The past legislative session went faster and seemed busier than usual.
As many of you know, there are 40 days of legislation, but add to that number are days that could be counted because they are designated committee days. There were fewer committee days this year, and we worked quickly to accomplish our goals.
For the second year in a row, the finance committee I chair passed a $500 income tax rebate per family ($250 single and $375 head of household). By the time you read this, many of you may already have received your checks. We are also providing $500 property tax relief for every homeowner, even though the State of Georgia does not collect property tax. That revenue belongs to counties, cities, and schools. So, every family will get up to $1,000 in property tax and income tax relief – unprecedented in Georgia state government. Also, Senate Bill 56, which I sponsored and passed out of my finance committee, increases the standard deductions for Georgians to $ 12,000 for singles and $ 24,000 for married filers. In addition, another first is this eliminates the marriage penalty in Georgia. No two people should pay higher taxes just because they are married. For the first time, it also allows those who itemize at the federal level to either itemize or use the standard deduction at the state level. Other changes are too numerous to mention.
The ability to send back money and increase deductions doesn’t just happen. There must be increased revenue through growth (Georgia was once again listed as the number one state to do business), or revenue freed up from eliminating expenses such as unnecessary tax credits for businesses that don’t work.
On the growth front, in the last year, Georgia has seen the four largest company investments in state history. One is on Highway 411, where we have seen 200 dirt-moving machines working day and night preparing for the SK Battery America plant, which will employ 3500 people. Another investment in my district is QCells North America, which will produce solar panels in Georgia instead of China. The company already boasts the most significate order for solar panels in its history.
“The shoe market does not really have an age limit,” Coley said. So you’ve got to think that when shoes started popping in the 70s and 80s, Sneakerheads are 60 years old now.” His customers range from those young adults who want high- quality shoes for their toddlers just learning to walk up to those who have been wearing fashionable footwear for 30 or 40 years. “I would say the target audience we mostly appeal to is those from 14 to 35, so it’s a pretty wide age range,” Coley said. In addition to high-end sneakers, Easy Way on Broad also sells fashionable T-shirts, shorts, caps, and other accessories.
The new location at the corner of Second Avenue and Broad Street has been very good for Coley and his staff. He believes that the Rome market is growing and sees significant opportunities to grow his business along with the city. While embracing the new location, Coley has also embraced some businesses near The Early Way. “We love being a part of the downtown community,” Tay said.
While this column was primarily about numbers, I look forward to sharing other topics covered in the past session, which are near and dear to me and the constituents I serve.
Thanks again for allowing me the opportunity to represent this 3 County district at the State Senate. It is an honor I never dreamed I would have the chance to do, and I take it proudly and seriously.
State Senate Committee Memberships:
Health and Human Services, Member
Higher Education, Member