Many grumblings were heard at the capitol and from citizens about HB 386. This bill was presented to members of The State House of Representatives Monday. A fiscal note was added soon after. Less than 24 hours later, they found themselves voting for or against the measure. Some members perused through the bill as it was debated and explained before them.
Rep Mickey Channell (R), one of five bill sponsors, assured members that HB 386 was “not a comprehensive tax reform package.” Instead, he touted it as a jobs bill. He opined very briefly. He stated the measure would focus on tax cuts for vital parts of Georgia’s industry: energy and manufacturing.
Rep Channell stated this bill would remove taxes on energy and manufacturing. He stated Georgia is “only 1 of 10 states that tax energy.”
Over 190 million dollars in taxes would be eliminated from manufacturing and energy
Minority Leader Stacy Abrams (D) agreed and also supported the passage of this bill. Abrams stated “the current tax system is antiquated.”
Abrams also said this bill would benefit the “brick and mortar” business by requiring all sales, online and in person, to enforce the state sales tax at the point of purchase. Abrams believes this creates “horizontal and vertical equity.”
Rep Channell also said the bill would eliminate the so-called “birthday tax.” Instead of paying sales and ad valorem taxes on vehicles, residents would pay a title fee. Residents would have the option to start this new tax program or maintain the current one until March 1, 2013.
This bill would also re-instituted the very popular sales tax holiday for two years upon passage. This program removes all sales tax on clothing, electronics and school supplies for a weekend statewide. It typically occurs in August. It helps many parents prepare for the upcoming school year. It did not occur in fiscal year 2011.
Rep Channell said the bill would save Georgia taxpayers 62 million dollars in 3 years.
However, there were some reps who presented a few white lies.Paulette Rakestraw-Braddock (R), a self-proclaimed Tea Party Representative, stood before house members and vouched that HB 386 was Tea Party approved. Not so, says Debbie Dooley, National Coordinator for The Tea Party Patriots. Dooley insists that the organization met with Braddock prior to the hearing and expressed discontent. “She knows that is not true. She met with tea party and conservative activists earlier today and tried to convince us to support the bill. We all vote(d) and not one voted to support the bill. We all voted to oppose the bill and she knows it..There was a press conference after the meeting where the results of the vote was announced. We were told by several legislators that they dropped it at the last minute as to allow opposition not to have time to fight it.”
Why would The Tea Party oppose this bill? Well, frankly, they want to have time to see what is in the bill. They disapprove of the backdoor tactics. Dooley says “They criticized Pelosi and company for rushing Obamacare to a vote before people had time to analyze it. The GOP is doing the same thing. One tea party activist in south Georgia called GOP House Leadership imperialistic. There are changes that need to be made in regard to E-Fairness. Also I think the figures are off in regard to resale of cars. I used to live in Alabama and taxes have to be paid on used car purchases from individuals. What happens is on the official bill of sale that is submitted to the tag office is much less than what the car sold for as to pay less taxes on the purchase. Same thing will happen here.”
Speaker David Ralston scoffed at the notion that the bill was rushed. “We began this process 3 -5 years ago. It has been carefully vetted.”
Still, the fiscal note describing the impact was added 3/20/12, the same day as members are set to vote on the measure.
The measure has passed and is now moving to The State Senate.