Weekly Update February 15, 2013

Latest GBPI Overview of 2013 Fiscal and Tax Policy Bills

HB 80, passed the full House last week and is now set to be considered by the Senate. It is a series of mostly technical changes to the new system of taxing cars created by last year’s omnibus tax bill. The highest profile change is a reduction in tax liability for those who lease, (rather than own), vehicles. Some believe people who lease were unduly burdened by last year’s changes. Other tweaks in the bill should cancel out the attendant revenue loss, however. In total, HB 80 would likely bring in about $133 million in new revenue over five years.

HB 128, or the “Georgia Renaissance Act,” proposes the creation of $30 million worth of tax credits to help revitalize Georgia’s local downtowns, which would make it Georgia’s third-largest economic development tax credit. The bill had its first hearing before the Income Tax Subcommittee of Ways and Means this week and a committee substitute is likely in the coming days. For additional information, download the HB 128 (LC 34 3600) Bill Analysis.

HB 140 proposes to significantly expand Georgia’s controversial tax credit scholarship for private school students by increasing its annual cap to $80 million from $50 million. Originally written to also create an equivalent tax credit for public schools, HB 140 was altered in the Income Tax Subcommittee of Ways and Means to only include the private school component. It had its first hearing before that subcommittee earlier this week.

HB 193 would restore sales and use tax exemptions for qualified food banks and certain nonprofit health centers. Both were exempted from state sales and use taxes prior to 2011, when their specific exemptions were allowed to expire. The restored exemptions would run from 2013 to 2016 at an estimated cost of $1 million to $2 million per year. The bill is currently before Ways and Means but has yet to receive a subcommittee hearing.

HB 272 would extend Georgia’s Angel Investor Tax Credit, which allows businesses and individuals to reduce their tax liability in exchange for investing in Georgia-based startup companies. Currently scheduled to expire at the close of 2013, the new bill would extend the credit through 2015 at an estimated annual cost of $7 million to $10 million. The bill has been introduced to Ways and Means but has yet to receive a subcommittee hearing.

HB 285 calls for the creation of a new program called “Invest Georgia,” designed to increase Georgia businesses’ access to venture capital. Funded through a combination of tax credits and OneGeorgia Authority funds, the program would cost an estimated $100 million over five years. The bill has been introduced to Ways and Means but has yet to receive a subcommittee hearing.

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