Valdosta Daily Times

Local Report from State Capitol

February 1, 2010

Legislative Session Update

January 25 - January 29, 2010

As a member of the Appropriations committee, I had the opportunity to examine the state's budget last week. The House reconvened this week to continue working on some of the other major issues affecting Georgia. While passing a balanced state budget is still our number one priority, many other vital issues remain at the forefront during this year's legislative session. Among those are securing a sustainable water supply for all Georgians, helping small businesses grow, creating jobs, and ensuring we make the necessary improvements to our state's ethics laws.

In 2008, the House passed sweeping legislation in an effort to create a more sustainable water supply for the state. While that has helped, the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee continues to look for more ways to insure a sufficient water supply for our growing state. This week the full House met to hear from experts regarding the state's status in the current litigation over access to water resources between Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, as well as to discuss legislation to promote water conservation.

Under the leadership of Speaker David Ralston, the House has committed itself to helping small businesses grow and create jobs for Georgians. We now have a new committee specifically designed for that purpose: the Special Committee on Small Business Development and Job Creation. This committee will hear and review legislation intended to promote small business and job creation before sending it to the House floor for debate. This is a committee that I proudly serve on so that I may better serve Valdosta. I hope you'll share your ideas with me on this or any other committee.

This week we also heard about exciting new legislation from Representative Tom Graves. He, along with other members of the state House, introduced the Jobs, Opportunity, and Business Success Act of 2010. The legislation is designed to stimulate the state's economy by providing tax credits and incentives to create, expand, and attract new businesses in Georgia. Some of these initiatives include a $2,400 tax credit for Georgia companies that hire difficult to employ individuals who are currently receiving unemployment benefits, the creation of the "Year for Georgia Entrepreneurs" which would allow Georgians the opportunity to start a new business with no state fees, and a fifty percent reduction of the capital gains tax for all Georgia taxpayers.

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