Governor signs sweeping tax-break law

by WSB


JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga., April 14 – Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (seated) signs two historic bills Monday that fix the maximum amount of acreage that can be developed on Jekyll Island, Ga. The identical bills (HB 715 and SB 296) permit future development on the island within a total fixed amount of 78 acres – as defined in the recently approved Jekyll Island Master Plan – and replace a previous statutory limitation known as the 65/35 law. The bills are being acclaimed as a major accomplishment in achieving consensus over how to best protect the natural beauty of the barrier island, while balancing revitalization of its tourism and hospitality business. Both measures passed through the Georgia General Assembly without amendment and virtually unanimously.

When the tax-free holiday will be for the next school year and what other industries are getting a break with the new law. Parents will get a break on their children's back to school clothes, supplies, and computer equipment again this year now that Gov. Nathan Deal has signed a bill into law that includes a series of tax breaks.

The tax-free holiday this year runs July 31 to August 2, earlier than previous years to coincide with the start of the school year.

“We all know that is the time when families make investments in their children’s clothes and shoes and things of that nature,” Deal tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish. “We all want our children to be well-clothed and this is one of the ways to make it easier on the family pocketbook.”

The new law also includes an energy efficient holiday October 2-4.

Food banks, video game developers, and construction materials for projects deemed to be of regional significance will also receive tax breaks under the new law.

Bill Bolling, founder and executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, says it will save the organization $500,000 a year that can be used to help more families in need.

“As individuals we don’t have to pay taxes on food but the food bank was being taxed the last couple of years to actually purchase food for hungry families around the state,” he says.

The last tax break sunset two years ago and was vetoed by Deal last year because his competitiveness initiative did not have time to review it. The panel, including his office, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and the Georgia Chamber, did agree it should pass this year.

In all, the new law, which takes effect July 1 and runs through July 2016, will cost the state $240 million in tax revenue over the next two years.

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