News from under the Gold Dome from Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville)

Guest Column by Georgia Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville)

A historic week at your Capitol
Some of you may be aware that over-taxation and over-regulation of my small business sparked my entry into elected political office. I am grateful to you for allowing me to participate as your Representative and contribute to the significant effort the state House took this past week toward lowering taxation and regulatory burdens.
Reducing Taxation
On Tuesday, February 20, Governor Nathan Deal, joined by House Ways and Means Members and Senate Finance Members, held a press conference to introduce House Bill 918, new and revised legislation to update Georgia’s tax code.   HB 918 passed the House overwhelmingly on Thursday, February 22. This legislation includes among other provisions:
  • The first personal income tax rate cut since 1937. Beginning tax year 2019, the top personal income tax rate drops from 6% to 5.75%. Upon approval by the General Assembly, that rate is cut again to 5.5% in tax year 2020.
  • The first business income tax rate cut since 1968. Business income tax rates drop to 5.75% and 5.5% in tax years 2019 and 2020 respectively from the current 6%.
  • The state standard deduction is doubled for all filing classes beginning this year – 2018 tax year. Married Filing Joint increases from $3,000 to $6,000.
  • The Section 179 business deduction is increased to $1 million.
This legislation one of the single largest tax reforms in state history and will amount to more than $5 billion in savings for Georgia taxpayers over the next five years. As an active member of the Ways and Means Committee, I spend approximately 80% of my legislative time on complex tax issues. I have twice before authored legislation (HB 435 and HB 329) to reduce the income tax rate. This was a historic week at your state Capitol as we seek to decrease the tax burden on our citizens and businesses. Thank you again for allowing me to fight for you so that you might keep more of your hard-earned dollars in your wallet rather than the government’s wallet.
Reducing Regulatory Burdens
The House passed HB 876 this week prohibiting counties and municipalities from banning the use of wood products as a construction material, as long as the products meet the state minimum standard codes and the Georgia State Fire Code. Georgia is the number one forestry products state in the nation providing more than 45,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of $4 billion. The Metro Atlanta region is a crucial lumber market for Georgia’s tree farmers and 97 sawmills, most of which are located in rural parts of the state. This bill would preempt local ordinances passed by several Metro Atlanta cities that have banned wood products in construction of buildings over three stories high.
Rep. Buzz Brockway passed HR 744 in the House this week calling on the Georgia Occupational Regulation Review Council (GORRC) to fulfill its mission to review licensed professions every seven years. Continuing Rep. Brockway’s effort, I will propose a House Study Committee next week to review the costs, benefits, and necessity of regulating 41 licensed professions in Georgia.
Other bills of interest that passed the House last week
HB 769 Rural Health Care access, Innovation Center, remote pharmacy ordering
HB 735 Short Line Railroad Tax Credit for Track Maintenance and Repair
HB 732 Expanded Definition and Penalties for Sex Trafficking
Wednesday, February 28 is Cross Over Day, the last day a bill in its original form must pass one chamber to be considered by the other this legislative session. Therefore, I expect a supplemental Rules calendar both Monday and Wednesday as the House will consider a significant number of bills attempting to remain ‘alive’ for passage before our legislative year ends on March 29, 2018.
Let me hear from you
U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson and State Rep. Brett Harrell
Pictured: U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson and Rep. Brett Harrell
Great to welcome long time friend and political hero to the House this week.

Should you find yourself in Atlanta during the Session, please stop by and visit me at my Capitol office, and please call or email if you have any question or concerns regarding any state issue. My capitol office, phone, and email are listed below.

613-D Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, GA 30334

Thanks again for allowing me to serve,
 Brett Harrell

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