NFIB/Georgia Opposed Wage Increase, Pushed for Tax Cuts

Date: April 19, 2016 Last Edit: April 20, 2016

A minimum wage hike and income tax cuts were on the table this session.

Issue Update from Atlanta

When
Georgia’s legislative session ended last month, there were several bills in the
mix that would impact small business owners in the Peach State. Here’s a look
at their status. 

Minimum
Wage

Senate
Bill 293 would have increased the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour,
instituted annual cost-of-living minimum wage increases and eliminated
eligibility exemptions from the minimum wage. SB293 did not pass the
Legislature—a big win for Georgia small businesses.

Income
Tax Cut

Two
measures that would have cut the top state income tax rate by more than 10
percent were stalled in the house after passage in the Senate. Gov. Deal had
made it clear he wasn’t in favor of the proposals, concerned about the overall
price tag to the state and a potential lowering of Georgia’s AAA bond rating,
reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
 

Craft
Brewing Regulations

While
not covered in this year’s session, small businesses in the craft brewing
industry got some good news a few weeks ago. The Department of Revenue
announced regulations that propose to allow brewers to sell facility tours at
different prices that are based on the quality and amount of beer included in
the tour. This move would reinstate the original regulations proposed last year
before back-and-forth and rule reversals from the Department of Revenue. 

After
Senate Bill 63 went into effect July 1, 2015—which allowed brewers to provide
customers with beer to drink onsite or take home with the purchase of a
facility tour—brewers were thrilled with the breakthrough and spent a lot of
money to create new tasting rooms, hire staff and establish different levels of
tours that were priced based on the beer offered.

However,
three months later, the Department of Revenue issued a new set of regulations
that reversed the original rule and no longer allowed tours to be priced
differently based on the beer included. Business owners in the industry were
furious, and lawmakers threatened legislation to overturn the Department’s new
regulation. In January, all parties came to a deal, which led to the Revenue
Department’s recent announcement.

“I
am pleased that the original legislative intent of SB63 is now being
implemented,” says Nathan Humphrey, NFIB’s Georgia state director. “It’s great
news for Georgia’s small business breweries, but there is still work to do to
make it a level playing field.”

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