Do you ever watch the nightly news or read the paper and wonder, “What is really going on?” The headlines and stories out of D.C. seem to say one thing one week and then something completely opposite the next. We currently have a “what is really going on” episode brewing at the Georgia state capitol that you may hear about over the next few weeks.
Every year, the Georgia legislature passes a bill to update the Georgia income tax code so that it matches up with any changes made to the federal tax code during the time we have been out of session. We always try to get this bill through the legislature and signed by the governor early on, so that folks can file their state tax returns. This year the update is House Bill 821 and it is moving through the process. Generally, this update bill only interest’s accountants, but this year promises to be different.
The difference in this year’s bill is that it is not solely about updating the income tax code. Instead, this year’s income tax update, which is a must pass bill, has a controversial paragraph attached to it. There is language that will remove all sales tax on jet fuel sold in Georgia.
Here is some history on this. The legislature had cut these fuel taxes during the great recession to help airlines who were struggling financially (some who might be headquartered in Atlanta). Then the legislature added the sales tax back a few years ago, after the economy and airline profits recovered. There has since been specific legislation introduced every year, spearheaded by airline lobbyists, to reinstate the tax break, with no success. But this year’s airline lobbyist’s strategy appears full proof. Find a way to attach the tax break to a bill that must be passed. Victory assured. So, if you hear that the legislature voted to give airlines a large tax break…you’ll know what was really going on.
It is my privilege to represent the citizens of House District 28 in the Georgia General Assembly. I would like to hear from you on this or any other issue. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at 404-656-0325.
About the author: Rep. Dan Gasaway (R-Homer) represents the 28th Georgia House District which includes portions of Banks, Habersham and Stephens Counties. He serves as Secretary of the Human Relations & Aging, Intergovernmental Coordination, and Natural Resources & Environment Committees. He is a member of the House Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight, Higher Education, and Insurance Committees.