This Week Under the Gold Dome
By: Ryan Switzer
During the second week of the legislative session, Rep. Frye continued to build positive proposals to address issues affecting the district and the state. While he worked, several controversial issues were discussed.
Let’s Talk About Taxes
Senate Bill 280 is a proposal to lower the state income tax. Dubbed the “Tax Relief Act of 2016,” this legislation calls to reduce the state income tax from 6 percent to 5.4 percent. Supporters claim that this legislation will bring Georgia tax rates closer to that of North Carolina and South Carolina. Additionally, this legislation has a companion constitutional amendment (SR 756) to reduce the income tax rate to 5 percent if state revenue levels reach a certain number. Constitutional amendments are not an easy obstacle to overcome. For example, the Opportunity School District bill which passed last session was a constitutional amendment. To pass the General Assembly, both chambers must pass the measure by a two thirds majority, and then the bill must gain the governor’s signature. Once these steps occur, the idea is put on the ballot in the next election cycle for you, the voters, to make the final decision. This is not the first income tax bill that has been proposed in recent years. This bill, as many in the past have also claimed, is meant to be a sort of “conversation starter.” There could be additional tax proposals attached to House bills later in the session, and as this issue develops, we will continue to keep you posted.
Religious Freedom Restoration Act Focusses on Nonprofits
This past week, a bill was introduced in the Senate that would “protect the tax exempt status of charities and schools that oppose same-sex marriage.” The First Amendment Defense Act comes on the coat tails of last year’s highly debated Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) — but this legislation has been explained to be different than previous legislation in the fact that it would not affect private businesses. The announcement to file the bill came last Wednesday, increasing the religious freedom bill count under the Gold Dome to four. Rep. Frye opposes any legislation that condones discrimination of any kind in the state of Georgia.
Get Out and Flex Those Democratic Muscles
The team under the Gold Dome would like to remind you that democracy is not possible without contributions from participants like yourself. The polls have officially opened in Georgia for the presidential primaries and will remain open until March 1. The last day to register to vote in the 2016 presidential election is Feb. 1, and early voting begins Feb. 8. Rep. Frye encourages you to make your voice heard in this all important presidential election. Another way to make your voice heard is to take this short survey. This survey is designed so that you can tell us what you want to read to stay informed about the important issues on Rep. Frye’s website, social media and blog.