James Salzer

James Salzer has covered state government and politics in Georgia since 1990.

Latest from James Salzer

Lawmakers try again to change the state teacher retirement system
 After pouring nearly $600 million into Georgia’s teacher pension system in recent years to make it more financially stable, lawmakers are making another big push this session to make changes in a program that they say is unsustainable. This year’s retirement legislation — which has been written and rewritten — ensures...

Posted: 7 hours ago

After pouring nearly $600 million into Georgia’s teacher pension system in recent years to make it more financially stable, lawmakers are making another big push this session to make changes in a program that they say is unsustainable. This year’s retirement legislation — which has been written and rewritten — ensures...
Georgia Senate backs $18 million in new loans to hurricane victims
 The Georgia Senate is set to approve a midyear budget this week that would add $18 million in loans to farmers affected by Hurricane Michael and $2 million for rural hospitals damaged in the storm. The Senate proposal, which won approval from the chamber’s budget committee Tuesday, builds on money the House added to aid southwest...

Posted: 16 hours ago

The Georgia Senate is set to approve a midyear budget this week that would add $18 million in loans to farmers affected by Hurricane Michael and $2 million for rural hospitals damaged in the storm. The Senate proposal, which won approval from the chamber’s budget committee Tuesday, builds on money the House added to aid southwest...
Bill wants more online retailers to charge Georgia patrons a sales tax
 Georgia’s new law making more online retailers collect taxes on their sales to state residents just took effect Jan. 1, and already lawmakers are preparing to change it to add millions of dollars more to the pot of state revenue. During the 2018 session, state lawmakers passed legislation — which went into effect this year...

Posted: 5 days ago

Georgia’s new law making more online retailers collect taxes on their sales to state residents just took effect Jan. 1, and already lawmakers are preparing to change it to add millions of dollars more to the pot of state revenue. During the 2018 session, state lawmakers passed legislation — which went into effect this year...
First airlines, now railroads want tax break from Georgia lawmakers
 Georgia lawmakers just re-upped a fuel tax break for air carriers such as Delta Air Lines in November. Now railroads are looking for some tax “reform” of their own. A subcommittee Wednesday held a hearing on legislation that would exempt fuel used by railroads from the state’s 4 percent sales tax. It’s similar to the...

Posted: 6 days ago

Georgia lawmakers just re-upped a fuel tax break for air carriers such as Delta Air Lines in November. Now railroads are looking for some tax “reform” of their own. A subcommittee Wednesday held a hearing on legislation that would exempt fuel used by railroads from the state’s 4 percent sales tax. It’s similar to the...
Complaints say Georgia ethics chief watched porn at work, sat on cases

The downfall of the head of Georgia’s ethics commission began a week before Christmas, when staffers started filing complaints saying he was watching pornography at work and telling them to sit on potential campaign finance violations of city hall and gubernatorial candidates.The allegations, outlined in complaints that The Atlanta...

Posted: 8 days ago

The downfall of the head of Georgia’s ethics commission began a week before Christmas, when staffers started filing complaints saying he was watching pornography at work and telling them to sit on potential campaign finance violations of city hall and gubernatorial candidates.The allegations, outlined in complaints that The Atlanta...
Tax collections down in Georgia for third straight month
 Georgia tax collections were down for the third consecutive month in January, but Gov. Brian Kemp’s administration said it is confident they will pick back up and the state will still be able to raise enough money to fund this year’s $27 billion budget. The state’s fiscal year ends June 30, and the Georgia House on Friday...

Posted: 11 days ago

Georgia tax collections were down for the third consecutive month in January, but Gov. Brian Kemp’s administration said it is confident they will pick back up and the state will still be able to raise enough money to fund this year’s $27 billion budget. The state’s fiscal year ends June 30, and the Georgia House on Friday...
Georgia ethics chief quits during probe into his use of state computer
 Georgia’s ethics commission accepted the resignation of its director, Stefan Ritter, on Friday about two months after he was accused of misusing his state computer on the job. No interim replacement was made to fill his position. Ritter, a former senior assistant attorney general who has been the commission’s chief since 2015...

Posted: 11 days ago

Georgia’s ethics commission accepted the resignation of its director, Stefan Ritter, on Friday about two months after he was accused of misusing his state computer on the job. No interim replacement was made to fill his position. Ritter, a former senior assistant attorney general who has been the commission’s chief since 2015...
Top aides benefit as Kemp shuffles pay structure in governor’s office
 New Gov. Brian Kemp didn’t scrimp on state salaries when he put together his senior staff, paying many of his top aides more than officials in his predecessor’s administration who had served eight years on the job. He stocked the office with eight aides who once worked for him while he was secretary of state, often giving them...

Posted: 11 days ago

New Gov. Brian Kemp didn’t scrimp on state salaries when he put together his senior staff, paying many of his top aides more than officials in his predecessor’s administration who had served eight years on the job. He stocked the office with eight aides who once worked for him while he was secretary of state, often giving them...
Gov. Kemp raises $110,000 in weeks before General Assembly session
 After surviving the most expensive governor’s race in Georgia history, Gov. Brian Kemp’s re-election campaign raised about $110,000 in the two weeks leading up to the start of this year’s General Assembly session. State law prohibits Kemp and lawmakers from raising money during the General Assembly session. The aim is to...

Posted: 12 days ago

After surviving the most expensive governor’s race in Georgia history, Gov. Brian Kemp’s re-election campaign raised about $110,000 in the two weeks leading up to the start of this year’s General Assembly session. State law prohibits Kemp and lawmakers from raising money during the General Assembly session. The aim is to...
Georgia House pushes more farm loans for Hurricane Michael victims
 When the General Assembly approved a $470 million package to help Hurricane Michael-ravaged Southwest Georgia last year, lawmakers said it wouldn’t be the last money the state would be forced to spend to help the area. The state House on Friday will vote on a mid-year budget - which runs through June 30 - that adds more loan money...

Posted: 12 days ago

When the General Assembly approved a $470 million package to help Hurricane Michael-ravaged Southwest Georgia last year, lawmakers said it wouldn’t be the last money the state would be forced to spend to help the area. The state House on Friday will vote on a mid-year budget - which runs through June 30 - that adds more loan money...
Retired state workers want Georgia to restore cost-of-living increases
 When Gloria Gaines retired from her job as a senior secretary with Georgia’s human resources agency in 1999, she expected the state to keep what she felt was a promise that her pension would go up with inflation. But the Employees Retirement System stopped giving cost-of-living adjustments to thousands of former state workers such as...

Posted: 15 days ago

When Gloria Gaines retired from her job as a senior secretary with Georgia’s human resources agency in 1999, she expected the state to keep what she felt was a promise that her pension would go up with inflation. But the Employees Retirement System stopped giving cost-of-living adjustments to thousands of former state workers such as...