May 14, 2013 — Gov. Nathan Deal last week unexpectedly vetoed a bill that would have given $9 million in sales tax breaks to charitable medical clinics, federally qualified health centers, food banks and other charities. The measure, which breezed through the House and Senate, would have benefited many safety-net providers that expect to carry an extra patient load once the federal Affordable Care Act begins phasing out hospital subsidies for indigent care next year.
Deal’s veto message noted that a 2010 tax reform panel recommended that all non-government and non-business exemptions be allowed to expire so the Legislature could decide whether they should be renewed. He did not apply that principle, however, when he signed a bill last month extending an estimated $18 million tax break to Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., a Savannah-based manufacturer of luxury jets.
Rep. Earl Ehrhart knows how to take care of his own. Ehrhart — CEO of a non-profit group that helps donors get state tax credits for gifts to religious schools — sponsored a new law in 2011 that raises the limit on those credits and eases restrictions on how contributions may be spent. The Cobb County lawmaker has never disclosed his role with the non-profit on disclosure forms mandated by state law.
Thousands of Georgia teachers and other school workers — nurses, cafeteria supervisors, bus drivers and custodians — are losing their jobs due to another round of budget cuts. Salary cuts and furloughs are the new normal. Communities across Georgia are taking a big hit from the cuts. As one economist put it, “It is folly not to recognize the impact on the broader economic recovery.” Sarah Beth Gehl presents a few solutions to the school budget crisis.
This just in: There will never be a recession in Georgia again. After we weather this current economic storm, good days will be here again and never leave. That’s the stance legislative leadership took today by offering amendments to House Bill 1055 that carve additional holes into our revenue system. (Commentary from the bean-counters at the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute)