Senate okays amendment capping state income tax rate

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The state Senate voted 42-11 Monday to approve a proposed constitutional amendment, SR 415, that would cap Georgia’s top income tax rate at 6 percent, a rate limitation that has been in effect for several decades.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where a two-thirds majority would be required for it to pass. If the House adopts SR 415, the constitutional amendment would be placed on the general election ballot in November.

Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth), who introduced SR 415, said Georgia’s 6 percent income tax rate “puts us at a competitive disadvantage” (with other southern states).

Passing the amendment “makes it clear our income tax rate is not going up,” Shafer said.

Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson (D-Tucker) said the amendment was not necessary and would tie the hands of future legislators who tried to deal with state policy issues.

“Six percent is the top rate, it has been since about 1980, and there is no move to change that,” Henson said.

In other actions, the Senate voted 43-8 to pass legislation (SB 255) that would allow cities and counties to team up with private developers to finance the construction of government buildings and sets the guidelines for those partnerships.

“This is just an additional tool in their toolbox,” said Rep. Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta).

Some senators were concerned that passage of the bill could result in corruption in the way local governments award the contracts for these construction projects.

“That’s almost a good idea, but not quite,” said Sen. Steve Thompson (D-Marietta). “There are problems and they need to be addressed.”

© 2014 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: David Shafer , Hunter Hill , public-private projects , state income tax , Steve Henson