Your Georgia General Assembly is in recess for spring break until Monday, April 12.
Last week, the House of Representatives met for three days and acted on only five relatively minor pieces of legislation. Now just seven legislative days are left in the session, with plenty of unfinished business – most importantly final action on the budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2010 and the annual budget for fiscal year 2011 – remaining to be addressed.
On March 26, a majority of the House of Representatives – many of whom have pledged never to let the words “tax increase” cross their lips – voted to approve a laundry list of some 80 new state fees and increases of existing fees totaling $100 million-plus.
These House members have apparently forgotten that fee increases do the same thing that tax increases do, which is take money out of the pockets of everyday Georgians. These are a few of the new and higher fees that will be charged to taxpayers if HB 1055 is passed by the Senate and signed into law by the governor:
In the past week, it appears Gov. Perdue has beaten down some executives in the Georgia hospital community into submission over his controversial 1.6 to 1.9 percent “bed tax” .
For two years, the state’s health care leaders and most legislators have been successful at stopping the governor’s tax increase on hospitals, an added cost that would undoubtedly be passed on to patients. The governor recently threatened Georgia’s hospitals with another, more severe proposal: a 10.25 percent reduction in Medicaid reimbursement and a reinstatement of the sales tax on non-profit hospitals.
Legislation calling for increased water conservation was approved by your House of Representatives on March 10. HB 1094, including new rules for public water systems, stronger efforts to reduce waste, new standards to require high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and restrictions on outdoor watering.
Well, folks, state government in Georgia keeps getting more interesting by the day. Since last week’s report, the Appropriations Committees of the House and the Senate just completed two weeks of hearings on the annual state budget for fiscal year 2011, for the purpose of balancing the $18.2 billion spending plan proposed by Gov. Perdue.