Mercedes gets its tax break as Deal signs HB 202

[private]One of the most controversial bills passed this legislative session, which grants a special tax break to automaker Mercedes-Benz, has been signed into law.

Gov. Nathan Deal put his signature Wednesday on HB 202, a bill initially drafted to revise the procedures by which counties appraise property and handle appeals of tax assessments.

Late in the session, Deal’s office asked the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Paul Battles (R-Cartersville), to add a section to HB 202 granting a $1.26 million yearly tax break to Mercedes-Benz. The amendment exempts the automaker, which is moving its U.S. headquarters to Georgia, from paying the required title fee when one of its employees trades in a leased company vehicle.

Another late amendment added to HB 202 provides a sales exemption worth $350,000 for a campus expansion project at Truett-McConnell College, a private college in Cleveland.

The amended version of HB 202 was not brought up for a final vote until just before 12 midnight on the last day of the General Assembly session. The House voted to pass the bill at midnight, but the Senate did not vote on the measure until several minutes after midnight, the adjournment deadline for the session.

The Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG), which lobbied for passage of the original, unamended version of HB 202, applauded Deal for signing the measure.

ACCG Executive Director Ross King called the bill “critical property tax reform legislation” and added that it would “improve administrative efficiencies for the benefit of our citizens.”

© 2015 by The Georgia Report


Tags: ACCG , Mercedes , Nathan Deal , property tax procedures , tax break , Truett-McConnell