Tax Coalition Set to Examine Agriculture Exemptions
Thursday, July 15th, 2010
During the 2010 legislative session, the Georgia General Assembly passed HB 1405, which sets a process in place to examine Georgia’s tax code. It established a “Council on Tax Reform and Fairness” and a “Special Joint Committee on Georgia Revenue Structure” to conduct a thorough study of the state's current revenue structure and make a report of its findings and recommendations for legislation to the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor no later than January 10, 2011 (the start of the 2011 legislative session). The legislation outlines who will serve on the council. We are very pleased that the Lt. Governor selected Georgia Agribusiness Council (GAC) member Skeetter McCorkle of McCorkle Nurseries to serve throughout this process.
Georgia agriculture has a lot at stake in these discussions and findings. The first meeting of the Council on Tax Reform will be held Thursday, July 28 in Atlanta. GAC has joined forces with seven other similar business organizations (Georgia Chemistry Council, Georgia Farm Bureau, Georgia Forestry Association, Georgia Mining Association, Georgia Paper and Forest Products Association, Georgia Poultry Federation and the Georgia Traditional Manufacturers Association) to form the "Coalition for a Competitive Georgia. " The purpose of the Coalition is to support tax policies which enhance the competitiveness of Georgia employers and businesses. To do this, we secured the services of longtime friend, tax expert and former GA House Member Richard Royal. His knowledge of the Georgia tax code as it relates to our industry interests is second to none.
We are also very pleased to have the Georgia Plant Food Educational Society, Georgia Turfgrass Association, Metro Atlanta Landscape and Turf Association, Georgia Green Industry Association, Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Association, Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, Georgia Crop Production Alliance, Georgia Egg Association, and Cal-Maine Foods supporting us in this effort. This is a great example of agriculture interests working together for a common good and we are thankful for the partnerships.
Sales tax exemptions are already under attack by some political candidates. Bryan Tolar, GAC vice president of public affairs, states, "It will be our job to ensure the decision makers in this process have the information they need to substantiate the exemptions for agriculture. We believe the data will show that these are good investments for growing our economy, protecting and creating jobs in agriculture and strengthening rural Georgia."
Georgia food and fiber production and processing agribusiness is a $65 billion industry, accounting for more than 8% of the state’s economy and 351,000 jobs in 2008. The GAC, a non-profit organization, serves as the voice for Georgia’s massive, complex business of agriculture. The Council’s mission is “To advance the business of agriculture through economic development, environmental stewardship and education to improve the quality of life for all Georgians.” The Council has over 700 members from all across the state. More information on the Georgia Agribusiness Council can be obtained by calling 800/726-2474 or visiting www.ga-agribusiness.org.