Senate notes: Budget, immigration, tax reform are coming

Sen. Ronnie Chance's picture

This past week the Senate approved its version of the FY2012 Budget, by a vote of 47-4. This concludes the Senate stage of the process, and the bill will now go to conference committee for finalization.

The Senate FY2012 Budget focuses on enhancing customer service by moving funds to the Department of Revenue’s customer service department and the licensing section of the Secretary of State’s Office. Additionally, the Senate proposal adds more agencies to “shared services,” which includes combined payroll and other services for greater efficiency.

The State Health Benefit Plan’s $270 million shortfall is being partially addressed through shorting the state’s Medicaid fund. To help meet the overall shortfall, the Senate is proposing to add new auditors and investigators to the Department of Revenue who are estimated to be able to collect $100 million or more in taxes due the state.

The Conference committee of the House and Senate has been working to resolve differences between their versions over the past week.

The 2011 session almost complete

The legislature has three legislative days remaining before the end of session. During this time we will continue to work diligently on passing the tax reform bill. Our tax code has not been modified since the 1930s and I don’t have to tell you that much has changed in past 80 years. Now is the time for this reform and we simply cannot afford to wait another year to enact this reform.

This legislation has been much debated with many moving parts. But it is essential to understand that the proposal we are considering combines many components that have been vetted over many months and the final product will have to be a net benefit to the taxpayers of Georgia.

It is our responsibility to achieve the proper balance to stimulate future economic growth and to bring jobs to Georgia. We take this process very seriously and are working meticulously to fine tune the proposal.

We asked how it would affect our state budget, which still requires cuts to carefully balance. We consulted with financial experts as to how the changes would affect each group of Georgia taxpayers. We looked at our neighbors to the north and south to find the strengths and weakness that exist in their current tax systems.

Countless hours of thought and study has gone into this vital issue. We know that lasting change must come from the General Assembly this year. The final outcome will move us closer to a modernized tax system that will benefit Georgians now and in the future. Through the priorities set forth in our state’s budget and our tax reform legislation, we are continuing to prepare Georgia for competitive business, increased jobs, and economic growth.

One of the most important job-creating aspects of this bill is the elimination of the sales tax on energy used in manufacturing. Manufacturers are among the largest users of electricity and natural gas. By eliminating the energy tax, we instantly make Georgia more attractive to these industries and help Georgia’s manufacturing community sustain and create jobs.

This proposal as it is currently written also flattens the personal income tax rate-lowering it from 6 percent to 4.6 percent. This reduction allows us to be more competitive with our neighboring states, which have little or no income tax.

To offset the reduction to the state income tax and elimination of the energy tax, the bill broadens consumption taxes through the implementation of a communication services tax, which ultimately establishes market parity.

This is a proposal that cuts income taxes on Georgians by nearly $200 million. Although some people believe that Georgia should be raising revenues in this economy, I believe that leaving that $200 million in the hands of the consumers is economic stimulus at its best. We are committed to achieving tax reform that will benefit all Georgians and we will continue working with our colleagues in the House to reach a final compromise.

Immigration reform

The latest version of the bill aimed at combating illegal immigration, HB 87, has undergone a number of changes by committees in both the House and Senate. The focal point, however, remains a provision requiring contractors doing business with state or local governments to use the federal work authorization program, commonly referred to as E-Verify.

The main impetus for this came from public pressure following a few high-profile instances where illegal aliens were found to be working on public works projects. Additionally, the bill would eventually require private employers with five or more employees to use E-Verify for new hires, and would make an intentional violation a misdemeanor.

One fairly consistent feature has been a provision that allows law enforcement to check immigration status if an officer has probable cause to believe that someone has committed a crime.

The idea, of course, is that more active enforcement of immigration law by local authorities will help expedite the process of detaining and handing over suspects who may be in the U.S. illegally to federal authorities. This was a feature loosely drawn from Arizona’s recently passed law, and has been a staple of most of the legislative proposals to this point.

During the next three legislative days, we hope to fine tune the bill and pass a measure that will strongly address this ever growing problem in Georgia.

March revenues hold up

State revenues grew at a 10.7 percent rate in March, continuing a very encouraging trend. Total revenues for the month totaled $1.1 billion with an increase of $107 million.

Sales tax collections for the state increased 16.4 percent or an increase of $58.3 million on sales tax collections of $413.1 million for March.

Motor fuel tax collections in total were up 6.5 percent or $4.5 million, but higher prices began to push down consumption as the excise tax, based on per gallon, fell 1.3 percent.

The third month of the quarter showed an increase in corporate income taxes of $43 million or 32.6 percent. For the year, corporate taxes are up 12.3 percent or $53.1 million, hopefully an indication of businesses’ profitability recovering.

Year to date, there are encouraging signs with total revenue up 9.4 percent or $959.9 million on total revenue of $11.2 billion after 9 months of the fiscal year.

Special session

The legislature is tentatively planning to convene on Aug. 15 for this year’s special session to redraw state House and state Senate district lines, as well as Congressional district lines. The General Assembly is required by law to redraw these districts every 10 years based upon census numbers. As we move closer to August’s special session, we’ll have more updates on this process.

If you would like additional information regarding a specific piece of legislation, you may access the Georgia General Assembly website at

Thank you for your interest. Please contact me if I may be of assistance at

[Sen. Ronnie Chance (R-Tyrone) represents Senate District 16, which includes parts of Fayette, Monroe and Spalding counties and all of Lamar and Pike counties.]

Chris P. Bacon
Chris P. Bacon's picture
Joined: 02/28/2010
Georgia House grinds to a halt over Matt Ramsey

On the last day of the legislative session, the Georgia House stopped all debate for 30 minutes this morning.

It seems that Representative Pedro Martin, a Democrat from Duluth, passed out copies of an essay written by an immigration attorney which detailed all the lies and basic lack of integrity of Peachtree City Rep Matthew "Gestapo Matty" Ramsey.

The Speaker of the House noted that "personal attacks" are not permitted under the Golden Dome and had the Sgt-at-arms confiscate all copies of the essay.

Bottom line: it's okay for Gestapo Matty to lie about his odious bill. It's not okay to call attention to his lies. LINK

Edited to add: Found the essay in question: LINK

All you "small government" folks will like this: Gestapo Matty removes the investigative authority from the state Attorney General's office and creates a brand new state government agency solely dedicated to investigatin' Mexicans:Immigration Enforcement Review Board. Members are volunteers appointed by the Governor, Lt. Governor and House Speaker. There are no prerequisites for serving (presumably other than a "deep seated hatred for Hispanics") Can you say "star chamber"?

Also, Gestapo Matty added some blatantly unconstitutional language to the revised bill: public documentation from three states (New Mexico, Washington and Utah) are NOT acceptable as documentation as far as proving citizenship.

Finally, using a fake Social Security number to get a job in Georgia would now result in a mandatory 15 year prison sentence. By way of comparison, having sex with a 16 year old girl would get an adult a mandatory five year sentence.

skyspy's picture
Joined: 11/08/2005
Umm Gee 15yrs for a Felony

So coming here illegally and committing a felony by crossing the border illegally really might not pay off after all.

Good to know info. Sounds like it is time to become a legal citizen, and pay taxes or go home.

AtHomeGym's picture
Joined: 01/18/2007
Hey Skyspy`

Welcome back! Stay off those Mids! If that's not possible, remember the No-Doz! I've worked plenty of those myself and I know that no matter how much sleep I got the day or night before, come 5am, I was wasted!

skyspy's picture
Joined: 11/08/2005
At HomeGym

I have been busy. I love my coffee, and chocolate covered espresso beans. Everyone should have some in their locker. I'll try to make it to the next coffee.

phil sukalewski
phil sukalewski's picture
Joined: 03/17/2010
Sure would love to see the Fair Tax in Georgia

Sure would love to see the Fair Tax in Georgia.

Brittanicus's picture
Joined: 07/10/2008
Traitors All!


Very few State lawmakers understand the massive financial implications, for not serving the wishes of citizens and legal residents. Utah specifically is a relatively newcomer to the economic effects of illegal immigration as it’s not a frontier State. Thousands of economic illegal migrants and immigrants, who have already exhausted millions of dollars from the suffering State of Arizona, will be looking desperately for another State to drain. The Mormon State has essentially failed its population, with offering a unconstitutional Guest Worker program and other benefits, will soon learn their mistake as foreigners will sweep across the State line.

A repeat performance as in the Sanctuary States of California and Nevada, the schools will be swarmed by the progeny of illegal aliens and US children will get less attention from overtaxed teachers. The Utah school system will have to hire more bilingual teachers, demanding more money from taxpayers. Court procedure will need more interpreters, as the criminal aliens arrive to decimate the State. Further to this, higher education scholarships should go to Citizens-residents. If we keep giving education of in-state tuition to illegal alien student children, it will send the message throughout the world, that this soft country will school YOU. The hospitals will be raided next with minor afflictions and major illnesses, as the illegal Guest workers will inundate emergency rooms and their uninsured family members. Illegal females tend to have large clutches of newborns, with one to be conceived; to be paid for by hard working Americans. It's a fact that the majority of businesses that hire guest workers pay nothing towards their health care or the young children's education. Georgia on the other hand obviously convinced of the perils of giving into open border lobbyists and radical groups will inspire other States to enact harsher laws.

Although most harsh Georgia laws were sucked dry by, pro business interference, causing uproar amongst citizens and residence, specifically as they tried to hide their cowardice by unrecorded vote. All of these politicians that “ on the take” will be intently remembered, when they come-up for re-election Massachusetts although not fully enacting laws similar to Arizona has brought some saneness to its people.

THE UNITED STATES HAVING BEEN INVADED BY ILLEGALS, WITH THOSE IN POWER HAVING IGNORED THE FINANCIAL CONSEQUENCES IN OUR FUTURE; NOR HAS IT SLOWED? American citizens and residents must impose a mandatory E-Verify Nationwide, to enforce attrition and stop this immigration travesty. We must throw out all the conspirators who are in collusion with Mexico's President Calderon, including the 9th Circuit Court or any other potentate who uses the United States as a pressure valve from their degrading mismanagement and corruption, by exporting their desperate and poverty to our country. Also be aware illegal aliens are voting in our elections, but are not being sentenced to prison for this fraud and a danger to our slipping democracy.

What most prudent people are asking is why do foreign corrupt governments have a right to interfere in American immigration politics? This is according to the 9th circuit hidden away in the Liberal-Democratic Sanctuary City of San Francisco, where the prosecutors released illegal alien gang-member Ramos, to slaughter a family of three leaving a mourning Mother?

The United States is sinking deeper into fiscal quicksand, with a 14 trillion dollar deficit that is climbing ever faster. We cannot afford to sustain the rest of poverty stricken governments, who dump their indigent people in our laps. We must cut back on foreign aid stop policing the rest of the world. The wars in the Middle East are depleting our own people's welfare, the futures for our own grandchildren.

The war is at our open borders and we must halt the smuggling of drugs, people and criminals that are killing innocent Americans wholesale, nationwide. This country is importing contagious diseases, which have spread quietly and not uttered by the government; but carefully concealed. Other States has signed on to federal law of Secure Communities to fingerprint and remove criminal aliens from their jurisdictions Arizona is steadfast in its immigration policing laws and although dealt a blow by the Liberal judges in the ninth circuit court of appeals is resolute on its journey to the Supreme court, to defend its constitutional rights of its populace. Our only chance for survival is the growing extension of the TEA PARTY, as it moves apart from the Republican elites. The Tea Party is ready to face the battle lines being drawn in the forthcoming 2012 budget war. Join now and be part of the sane movement, to end the facade that is the illegal immigration occupation of our country. Find the facts not lies at the pro-sovereignty web pages of NumbersUSA. In addition the TEA PARTY will abruptly end special no-tax privileges to corporations like General Electric.

Thousands of corporations are using foreign havens to hide millions, perhaps billions of dollars in foreign countries, thanks to the tax breaks given to these entities by political parties, from lobbyists filtering secret brown-bag cash and large campaign contributions. We need more leaders like Sen. Rand Paul, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. Anthony Weiner with the fury to do the right things for this ailing country. Cut out illegal immigration and we will save hundreds of billions in federal and State entitlements. While Americans get ready to file these tax returns, shareholders in these mega corporations receive benefits the average man can only imagine. We must stop this rot in the tax code so every corporation; business must pay its fair share. Remember the TEA PARTY is your revenge on the unfair laws that govern us. They are the only retribution we have against the rot in our own government.


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