Legislation that some proponents say would make Georgia a model state for comprehensive budget reform sailed through the Senate and is headed for consideration by the House. The Tax Expenditures Transparency Act, SB 366 by Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, passed by a 50-0 vote.
“This legislation will expand the General Assembly’s ability to conduct audits and economic analyses of tax incentive programs, while considering proposals for reform,” said Lt. Gov. Burt Jones. “The process will also draw on the expertise of our state’s top economists, the business and economic development community, and other stakeholders.
Jones went on to say, “From this year’s review process, it is evident that legislators need the time to hear all sides of these complicated issues, consider the fiscal and economic impact of specific parts of our state’s tax structure, and propose changes outside the crunch of the annual 40-day legislative session. I look forward to working with the House to get SB 366 passed and signed into law by the Governor.”
Following the unanimous passage, Americans for Prosperity – Georgia (AFP-GA) commended the action by the Senate.
“We thank the Georgia Senate for unanimously passing this critical legislation that would make Georgia a more competitive state for business and opportunity by unleashing comprehensive budget and tax reform,” said AFP-GA Coalitions Director Jacquelyn Harn, following her testimony in the Senate Finance Committee hearing. “Including revenue policies in the state’s general appropriations allows legislators to better manage the budget, and allow for increased transparency and accountability for how tax dollars are spent.
“By including revenue amounts and tax preferences in the annual budget, SB 366 would produce a fully comprehensive budget. This puts Georgia in the driver’s seat for responsible budget reform and sets up the Peach State to lead and inspire states across the country for all kinds of better policies.”
SB 366 would require revenue policies and amounts to be included in the annual budget to give lawmakers a more complete understanding and management of the budget. By adding all revenue policy to all the spending in the budget, Georgia would likely become the first state in the country empowered by a fully comprehensive budget.
It increases the number of audits the chairs of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees may request annually from five to six. It also requires more details about expected revenues to be included in the annual general appropriations bill and creates the Joint Committee on Taxation and Economic Development to meet in odd-numbered years to review the economic analyses requested.