWSA feels is in
their service area. The line has been installed and paid
for by citizens of Newborn. JCWSA wants them to sign a contract.
Election Reform—45% elects candidate
(Rep. Austin Scott, R-153)
For all state and county primaries, elections, and special
elections, HB 487 provides that candidates, in order
to be elected, must receive a plurality of votes cast rather
than a majority of the votes cast. The bill defines plurality
as 45% of the votes cast in the election. The bill
also moves up the date of the presidential preference primary
to the first Tuesday in February, 2008. The intent is to
reduce the number of runoff elections and thereby reduce
costs of the electoral process. This is especially important
given the extremely poor turnout in runoffs statewide. This
also represents the primary recommendation of the ACCG election
alternatives study group that met and debated various election
issues in 2005.
Status: Pending in House Governmental Affairs Committee
This would do away with “majority vote” and the phrase “majority
rules.” 45% is not 50%+1 as has been the case. This would
reduce the likelihood of runoffs.
SB 197 No Landfills within 2 Miles of Adjoining
(Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, R-28)
This legislation prevents the EPD from permitting
a landfill that is within two 2 miles of an adjoining county
unless the adjoining county grants permission.
Status: Pending Senate Assignment
Most people in the county would agree that we wouldn’t want
Putnam, Newton or other adjoining counties putting a landfill
near the county line; it would affect the people of Jasper
County without them having any input. Strangely, ACCG opposes
this bill. We must ask, WHY?
More on Senator Grant’s bill to help “Development
309 Infrastructure Development Districts
(Sen. Johnny Grant, R-25)
This bill authorizes local governments to approve the creation
of districts to finance infrastructure. Special assessments
would be levied upon properties within the district to repay
tax-exempt bonds issued to finance infrastructure (e.g.
roads, water, sewer, parks, libraries, public safety facilities,
schools). The financial burden a new development places
on the county infrastructure would be paid by those buying
into the development instead of the county taxpayers. The
districts are created at the request of a petitioner, typically
a developer. If approved, an independent board is established
to oversee the financial management and infrastructure development
within the district. The board assumes liability for any
debt incurred and has limited taxing authority. The
districts have no land use or zoning powers and must conform
to the existing local government comprehensive plan.
Status: Pending in Senate State and Local Government
It comes as no surprise that ACCG is also actively supporting
this bill. Think about this—an APPOINTED BOARD, not elected
officials, will oversee the financial management of the
district and will have “limited” TAXING AUTHORITY.
Now that’s true TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.
Call anyone on the Local Gov’t Operations Committee and
ask them to oppose this bill.
** To keep the taxpayers of Jasper County, Georgia informed
as to where and how
their tax dollars are being spent.
** To keep the taxpayers abreast of local policies and
discussed and enacted.
** We advocate more open government, less government spending,
and lower property taxes.