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Georgia Politics

1 Bill Seeks to Audit Tax Credits in GA, Second to Rein in Legislative Practice for Credits

Georgia lawmakers would have to jump through additional hoops before adopting legislation to offer tax credits and to impose new tax credits under two measures introduced this week.

Georgia lawmakers would have to jump through additional hoops before adopting legislation to offer new tax credits and extend existing credits under two measures introduced this week.

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Senator John Albers, a North Fulton Republican, has filed Senate Bills 119 and 120 to reign in the legislative process. Backed by Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Hill, the bills also have the support of Republicans Chuck Hufstetler, Bill Cowsert, Mike Dugan, and Steve Gooch.

The first measure, SB 119, would prohibit the Georgia House and Georgia Senate from adopting tax bills and tax incentives without first having an economic analysis by a state auditor. The bill is called the “Georgia Measuring Success Act” and directs the economic analysis to estimate the impacts of the bill becoming law, including:

  • Net change in state revenue
  • Net change in expenditures (the cost of administering the bill)
  • Net change in economic benefit
  • Net change in public benefit

The bill must originate in the House of Representatives and include a fiscal note. The economic analysis would be required to be attached to every copy of the bill distributed to lawmakers for their review.

The bill could still be amended in committee, but would have to be revisited by the state auditor before it could be voted on. SB 119 requires the bill to die if the procedure outline is not followed.

Senate Bill 120 seeks to have a state audit on the current tax exemptions provided for in Georgia code including:

  • Tax exemptions for rural physicians (OCGA 48-7-29)
  • Tax exemptions for rural hospitals (OCGA 48-7-29.2)
  • Tax credit for qualified low-income building (OCGA 48-7-29.6)
  • Tax credit for depository financial institutions  (OCGA 48-7-29.7)
  • Income tax credit for clean energy property (OCGA 48-7-29.14)
  • Tax credit for purchase of one eligible single-family residence (OCGA 48-7-29.17)
  • Tax credits for business enterprises in less developed areas  (OCGA 48-7-29.40.1)
  • tax credits for certain business enterprises in counties as less developed areas (OCGA 48-7-40)
  • Tax credits for employers providing approved retraining programs (OCGA 48-7-40.5)
  • Credit to business enterprises for leased motor vehicles; daily ridership (OCGA 48-7-40.22)
  • Basic skills education program credits (OCGA 48-7-41)
  • Sales of tangible personal property or services to any chapter of the Georgia State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution
  • Sales of objects of art and of anthropological, archeological, geological, horticultural, or zoological objects or artifacts and other similar tangible personal property to or for the use by any museum
  • Sales of  religious paper in this state
  • sales of tangible personal property to, or used in the construction of, an aquarium owned or operated by a 501(c)3
  • Tax credits for employers providing child care
  • Optional tax credits for existing manufacturing and telecommunications facilities in tier 1 counties
  • Alternative tax credits for base year port traffic increases; conditions and limitations
  • Establishing or relocating headquarters; tax credit
  • Income tax credit for certain qualified investments for limited period of time
  • State sales and use taxes applicable to the liquid propane gas commodity sold and delivered for residential heating
  • Compensation of dealers for reporting and paying tax; reimbursement deduction
  • Tax credit for donation of real property; carryover of credit
  • qualified health insurance expense credit
  • Qualified education expense credit
  • Tax credit for qualified investments
  • Tax credit for private driver education courses of minors
  • Tax credit for disaster assistance funds received
  • Credit for qualified child and dependent care expenses
  • Tax credit for adoption of foster child
  • Tax credit for film, video, or digital production in state
  • Tax credit for qualified life insurance premiums for National Guard and Air National Guard members
  • Tax credits for existing manufacturing and telecommunications facilities in tier 2 counties
  • Tax credits for existing manufacturing and telecommunications facilities or manufacturing and telecommunications support facilities in tier 3 or 4 counties

The list is not comprehensive of all tax credits requested to be audited nor is it comprehensive of all of the credits permissible under Georgia law.

Audits would have to be conducted, based on priority outlined in the bill, between 2020 and 2025, due to the large number of tax credits on the books already.

Both bills have been assigned to the Senate Finance Committee, which five of the six bill sponsors serve on.

Jessica Szilagyi is a former Statewide Contributor for

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