Deal signs increase to Georgia’s rural hospital tax credit

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Deal signs increase to Georgia’s rural hospital tax credit

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Eastman, Ga. - Florence Widener, LPN, checks her patient at Dodge County Hospital in Eastman. The Dodge hospital once stood on the brink of financial collapse. A new CEO was able to save it by slashing jobs and budgets. But the hospital still needed tens of thousands of dollars from the county government to keep the doors open and will eventually be forced to ask for even more taxpayer money if it is to survive long-term. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

The benefit of donating to Georgia’s struggling rural hospitals just got bigger, as Gov. Nathan Deal signed a measure boosting the state’s rural hospital tax credit.

Senate Bill 180 increases from 70 percent to 90 percent the value of the credit taxpayers can earn from contributions to qualifying rural hospitals.

Lawmakers originally passed the 70 percent measure last year, but backers said a bigger incentive was needed because so few people had agreed to donate.

Alan Kent, president and CEO of Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia, applauded the move, as did other supporters including the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals.

“This is a chance for people to step up individually and for corporations to step in as business leaders and be able to make a difference in their very own communities,” Kent said.

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