Your Georgia Desk
From Senator Judson Hill
Greetings from your state Capitol
We settled into the 3rd week of the 2015 Session. All pending bills die at the end of every 2 year term; therefore, the Senate committees have only a few pending new filed bills meaning in Chamber Session days will be shorter until more bills are filed. A bill has until legislative Day 30 to pass one Chamber so our focus will not turn to House bills for several more weeks. Below is a list of notable legislation that has been introduced in the Senate and is under deliberation in their respective committees.
The legislature continues to hold hearings on the proposed state budgets in various Appropriations subcommittees. We will adjust both the current FY 2015 ($20.8 billion) budget as well as consider and pass the FY 2016 ($21.1 billion) budget. This 2015-16 GA State Budget link takes you to documents to view a more detailed description of Governor Deal’s proposed 2015 Amended and 2016 state budget.
The Georgia State Budget Process
The Amended FY2015 State budgeting process ensures Georgia closes out the fiscal year with a balanced budget on June 30th in order to begin the new fiscal year on July 1st.
After consideration and passage of the Amended 2015 Budget, which considers the second half of the fiscal year, the General Assembly will work on the fiscal year 2016 budget, commonly called the “big budget” because it will determine spending and programs hrough June of 2016.
Several FY 2016 Budget Highlights presented in the Governor’s Budget-
1. $280 million for the K-12 QBE Formula is intended for systems to pass on to teachers as furlough replacement or pay raises for teachers.
2. $16.7 million in Lottery funds for a 3% increase in the HOPE scholarship in public and private colleges to keep up with tuition increases.
3. $139.8 million to fund the Annual Required Contribution for Employees Retirement, Teachers Retirement and Public School Employees Retirement Systems.
4. $149.1 million in new funds for Medicaid growth and Affordable Care Act compliance, and voluntary case management for the Age, Blind and Disabled population. Offset by reductions totaling $179.4 million in PeachCare and Medicaid costs and an increase in the federal match.
5. $239.6 million to fund growth in K-12 enrollment and teacher pay scale recognizing 1.35% increase in enrollment this past year. Georgia’s schools now educate 1.72 million students.
6. $800 million in bonds including $230.0 million for K-12 school construction, $197.7 million for Regents projects, and $19.8 million for Technical Colleges.
2015 Legislation of Note Passed or Introduced this Week in the Senate:
SB 6: This bill would prohibit deferred deportation status from qualifying an alien to purchase a driver’s license in Georgia.
SB 38 -This bill would create a recommendation process for legislators for qualified students who commit to ROTC service at Georgia colleges and universities.
SB 63 - This bill would allow craft breweries to sell up to one 12 pack of beer per customer for carry out.
SB 74 - I sponsored this bill to create a Charity Care Organization to provide a tax deductible contribution to raise moneys Charity Health Clinics that offer low cost and free healthcare for the un-insured.
SR 25 - I cosponsored this Senate Resolution recognizing the Atlanta Junior Rowing Association for their work and growing popularity among middle and high school students.
SR 95 - Recognizes the Pope High School Girls Softball team winning the State Championship 6A
- Eliminates sales tax on gasoline, local and state and converts it to an excise tax.
- Expands present Excise (by the gallon) fuel tax to 29.2 cents per gallon and based on last four years sales price.
- Includes Bonds $100 million for FY 16 for transit.
- Provides an annual $200 fee yearly on alternative fuel vehicles
- Allows local governments to add fuel excise taxes to replace sales taxes on fuel.
- ESPLOST’s, SPLOST’s are intact until planned expiration
Please check weekly for my Session Newsletter for updates from the Capitol.
2015 COMMUNITY TOWN HALL MEETINGS PLANNED TO DATE:
Mountain View Regional Library - 3320 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta
Mondays - February 16 and March 23 from 7 to 8 PM
Please join me at these Town Hall meetings to hear more about the progress of the 2015 Session and to share with me your ideas and thoughts.
Monday January 26th was Georgia National Guard Day at the Capitol. Numerous National Guard soldiers and Georgia State Defense Force members attended. We are very thankful and blessed by their service as they protect and defend our Nation.
Your property tax is legally based on your home’s fair market value, as determined periodically by the county Tax Assessor. Because counties are not required to re-assess homes annually, the valuation assigned to your home may not reflect the current market.
Is Your Home Over-Valued?
If the tax assessor’s fair market value is clearly greater than what you believe your home’s actual value to be, you may act to update your valuation. To change your home’s tax value you must file a Real Property Tax Return
How to Update Your Tax Valuation.
By April 1st you must file a Real Property Tax Return to change your home’s tax value and state what you believe the value of your home to be. After the Tax Assessor has reviewed your proposed valuation and determined what, if any value adjustment to make, a Notice of Assessment will be mailed to you reflecting any changes in the county’s valuation. If you are satisfied with the re-assessed value, no further action on your part is required and your 2014 taxes will be based on the new valuation. Value issues are often resolved by the Assessor accepting the value indicated on the Tax Return, or by an acceptable property re-assessment.
Forms and Deadlines
For Cobb County (deadline April 1, 2012) for instructions and a link to the form: Cobb County Taxpayers Return of Real Property
For any other County in Georgia - visit the Tax Commissioner’s website in the county in which the property is located.
Cobb residents meet at the Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta from 10AM to 12noon.
Fulton County residents meet the same day from 10AM to 12noon at various locations in their State House district click here
Capitol Tours and Paging:
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Senator Judson Hill