Week 3 Capitol Update from Georgia state Rep. Brett Harrell

Guest column by Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville)

Georgia Rep. Brett Harrell covers Georgia District 106 which includes parts of Loganville

State Rep Brett Harrell’s Capitol Update – news from under the Gold Dome
Capitol Update Week 3
As we began the third week of the 2020 Session, we paused to observe International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday, January 27, 2020. I attended a moving ceremony unveiling a permanent display on the first floor of the state Capitol meant to educate and remind all visitors of the horrors of the Holocaust and the tremendous will to survive of those victimized by Nazi Germany.
Budget Hearings continue
Appropriations Subcommittees continued to hold hearings on both the Amended FY 2020 and Fiscal Year 2021 Budget this week. As I am sure you know, the Governor has requested spending reductions in a number of areas and the House and Senate are carefully reviewing those requests. The House will recommend modifications as deemed appropriate to serve the best interests of our citizens and state.
YTD Revenues and Expenses
Sometimes what we read and hear may lead us to believe a situation is more dire than reality. Is there room for ‘cuts’ in the state budget via process and efficiency improvements without harming essential services? Yes. Is it possible to keep our promises to you by reducing the income tax rate and providing expanded services and benefits to teachers and citizens? Yes.
Through the first six months of this fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, combined personal and corporate income taxes are actually UP $26 million over the prior year. Total state revenues over the same period are UP $32 million. Some have suggested by keeping our promise to you and reducing the states income tax rate, the government will lose $500 million. The Ways and Means Committee will soon begin hearing a tax reform proposal to reduce the top income tax rate to the promised 5.5% in a fiscally responsible manner that will not cause undue cuts to core government services.
Governor signs HB 276
HB 276, the Marketplace Facilitator bill becomes the first major piece of legislation signed into law this year by Governor Kemp.
As Chair of the Ways and Means Committee I was proud to be joined by my counterpart in the Senate Chuck Hufstetler, Chair of Finance, Speaker Ralston, and other members of the legislature for the ceremonial bill signing.

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