Legislative Week 2: Budget Week and Transportation Polls

This is the Legislative Week 2, 2015 Edition of the Council's "Under the Gold Dome," a weekly publication covering the 2015 Georgia General Assembly Session.  As a reminder, this publication comes out each Friday during the Session. 

We will include weekly updates on the happenings in the General Assembly, analysis of legislation and topics of interest to Council Members on legislation "Under the Gold Dome," as well as updates from the Senate Press Office, House Communications Office and bill summaries from the Senate Research Office.  

This week focused on the Budget, which saw presentations to the Joint Appropriations Committee by the Governor and state agencies.  You can view the Governor's budget proposal HERE.   There are many notables within the budget, but one that stood out was a slight decline in the Motor Fuel Tax collections from 2012-2014, with an estimated decline in 2015-2016 by $8 million dollars.  The Goevrnor however, has proposed almost $18 million dollars for road and bridge projects, inclduing $6 million for the I-285/400 interchange project.

A transportation bill is expected to be introduced next week in the House, which  could include a proposed one-cent statewide  sales tax, estimated to raise $1.4 billion dollars annually, according to the Joint Transportation and Infrastructure Report, and raising the motor fuel tax, which if implemented at a rate of 10 cents per gallon, is estimated to raise an additional $600 million dollars for GDOT.

House Bill 60, introduced by Cobb State Rep. Ed Setzler, proposes to reallocate the 4th penny on the gas tax to the GDOT and gradually increase the excise tax on motor fules. currently at 7.5 cents per gallon, 3 cents each year, to 22.5 cents per gallon by 2022.  The propsal also includes a reduction in the state income tax from 6% to 5.5% by 2022.  

However, a state-wide poll of 800 Ga. voters, released by Landmark Communitcations this week saw opposition to an increase in the state gas tax by a 60-20 percentage margin (with 16% undecided); a statewide sales tax increase to fund maintenence of roads and bridges of 1% was opposed by a 52-32 percentage margin (with 15% undecided) and when asked if voter would support an increase in the gas tax if offset by a reduction in the state income tax, voters only supported with a 35-31  margin, with 35% undecided. You can view the crosstabs and breakdown by race, age and political affiliation HERE. One glimmer of hope offered in the poll, was support for for more funding for mass transit improvements, by a 40-37 margin (with 22% undecided). 

As the Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker stated last week, Georgia cannot "do nothing" on the issue and tough choices will need to me made in order to fund the $1.5 billion needed for transportation and infrstructure needs.  Georgia is an international hub for business and with the deepening of the Savannah Harbor, can only expect to increase the state's international presence for shipments, and usage of our infrstruture state-wide. The Metro Region severely needs congestion relief and the Council supports any measure that fully funds transportation and infrstruture needs, including expansion of mass transit and options such as Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and relif such as the 1-285/400 interchange improvements and managed lanes.  

For those who may not remember, Council Board Member and State Senator Brandon Beach showed why the region desperately needed to address the antiquated system we currently have in place in a You Tube video which I reccomend viewing below:

Senate Study Committee on Metro-Atlanta Transit
Senate Study Committee on Metro-Atlanta Transit

Look for the next Under Gold Dome on January 29th for a recap of the Week.  

The House and Senate have also set a schedule that has them in Monday - Wednesday next week and Monday - Thursday the week after, putting the Session at Legislative Day 15 on Thursday, February 12.


Craft Breweries: A Huge Economic Impact in Georgia


Craft breweries in Georgia, and in the Metro Atlanta Region specifically, have grown in popularity for many years now.

For many residents, the hope is that Georgia will become a popular destination for beer connoisseurs, similar to other states, such as Colorado and California. House Bill 314 was introduced in the Georgia General Assembly in the 2014 Session, which would allow GA breweries to manufacture malt beverages on their premises for off-premises consumption. 



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Council for Quality Growth's Board of Directors State Legislative Task Force Established
The Council Board of Director's has established the 2015 State Legislative Task Force, consisting of members of the Council Board of Directors. 

The Task Force is charged with establishing the Council's Legislative Agenda, as well as directing the Council and providing input on legislation before the Georgia General Assembly.  

Click HERE to view the full Legislative Task-force. 

 to view a PDF version of the Council's Legislative Agenda.

Georgia Senate Press Office: Senate in a Minute

During Session, the Georgia Senate Press Office films a daily recap of the Georgia Senate's actions.  


CLICK HERE to view the daily recaps for the 2014 Session.


House of Representatives Floor Notes


Each Session day the Georgia House publishes a recap of the legislative day that occurred in the House.  


CLICK HERE to view the daily recaps for the 2014 Session.


Council's Legislative Bill Tracking
Below is a listing of filed bills, including their sponsor, location and bill analysis.  This represents legislation the Council is actively involved with (denoted by a *) or that is of interest to Council Members.  

If you have a specific question about a piece of legislation, email Director of Government Affairs and Policy at JT@CouncilforQualityGrowth.org

House Bills

House Bill 4: Interbasin Transfers
Sponsor: Rep. Harry Geisinger (R) 
This bill removes the restriction in Georgia law for inter-basin water transfers from all rivers with an annual average flow of 15 billion gallons of water a day,  if the county where the river flows agrees to the water withdrawal.
Council Position: Support

House Bill 21: Transity Authority
Sponsor: Rep. John Carson (R)
This bill removes the population threshhold for a local government to form a transit authority, changes the definition of "metropolitan area" to include an unincoporated city and the area "suburban to such city" and requires a new transit authority in a municiplaity to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with an exisiting transity authority before its formation.
Council Position: Evaluating

House Bill 27: Creation of City of South Fulton
Sponsor: Rep. Roger Bruce (D)
This bill creates a charter for the propose City of South Fulton, which would be subject to voter approval in a local election.
Council Position: Neutral

House Bill 49: Electronic Tax Bill Delivery
Sponsor: Rep. Brett Harrell (R)
This bill allows a local tax commisisoner or collector to send, at the request of a citizen, their tax bills electronically. 
Council Position: Evaluating

House Bill 60: Motor Fuel Tax and State Income Tax
Sponsor: Rep. Ed Setzler (R)
This bill would eliminate the "4th" penny on gas and shit it to the motor fuel tax, currently at 3%, while gradually raising the fuel excise tax from 7.5 cents to 22.5 cents by 2022 and a gradual decrease of the state's income tax rate to a flat 5.5% by 2022, down from the current rate of  6%.
Council Position: Evaluating

Senate Bills
No Legislation Currently Under Review

January 23, 2015

In This Issue
The Council for Quality Growth | 770-813-3370 | jt@councilforqualitygrowth.org 
5901-C Peachtree Dunwoody Road
Suite 500
Atlanta, GA 30328