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John Douglas - 04/01/09
The 2009 legislative session nears the end.

The 2009 Legislative Session will end April 3 as we complete the 40th day of meetings. Last week was a busy week as we focused on the economy and other areas as well.

On March 25, the Senate voted for a true stimulus package that spends no taxpayer money and allows the market to immediately respond. The Jobs, Opportunity, and Business Success Act (JOBS) is a tax relief package that recognizes the people of our state as the driving economic force. House Bill 481 and 482 comprise the JOBS Act providing a new business filing fee holiday, a $500 credit towards the unemployment insurance tax for each eligible employee hired, a $2,400 income tax credit for each eligible employee hired, and the elimination of the sales tax deposit. The act would also eliminate the state inventory tax on all Georgia businesses. This package creates an environment that makes Georgia attractive to new business startups as well as businesses seeking to expand in Georgia.

This is the most important anti recession legislation the General Assembly has ever considered, and its focus on protecting small businesses will be the key to bringing Georgia through the current economic crisis. What we are proposing is harnessing the greatness of Georgia ... the intellectual capital, the entrepreneurial spirit, and the true grit of everyday Georgians. True sustainable job creation is the solution to economic recovery. By doing this, Georgia's economy will flourish in a fast, efficient and stable manner. The purpose of government is not to create jobs but to stimulate them, and that is what we want this act to accomplish. We believe hard-working individuals - not big government - are the keys to our economic prosperity.

Restoring the housing market is a vital step to fixing the economy. In an effort to stimulate that area of Georgia's economy, the Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation to provide a home purchase income tax credit. Home buyers will receive a one-time tax credit of $3,600 with the purchase of a single-family home that will be available for only July 1-Dec 31 2009, providing an incentive for home buyers to act now. I firmly believe that stimulating the housing market will have long-reaching effects across every community in Georgia.

Gov. Perdue's "Super Speeder" legislation passed both houses on March 25. HB 160 directs the state to levy a $200 surcharge on any driver who is convicted of driving at a speed of 85 mph or higher on any four-lane highway or 75 mph or higher on any two-lane road or highway. Failure to pay the fee within 90 days will result in the suspension of the driver's license or driving privileges of the offender plus an additional $50 fee. All fees collected will be deposited in the general fund with the intent to fund a trauma care system in Georgia.

As always, please remember to contact me in my office on the issues that are affecting you and your area. I am here to represent you and it is an honor for me to work on your behalf.

Sen. John Douglas serves as chairman of the Veterans, Military and Homeland Security Committee. He represents the 17th Senate District which includes Newton County and portions of Henry, Rockdale, Spalding and Walton counties. He may be reached by phone at 404.656.0503 or by e-mail a john.douglas@senate.ga.gov.