This year’s legislative session wrapped up at midnight Monday. While the small business community didn’t get everything it wanted, it won several important victories on issues ranging from right-to-farm to tax reform.
Here’s a look at some of the bills that passed in the 2022 regular session and some that didn’t.
HB 1302 by Rep. Josh Bonner (passed) will provide a one-time tax credit for eligible Georgia taxpayers who filed income tax returns in both 2020 and 2021. Based on their 2020 tax filer status, single tax filers would receive a $250 refund, head-of-household filers would receive $375, and those who file jointly would receive a $500 refund once 2021 tax returns are processed by the state. This tax refund would not be taxable under Georgia law, and taxpayers would not accrue interest on the rebate.
HB 1437 by Rep. Shaw Blackmon (passed) will consolidate Georgia’s six individual income tax brackets into one and bring down the rate from 5.75 percent to a flat 5.25 percent, effective in the tax year 2024. It would also eliminate the standard deduction for all taxpayers while increasing the personal exemption from $2,700 to $12,000 for single filers, and from $3,700 to $24,000 for those married filing jointly.
HB 304 by Rep. Jodi Lott (passed) temporally suspends the state gas tax. The state tax on a gallon of gas is about 29 cents. If you have a 15-gallon tank, it will cost $4.35 less to fill it up.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANDATES
SB 331 by Sen. John Albers (passed), also called the Protecting Georgia Businesses and Workers Act, will preempt local cities/counties from enacting wage and labor mandates on private business. It will prevent local governments from implementing burdensome mandates like worker recall, daily cleaning ordinances, or minimum wage.
SB 438 by Sen. Lindsey Tippins (passed) revises contract retainage and would bring Georgia in line with the 5% contract retainage practices of most other states. It will ensure subcontractors are able to get paid in a timely manner.
HB 1150 by Rep. Robert Dickey (passed), or the Freedom to Farm Act, limits the circumstances under which agricultural facilities and farm operations can be sued for a “nuisance.” It gives Georgia farmers added protection from frivolous lawsuits.
HB 961 by Rep. Chuck Efstration (passed) restores the original legislative intent on the apportionment of fault statute before the recent Supreme Court opinion. Defendants would only be liable for the percentage of the damages awarded that equaled their percentage of fault.
BILLS THAT DIDN’T PASS
HB 302 by Rep. Martin Momtahan failed to come up for a final vote in House. It sought to reduce the cost of doing business by ensuring regulatory and permit fees are not based on the overall cost of a job. It would have removed the unfair burden placed on contractors and their customers.
HB 1301 by Rep. Don Hogan failed to pass out of the House Rules Committee. It would have preempted local governments from banning the use of gas-powered lawn equipment and machinery.