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Latest from James Salzer

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Georgia Senate leaders plan to pump up — but delay — teacher pay raise
 Georgia Senate leaders boosted Gov. Brian Kemp’s proposed teacher raise back up to $3,000, but educators would have to wait a few months to receive the pay hike. The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday backed a $27.5 billion state budget for fiscal 2020 — which begins July 1 — that includes the pay raise for educators...

Posted: a day ago

Georgia Senate leaders boosted Gov. Brian Kemp’s proposed teacher raise back up to $3,000, but educators would have to wait a few months to receive the pay hike. The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday backed a $27.5 billion state budget for fiscal 2020 — which begins July 1 — that includes the pay raise for educators...
Georgia Senate seeks to hike jet-fuel taxes on Delta, other airlines
 Delta Air Lines just can’t seem to catch a (tax) break from the Georgia General Assembly. Last session, lawmakers nixed a proposed break on jet-fuel taxes — which would have saved Delta $40 million a year — after the airline broke marketing ties with the National Rifle Association following a Florida school shooting. About...

Posted: 2 days ago

Delta Air Lines just can’t seem to catch a (tax) break from the Georgia General Assembly. Last session, lawmakers nixed a proposed break on jet-fuel taxes — which would have saved Delta $40 million a year — after the airline broke marketing ties with the National Rifle Association following a Florida school shooting. About...
Who has the highest salaries in Georgia schools and colleges


During debates on teacher pay and retirement benefits at the state Capitol each year, one of the most repeated lines is that educators don’t get into the profession for the money. 
They get into it because they love what they do, they say. And the money bit is certainly true for a vast majority of k-12 teachers and many...

Posted: 3 days ago

During debates on teacher pay and retirement benefits at the state Capitol each year, one of the most repeated lines is that educators don’t get into the profession for the money.  They get into it because they love what they do, they say. And the money bit is certainly true for a vast majority of k-12 teachers and many...
Georgia ethics panel offers director job to Douglas County prosecutor
 The state ethics commission voted Monday to hire David Emadi, the chief assistant district attorney in Douglas County, as its new director. The panel’s top administrator quit about a month ago after staffers filed complaints saying he watched pornography at work and recommended sitting on campaign finance cases. Emadi, who also worked...

Posted: 4 days ago

The state ethics commission voted Monday to hire David Emadi, the chief assistant district attorney in Douglas County, as its new director. The panel’s top administrator quit about a month ago after staffers filed complaints saying he watched pornography at work and recommended sitting on campaign finance cases. Emadi, who also worked...
Georgia lawmakers, unhappy about chief’s bonus, may continue ARC cuts
 The executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission was given a $30,000 bonus less than a year after lawmakers pulled 60 percent of the planning agency’s state funding when an audit said he misused his purchasing card, an Atlanta-Journal Constitution and Channel 2 Action News review found. Douglas Hooker, who was paid $244,000...

Posted: 7 days ago

The executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission was given a $30,000 bonus less than a year after lawmakers pulled 60 percent of the planning agency’s state funding when an audit said he misused his purchasing card, an Atlanta-Journal Constitution and Channel 2 Action News review found. Douglas Hooker, who was paid $244,000...
Georgia bill would delay fundraising reports at key time for lawmakers
 The Thursday before the 2019 General Assembly session opened in January, the House Republican leaders’ political action committee held a fundraiser at the stately Capital City Club in downtown Atlanta, taking in about $168,000 from big-money businesses and lobbyists hoping to persuade lawmakers to give them tax breaks or help them smite...

Posted: 9 days ago

The Thursday before the 2019 General Assembly session opened in January, the House Republican leaders’ political action committee held a fundraiser at the stately Capital City Club in downtown Atlanta, taking in about $168,000 from big-money businesses and lobbyists hoping to persuade lawmakers to give them tax breaks or help them smite...
Georgia tax collections up in February for first time in four months
 Georgia tax collections were up in February for the first time in four months, but they remain below what the state needs to meet its fiscal 2019 budget. Overall collections were up 5.5 percent from February 2018, with the income tax take down again — this time by 1.5 percent — and sales taxes up 4.1 percent. Most of the...

Posted: 11 days ago

Georgia tax collections were up in February for the first time in four months, but they remain below what the state needs to meet its fiscal 2019 budget. Overall collections were up 5.5 percent from February 2018, with the income tax take down again — this time by 1.5 percent — and sales taxes up 4.1 percent. Most of the...
Georgia’s used- and new-car dealers reach deal to settle tax fight
 It’s not over quite yet, but after years of very public spats at the state Capitol, lawmakers and lobbyists for auto dealers say they have come to an agreement on legislation that would reduce taxes for Georgians who buy new cars. At the same time, the deal will mean higher taxes for some used-car buyers. The House this week easily...

Posted: 16 days ago

It’s not over quite yet, but after years of very public spats at the state Capitol, lawmakers and lobbyists for auto dealers say they have come to an agreement on legislation that would reduce taxes for Georgians who buy new cars. At the same time, the deal will mean higher taxes for some used-car buyers. The House this week easily...
Georgia House backs jet-fuel tax break for Delta, other airlines
 The Georgia House overwhelmingly backed legislation Tuesday to exempt air carriers such as Delta Air Lines from paying state taxes on jet fuel, saving them tens of millions of dollars each year. The 140-25 vote for House Bill 447 was not a surprise, since it was backed by Gov. Brian Kemp and a similar tax break measure won the chamber&rsquo...

Posted: 17 days ago

The Georgia House overwhelmingly backed legislation Tuesday to exempt air carriers such as Delta Air Lines from paying state taxes on jet fuel, saving them tens of millions of dollars each year. The 140-25 vote for House Bill 447 was not a surprise, since it was backed by Gov. Brian Kemp and a similar tax break measure won the chamber&rsquo...
Georgia House backs sales taxes for customers of Uber, Airbnb, others
 The Georgia House passed two bills targeting internet-based businesses this week that would mean big money for the state, and they could bump up the tab for Georgians who use ride-share and short-term housing rental services. The sponsor of both bills, House Ways and Means Chairman Brett Harrell, R-Snellville, said the legislation, in...

Posted: 17 days ago

The Georgia House passed two bills targeting internet-based businesses this week that would mean big money for the state, and they could bump up the tab for Georgians who use ride-share and short-term housing rental services. The sponsor of both bills, House Ways and Means Chairman Brett Harrell, R-Snellville, said the legislation, in...
Georgia Senate backs analysis of proposed tax breaks ahead of vote
 The Georgia Senate approved legislation Monday that would mandate that the state do an economic analysis of any new special-interest tax break before the General Assembly votes on it. The measure, Senate Bill 119, was paired with Senate Bill 120, which passed last week and would mandate a similar review of tax breaks before they...

Posted: 18 days ago

The Georgia Senate approved legislation Monday that would mandate that the state do an economic analysis of any new special-interest tax break before the General Assembly votes on it. The measure, Senate Bill 119, was paired with Senate Bill 120, which passed last week and would mandate a similar review of tax breaks before they...
Deputy chief, eight others finalists to lead Georgia ethics agency
 Nine finalists have been named as potential replacements for Stefan Ritter, who resigned last month as director of the state ethics commission after complaints were filed saying he watched pornography at work and told staffers to sit on potential campaign finance violations of city hall and gubernatorial candidates. Among the finalists is...

Posted: 22 days ago

Nine finalists have been named as potential replacements for Stefan Ritter, who resigned last month as director of the state ethics commission after complaints were filed saying he watched pornography at work and told staffers to sit on potential campaign finance violations of city hall and gubernatorial candidates. Among the finalists is...
Tax break for airlines like Delta experiencing no turbulence this time
 The latest legislation to exempt air carries such as Delta Air Lines from paying state taxes on jet fuel is zooming through the General Assembly. Less than a week after the bill was filed, it passed its first test, winning the approval of the House Ways and Means Committee. It is expected to get through the full House in the coming days....

Posted: 23 days ago

The latest legislation to exempt air carries such as Delta Air Lines from paying state taxes on jet fuel is zooming through the General Assembly. Less than a week after the bill was filed, it passed its first test, winning the approval of the House Ways and Means Committee. It is expected to get through the full House in the coming days....
Kemp’s teacher pay raise trimmed, spread to other Ga. school workers
 Teachers would receive a little less than what Gov. Brian Kemp promised them under the House budget plan the chamber is set to approve this week. The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved a $27.5 billion state budget for fiscal 2020 — which begins July 1 — that gives smaller raises to teachers but also spreads the...

Posted: 23 days ago

Teachers would receive a little less than what Gov. Brian Kemp promised them under the House budget plan the chamber is set to approve this week. The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved a $27.5 billion state budget for fiscal 2020 — which begins July 1 — that gives smaller raises to teachers but also spreads the...
Georgia bills want economic analysis of tax breaks, or there’s no vote
 Legislation moving through the Georgia Senate aims to do something truly revolutionary: mandate that the state do an economic analysis on any special-interest tax break before the General Assembly votes on it. Such a concept might seem like common sense. But passage of such tax breaks — which happen numerous times each General Assembly...

Posted: 25 days ago

Legislation moving through the Georgia Senate aims to do something truly revolutionary: mandate that the state do an economic analysis on any special-interest tax break before the General Assembly votes on it. Such a concept might seem like common sense. But passage of such tax breaks — which happen numerous times each General Assembly...
Audit tallies $600M in nonpayment by University System to Ga. pensions
 A new audit says the University System of Georgia stopped making some legally required payments to the state pension system, shortchanging the retirement program $600 million to $660 million over a decade. The state audit, which was released Friday, said the money wasn’t paid into the Teachers Retirement System between 2008 and 2018...

11:35 PM Friday, Feb. 22, 2019

A new audit says the University System of Georgia stopped making some legally required payments to the state pension system, shortchanging the retirement program $600 million to $660 million over a decade. The state audit, which was released Friday, said the money wasn’t paid into the Teachers Retirement System between 2008 and 2018...
Georgia Legislature OKs $20 million in new farm loans after hurricane
 The General Assembly gave final approval to a midyear budget Friday that would add $20 million in loans to farmers affected by Hurricane Michael and $2 million for rural hospitals damaged in the storm. The measure now goes to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature. The state allocated $55 million in loans during a November special session after...

7:04 PM Friday, Feb. 22, 2019

The General Assembly gave final approval to a midyear budget Friday that would add $20 million in loans to farmers affected by Hurricane Michael and $2 million for rural hospitals damaged in the storm. The measure now goes to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature. The state allocated $55 million in loans during a November special session after...
Kemp backs Georgia tax break on jet fuel for Delta, other airlines
 Gov. Brian Kemp has gotten behind a jet-fuel tax break that could mean a $40 million annual savings for Delta Air Lines and millions more for other air carriers. Legislation filed by Kemp’s floor leader on Friday would include a small excise tax for 20 years so the state could receive matching money from the federal government ($9 for...

4:21 PM Friday, Feb. 22, 2019

Gov. Brian Kemp has gotten behind a jet-fuel tax break that could mean a $40 million annual savings for Delta Air Lines and millions more for other air carriers. Legislation filed by Kemp’s floor leader on Friday would include a small excise tax for 20 years so the state could receive matching money from the federal government ($9 for...
Georgia House votes — again — to require fees be used for intended purpose
 In an example of not-so-quiet perseverance, the Georgia House once again Wednesday voted to put a proposed constitutional amendment on next year’s ballot that could limit the ability of state officials to divert fee money meant for things such as cleanups for tire dumps, landfills and hazardous waste sites. The 169-1 vote on House Resolution...

7:18 PM Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019

In an example of not-so-quiet perseverance, the Georgia House once again Wednesday voted to put a proposed constitutional amendment on next year’s ballot that could limit the ability of state officials to divert fee money meant for things such as cleanups for tire dumps, landfills and hazardous waste sites. The 169-1 vote on House Resolution...
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...

11:47 PM Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019

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...
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