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Balancing Budget, Education Funding Among Top Priorities at Capitol

Georgia Legislative Update for Week Ending Feb. 8, 2013.

On Friday the House passed HB 105 which is the 2013 amended budget.  Since the fiscal year starts July 1 the Legislature has the opportunity to address issues like school enrollment growth which occurred after the 2012 session. 

The 2013 amended budget is set by the revenue estimate from the Governor.  The Governor offers their budget to the legislature, who in turn, makes changes and bring it to the floor for a vote. 

This year’s amended budget is set at $19.3 billion in state funds. Comparatively the state is spending 15 to 20 percent less per capita than we did 10 years ago. That is a combination of belt tightening and the requirement to have a balanced budget. 

Four budget areas comprise over 80 percent of the expenses.

  • Education
  • Higher Education
  • Medicaid
  • Public Safety

Details of the budget can be found by going to the Legislative Link on my website at www.tomrice.org.

Since this is the beginning of the first year of the two years session there have been many bills introduced that have started through the committee process.  Each bill that goes into law has to withstand the scrutiny of the process including nine different approvals ranging from subcommittee to the Governor. 

Substantive bills are underway on issues including:

  • Juvenile justice reform
  • Preservation of Second Amendment rights
  • Education funding formulas
  • The 2014 budget. 

Personally, I have worked almost every day since the 2012 session ended to adjust provisions of the new Title Fee system on vehicle purchases.  To refresh your memory we eliminated the sales tax and property tax on vehicles sales and replaced them with a one-time Title Fee (less than sales tax in all but two counties).  

Attempting to protect the interests of tax payers and to ensure that rentals, leases and other transactions were accommodated in the new law was a daunting task. However, I think my House Bill 80 will do just that.

I am Chairman of the House Motor Vehicles Committee.  As such I have commissioned a committee study of license tag renewals and special tags to assess whether or not we can construct a more owner-friendly tag offering.  Vice Chairman Bubber Epps will chair this effort.

If you have any questions call my office at 404-656-5912 or go to my website and use the contact button to send an email.  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve such a wonderful House district.

Rep. Tom Rice House District 95 serves, Peachtree Corners, Berkeley Lake and Portions of Johns Creek, Duluth and Norcross.


Editor's note: You may also leave a comment below or click on Mr. Rice's name at the top of his report to send an email message.

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