AFP GA 2014 Legislative Agenda – Legislator Letter Updated Feb 26

Feb 26, 2014 by AFP

Dear Georgia Legislator:

Americans For Prosperity Georgia activists will focus and coordinate with free market groups at
the grassroots level around the State in 2014 to fight for limited government, support lowering
taxes and spending while enacting common sense regulations and preserving the rule of law. I
am providing you with a list of the issues we will be following in the final days of the session
that we will key vote on our forthcoming 2014 AFP Legislative Scorecard.

Civil Forfeiture Reform (HB1)
–AFP Georgia supports HB 1.
Currently, law enforcement are able to seize property if they have a suspicion that it has been used in a criminal act – regardless of proof – and are able to cash in the property and apply the proceeds to the expenses of law enforcement (sometimes, rather loosely defined). L This can happen before a judgment has even been rendered. AFP supports reforms that protect citizen’s rights and private property by raising reporting requirements for law enforcement in such cases, shifting the burden of proof to the state, proving the property was involved in a criminal act before it can be forfeited. We also support streamlining the process so that property seized inappropriately is returned quickly to its owner. HB 1 does not go far enough but it is a good first step toward accomplishing these larger goals.

Fractional SPLOST (HB 153, SB 99)
– AFP Georgia supports HB 153 and SB 99. Fractional
percentage SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) is common-sense policy that will
allow counties to lower tax burdens on sales taxes. It will provide more government transparency, curb the temptation to pack project lists with taxpayer funded crony deals and reduce the threat of on-going maintenance costs on unnecessary projects that leave taxpayers stuck with long after the projects are completed. Currently, Georgia law allows counties to propose a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum, that if approved, allows for a 1% tax rate. The funds collected are used for capital projects such as constructing roads and other infrastructure, local government buildings, and jails; however, there is no flexibility for lowering the tax rate. Counties need the flexibility to lower taxes by having the ability to raise only the necessary amount for specific projects.

Mobile Broadband Infrastructure Leads To Development Act (HB 176)
– AFP supports
Consumer and taxpayer legislation that lowers the cost of mobile and internet communications
(without the aid of government subsidy) in Georgia while limiting taxpayer liability brought by
the threat of government meddling in the private sector. HB 176 does three basic things: limits
fees and compliance costs imposed by local governments on the wireless industry, limits the
bureaucratic red tape that lengthens the application review time for a cell tower project and
streamlines the review process.

Medicaid (HB 990)
– AFP supports
HB 990, which will transfer from the Governor’s Office to the Georgia Legislature any decision pertaining to an expansion of the costly and broken Medicaid program in Georgia. AFP supports a federal block grant of the program to the states. AFP activists will oppose any effort to expand Medicaid in Georgia and we applaud Governor Deal for his hard and principled stand against big government advocates on the issue.

ACA Non-Compliance Act (HB 707)
– We support HB 707.
This legislation reinforces Georgia’s position of staunch opposition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by restricting any state-based health exchanges from being set up in Georgia in relation to the ACA. It prohibits any state employee, agency, contractor and any state assets from being used to implement the federal law.

Common Core (SB 167)
– We support
AFP supports SB 167 and we oppose the federal government controls and costs imposed by the implementation of Common Core curriculum standards in Georgia. This legislation which
creates a public and transparent process for adopting state driven education standards through the establishment of a 24-member Parent, Teacher, and University Content Standards Advisory Council. The Council will include all interested parties – parents, teachers, business leaders, university professors, and other Georgia citizens, each of whom must have a higher education degree in the subject matter under review.

SSO Expansion (HB 759)
– AFP Supports
Expands the current tuition tax credit scholarship program in Georgia from $58 million to $100 million. Currently, individuals and corporations can contribute on their existing state tax obligations to provide student scholarships to K-12 students in need of support to go to a private school from their failing public school situation. Last year, the $58 million cap was reached by early 2013 with hundreds of students forced to remain on waiting lists. This legislation expands the cap to $100 million and provides the opportunity to support more student applicants.

Income Tax Rate Cap (SR 415)
– AFP Georgia supports
SR 415 prohibits raising the state income tax beyond the rate established at the time the resolution becomes law. SR 415 will prohibit the authorization of any new state income taxes. Lowering income taxes will help in bringing jobs and keeping jobs in Georgia. This bill will place us in a stronger position and send the message that Georgia is committed to policy that works for taxpayers.

Uber Bill (HB 907)
– AFP strongly opposes this bill
HB 907 heavily and unnecessarily regulates Ride Share transportation referral services like Uber and Lyft with burdensome penalties and fees under the guise of public safety. This anti-competitive, anti-free market legislation penalizes and discourages innovation. Competitors should embrace these same innovative examples to adapt to changing marketplace dynamics, not turn to government to try and regulate the competition out of existence.

On behalf of our 55,000 activists around the State, thank you for the work that you do to promote
good policy on behalf of all Georgia citizens. We look forward to working with you in the future.

Sincerely yours,

Joel Foster
Communications Director
Americans For Prosperity Georgia