2016 Capitol Update Week 3 – Baby Budget and IRS Update
We have just completed the third week of the 2016 legislative session. Committees and subcommittees met throughout the week to take up legislation, and the full body of the House unanimously passed our first two pieces of legislation. On Wednesday, Chief Justice Hugh Thompson delivered the annual State of the Judiciary Address to a joint session of the House and Senate.
Amended Fiscal Year 2016 Budget – HB 750
Following last week’s budget hearings, the House passed the amended fiscal year (AFY 2016) budget. HB 750 the AFY 2016 budget is balanced at $22.9 billion with approximately 85 percent of new appropriations for education and transportation. The vote on the AFY 2016 budget was 176 – 0.
New transportation funds, a result of passage of HB 170 the Transportation Funding Act from last year, total $758 million. Over $500 million of those funds are for capital construction and maintenance projects. An increase in Local Maintenance and Improvement Grants (LMIG) brings total state funds benefiting county and city resurfacing and other maintenance projects to $336 million. You may track the progress of transportation projects and view the state’s 10-year transportation plan (also approved this week in the House Transportation Committee) at www.GAroads.org.
New education funding allocates $204 million to our K-12 system. Another $30 million in lottery funds benefit the HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarships and an additional $20 million supports students who take advantage of dual enrollment and progress at their own pace through the Move on When Ready program.
The AFY 2016 budget also includes $59 million in additional funds for growth in the Medicaid and Peachcare programs. I voted YES on the AFY 2016 budget.
IRS Update – HB 742
I co-sponsored with author Representative David Knight the annual update to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) an important piece of legislation benefiting Georgia’s tax preparers and business community in addition to our taxpayers. A key provision in HB 742 makes permanent an annual Section 179 expense deduction of $500,000. This not only improves the planning process for small business, but encourages reinvestment in equipment permitting additional growth and employment. I voted YES on HB 742.
In addition to considering important legislation, we also took time to recognize our state’s most admirable citizens. On Monday, January 25, the House celebrated Georgia National Guard Day in honor of those brave Georgians that stand in harm’s way to preserve our freedom.
Adjutant General Joe Jarrard and numerous members of the Guard joined us in the House, where we were privileged to witness the newest member of the Georgia National Guard be sworn into the Army National Guard by our own WWII veteran, Representative John Yates .
Communication is key
If you are a voter in the 106th District, you may be receiving mail from me on issues that you have shared with me that are important to you, your family, business and/or community. I welcome and solicit your frequent input on issues pending before the General Assembly.
You may contact me in many ways:
Atlanta, GA 30334
Snellville, GA 30078
I look forward to hearing from you, agree or disagree, your input is important and makes me a better Representative.
Thanks for allowing me to serve,