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February 15--  Senator Jack Hill of Reidsville, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, says fiscal year-to-date revenue collections are "disturbing."  His remarks are contained in his weekly "Notes From the Senate."

Notes from the Senate

February 15, 2019

JANUARY REVENUES "THE BOTTOM DROPS OUT"

January revenues came in at an astounding minus $314.1 million less than January of last year. For Individual Income Taxes this calculated to a minus 12.2 % decline on revenues of $2.2 billion. It had been feared that both December and January would be problem months because of the rush a year ago by taxpayers to file taxes to take advantage of deductions being eliminated in the federal tax cut.

YEAR TO DATE NUMBERS SOBERING

When you add it all up, the FY 19 Year revenues picture is disturbing. In the seven months so far, state revenues are up $202.8 million, an increase of only 1.5%, well below the amount needed to make budget.

SALES TAXES STILL PRETTY GOOD

Net Sales Taxes came in at 2.0% for January, fairly consistent for this year and reflecting fairly good Christmas sales. Corporate Income Taxes were negative at -18.6%.

MOSTLY NEGATIVE

Tag, Title and Fees was negative at -6.3% and Title Ad Valorem Taxes were minus 9.8%. Tobacco taxes were up 10.2% and Alcoholic Beverages Taxes were also positive at 7.8%.

FUEL TAX REVENUES ONLY SLIGHTLY POSITIVE

Fuel excise taxes, impact fees and hotel/motel fees altogether were up slightly overall at less than 1%, 0.7%.

With only 5 months to go before the end of the fiscal year, revenues must have positive months every month to have a chance to meet the FY 19 budget.

LEGISLATION PASSED THIS WEEK

SB6: Makes it unlawful to use drones to transport contraband into prison grounds or to photograph prison facilities.

SB16: "Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Act"; Allows for expedited licenses for licensed health care professionals of other states. Requires each applicant as a health care professional to have satisfactory reports from a fingerprint records check report conducted by the Georgia Crime Information Center. Creates the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Commission.

SB38: Eliminates electronic filing fees for some groups including the state, its agents or subdivisions as in the Attorney General, Secretary of State, district attorneys, public defenders, municipal corporations and county governments.

BILLS INTRODUCED IN THE SENATE THIS WEEK

SB80: Removes old provisions about the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame being self-sufficient, and provides language about the intrinsic value of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

SB82: Creates the role of Chief Innovation Officer for the Department of Transportation. This new role will be appointed by and will serve under the Director of Planning.

SB83: Allows public schools in grades nine through 12 to have courses in History and Literature of the Old and New Testament Eras and provides a basic outline of concepts to be covered in those courses.

SB84: Removes the requirement of a fee for the issuance of a renewal for a weapons carry license or a temporary renewal of a weapons carry license.

SB86: Prohibits public high schools from participating in or sponsoring interscholastic sports events conducted by any athletic association unless the association has separate regions and playoffs in the classification for schools with an enrollment of 640 students of less.

SB88: Allows Georgia taxpayers to make voluntary contributions to agencies who assist disabled veterans on their tax returns.

SB97: Provides limits to the fees charged and collected by self-service storage facilities for the late payment of rent. Provides for liens and the enforcement of liens for fees for the late payment of rent.

SB98: Allows for ranked voting for runoffs by overseas citizens and military personnel.

SB99: Allows for hunting, fishing, and trapping license purchasers to designate an anatomical gift.

HOUSE LEGISLATION NOW IN THE SENATE

HB23: Broadband service, authorizes electric membership corporations to provide broadband services. Authorizes certain financing and partnerships for the provision of broadband services. Prohibits cross subsidization between the provision on broadband services and an electric membership corporation's natural gas activities or electricity services activities.

HB62: Requires notification to patients and a mammogram report if the patient has dense breast tissue.

VISITORS TO THE CAPITOL FROM THE FOURTH THIS WEEK

Visitors from Candler, Effingham, Bulloch, and Emanuel counties, representing students with dyslexia, Farm Bureau, Public Libraries, as well as a Page from Candler City.

For staff use only.