My heart, as well as most Georgians, as they fight to maintain their freedom from invading Russian forces. To that end, we unanimously passed a House Resolution, H.R. 920 that condemns the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. The resolution states that the State of Georgia expresses its desire to cease hostilities, including divesting investments in Russia-associated equities and other assets. The resolution calls on Russia to end its unprovoked aggression and both the President and the Congress of the United States to continue to take prudent actions to bring about a peaceful and timely end to this conflict.
The House also passed my recently authored legislation, H.B. 1381, a bill that requires members of local water or sewer authorities to complete training courses on water, sewer, or environmental quality programs. The required training will serve as a prerequisite for the authority to receive specified funding. This commonsense legislation was unanimously passed.
Earlier this year, I discussed our supplemental Fiscal Year 2022 budget. We have finally worked out all the agreements without brethren in the Georgia Senate and the Governor. This past week we all came to agreement on House Bill 910, the supplemental appropriations for State Fiscal Year July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022. Also coming out of the Appropriations committee in which I serve, we have passed the FY 2023 general appropriations legislation for State Fiscal Year July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023. This bill, H.B. 911, the FY 2023 budget, is based on a revenue estimate of $30.2 billion, an increase of 10.8% over original FY 2022 budget. This bill passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly and now heads to the Senate for consideration.
A piece of legislation that I co-sponsored, H.B. 1455, expands the arrest authority for the officers of the Georgia Ports Authority in certain circumstances. Ports officers are given the ability to investigate motor vehicle accidents that occurred on any property under jurisdiction of the authority and on public or private property within one mile thereof. The same one-mile radius is given to the arrest authority of an officer who is arresting for state law violations. This is very important for law enforcement in the ports area to allow Ports police the ability to enhance their capability to do their job. This legislation passed overwhelmingly.
Tax policy in the state is always a popular discussion and as a member of the House Ways and Means committee, I have taken a keen interest in tax policy throughout the state. Recently, we have lowered the income tax rate on income from six percent to 5.75 percent with legislation in our budget to take it to 5.25% tax rate this year.
Over the past decades there has been much discussion on the Flat Tax rate concept. The House overwhelmingly passed H.B. 1437 this past week, legislation that eliminates the personal income tax brackets and replacing them with a flat tax rate of five and one quarter percent. H.B. 1437 eliminates the standard deductions of $5,400 for single and head of household taxpayers and $7,100 for married taxpayers filing a joint return, as well as the additional deductions of $1,300 for taxpayers over the age of 65 or blind. The bill increases the personal exemptions from $2,700 to $12,000 for single and head of household taxpayers and from $7,400 to $24,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. The bill allows taxpayers to elect to apply the sum of the taxpayer’s charitable donations used in computing the taxpayer’s federal taxable income in lieu of the personal exemption. Independent analysis finds that because of the reduction of the state’s top income tax rate and the elimination of tax brackets, the reward for increased work and saving would rise, motivating investment and economic growth. This analysis was completed in Beacon Hill study by co-authors David Tuerck and William Burke and commissioned by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.
I will continue to be your voice in dealing with problems or questions about your state government. I encourage you to contact me with your input and thoughts on proposed legislation or current events that may impact our community. I am in 226-A of the State Capitol.
My office phone number is (404) 656-5115 and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to continuing this session and serving all of you.