Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tax and fee bill tabled in House of Representatives

House Bill 159, which would require separate bills for local property taxes and and local fees, has been at least temporarily withdrawn, or tabled, in the Georgia House of Representatives.

The clerk's office of the House of Representatives told me that the tabling took place after a lengthy floor debate.  Presumably, disagreements over the bill suggested to the sponsors that there was not enough support for the measure as currently written to pass a floor vote at this time.  Due to the legislative calendar, representatives would have to work out their final differences for a vote today in order for the state senate to consider the measure this year.  If they cannot reach an agreement today, the bill can be taken up again next year.

As I've pointed out before, one of the unintended consequences of this bill would be that Decatur residents would receive five separate tax and fee bills from the city and county annually.  The admininistrative costs of billing would increase and collection rates for stormwater drainage and sanitation services would decline.

Jimmy Orr, a member of the Gwinnett County Stormwater Authority, has laid out a thoughtful critique of HB 159 in a letter to the editor of the Gwinnett Daily Post that's worth a read.

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