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Democrats Introduce Legislation
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
February 10--  (Editor's Note:  The following news release is from the Georgia Democratic Party regarding new legislation introduced in the Georgia House.)
Democrats in the Georgia House of Representatives today introduced HB 356, a revenue bill designed to put additional funds into the state's shrinking coffers by streamlining government and improving the sales tax collection process.  The bill transfers control over collecting sales taxes from the state Department of Revenue to local governments, allowing them to contract with private firms.  Similar plans have been tried in other states, notably Alabama, which saw a revenue increase of over $1 billion. 

"Every year, the Department of Revenue leaves money on the table in uncollected sales taxes," said the bill's author, Rep. Virgil Fludd (D-Tyrone).  "We're facing an economic crisis in Georgia, and this is the time to stop leaving money on the table and scale down government spending where we can.  Consumers are paying sales taxes in good faith, and we need to make sure that those tax dollars are going to work for the people of this state." 

"This is a plan that Georgia families can get behind," said House Democratic Leader DuBose Porter (D-Dublin).  "We're talking about sales taxes paid by consumers in Georgia that, for a variety of reasons, don't make it to the state and local governments.  This bill empowers local governments, streamlines government and makes it more efficient to those it serves, and most importantly, puts money back in the budget and mitigates the need for destructive and counterproductive across-the-board cuts." 

"This is a fiscally responsible way to mitigate our budget crisis," said House Democratic Caucus Chair Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus).  "We're putting money into the state's bank account, and doing it without raising taxes." 

Facts about HB356: 

Putting money into state coffers, without raising taxes

  • HB 356 makes the sales tax collection process more efficient, essentially picking up sales tax revenue owed to the government, but left on the table. 
  • Our next door neighbor, Alabama, passed a similar measure, and saw an addition $1 billion dollar gain in revenues.

A streamlined government

  • By putting the collection process in the hands of local government, we're cutting down on the state's role in collections, and slimming down state government, cutting costs.

Empowering local governments

  • Under our plan, we're breaking up the state's monopoly on tax collections, and empowering local governments to partner with the private sector for lower administration costs and more efficient results.
  • Our plan also gets local sales tax revenues back to local governments faster.  Instead of having to wait weeks for revenues to work their way through state bureaucracy, local governments can get sales tax revenues much faster.
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