UNDER THE GOLD DOME Legislative Week 4

“It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.” – Calvin Coolidge

The Council was recognized with Senate Resolution 237, for the upcoming Council for Quality Growth’s “1st Annual Day at the Capitol” on February 26th.   We would like to say a special thank you to Senator Fran Millar, Senator Josh McKoon, Senator Lindsey Tippins and Council Board Member Senator Brandon Beach for sponsoring the Resolution.  You can view a copy of the Resolution HERE.

One of the bigger bills to pass this week was House Resolution 4, the “Water” bill that seeks to put an end to the “Water Wars” that have been prevalent over the last several years.  As a backgrounder, it should be clarified that Georgia has contended over the last two centuries, the original border drawn by Congress in 1796 on the 35th Parallel, which includes a portion of the Tennessee River, is the border recognized to be the true Georgia line.  However, a survey conducted in 1818, that as ratified and accepted by Tennessee, but not Georgia, placed the Georgia border a mile southward, which left out the Tennessee River entirely, and has remained that way ever since.

HR 4, introduced by Representative Harry Geisinger (R) proposes to drop the disputed border issue and settle it once and for all by allowing Georgia to gain a piece of land, currently held by TVA, that would be large enough to hold a pipeline.

As Jim Galloway pointed out, Georgia is giving up 66 miles in exchange for 1.5 miles.  The measure is currently in the Georgia Senate Judiciary, after passing out of the House of Representatives on a 171-2 vote.  If passed out of the Senate, the Resolution will then go before the Tennessee Legislature.  If approved by Tennessee, the measure will then go before the United States Congress for approval.  This is a very important resolution to Georgia and the Council for Quality Growth supports any solution that helps to solve Georgia’s, and especially Metro-Atlanta’s water issues.  A commendation must be given to Bard Carver, of Hall, Booth & Smith for his hard work over the last six years on this issue.

Additionally, a measure the Council supports, the Georgia Downtown Renaissance Act, House Bill 128, was heard in a House Ways and Means Sub-Committee on Thursday.  The legislation, sponsored by Macon Representative Allen Peake (R) and supported by the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), proposes state income tax credits in exchange for investment in residential and commercial development in downtown property.  Key pieces of the legislation, according to GMA, include:

  • $20 million per year in statewide tax incentives ranging from 10 to 25 percent for investments in new construction or renovations of existing buildings within Renaissance Districts.
  • $5 million per year in statewide tax incentives for the purchase and/or significant improvements of downtown housing.
  • $5 million per year in statewide tax incentives for individual or corporate contributions to the Georgia Renaissance Fund. Proceeds of the fund would be used for low-interest loans for downtown projects, partnering with the Downtown Revolving Loan funds available through the Georgia Cities Foundation and DCA that are in such high demand.
As Georgia’s economy continues to slowly recover, the Council believes incentives for development in our state’s downtown’s are an important step in growing again and encouraging the development of one of the most important aspects of our communities, the downtown centers of commerce and commiserating.   We will continue to support this legislation and would encourage you to educate yourself further on the proposed legislation.  A detailed handout by GMA which gives a detailed overview on the benefits of revitalizing our downtown’s and the negative impacts not addressing the issue can have our state can be found HERE.
The Georgia General Assembly finished Legislative Week 4 on Thursday, gaveling Session Day 18 to a close.  The General Assembly resumes their schedule on Tuesday and will end next Friday at the Day 22 mark, crossing the halfway mark until Sine Die on Day 40.