March 14-- The Georgia House Democratic Caucus reports the State Senate is blocking efforts to make sure fees collected by the state are used for the purpose collected.
" Representative Al Williams spoke out against the gutting of House Bill 811, a bill aimed at addressing the redirection of dedicated fees, today on the House floor.
Introduced by Representative Jay Powell, House Bill 811 provides for automatic fee adjustments of 20% in cases where funds are not appropriated for the specified purposes as stated when the fee was created.
Representative Williams praised Rep. Powell for his bill and argued that a Senate subcommittee sought to stop the state from diverting those funds and added language that practically shredded the original intent of House Bill 811.
“When we do other than what we say we will do with the citizens’ money by way of fees, I believe that it is important we call attention to the fact that we have deceived our citizens,” said Rep. Williams. “If you want to add money to the general fund, I beg that you at least have the guts enough to call it what it is—a tax.”
When House Bill 811 passed in the House and moved onto the Senate, senators added a provision that the bill would only be in effect when the state’s reserves contain about $1 billion or more.
“In its original form, Powell’s bill gives us the opportunity to make it right,” said Rep. Williams. “There is no reason that the citizens of Georgia need to pay a fee for a service that is not being provided.”
Representative Williams added, “It is disgraceful how the General Assembly has deceived the citizens of Georgia.”