State Representative Lehman Franklin, a Republican who represents Bulloch and Bryan counties, recently co-sponsored House Bill 1000 to prohibit political subdivisions from imposing various taxes, placing ceilings on local sales taxes, and taxing the use of mobile telecommunications.
“I am proud to support this legislation and look forward to working alongside my colleague, State Representative Victor Anderson, as he carries this much-needed bill through the legislative process,” said Rep. Franklin. “Back in July, Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch suggested an idea that would increase the sales tax by a penny in order to offset the increase in property taxes that the community was facing. After looking into it and talking to some of my colleagues in counties with similar situations to Bulloch County, it was determined that a way exists that allows an additional exemption to the statutory limit for the local sales tax ceiling of two cents.”
“This new exemption covers any sales and use tax for education purposes, and thereby removes the ELOST from the two-penny cap and could allow the county to pursue a traditional LOST or HOST in its place,” added Rep. Franklin. “The additional sales tax would still have to be approved by a voter referendum and would require a rollback of the county millage rate to match the additional revenue. If successful sales tax goes up a penny, in return, it would potentially take four to five mills off the property tax rate. Ideally, the extra income would be broken down by population density. It is my opinion that this is the fairest way to do it, however, that would ultimately be the decision of the local government. This would be a great thing for our community as it would bring much-needed relief to address the rise in property taxes.”
HB 1000 would amend current law that relates to prohibiting political subdivisions from imposing various taxes and ceiling on local sales and use taxes to include the prohibition of any sales tax for educational purposes which is levied in an area consisting of less than the entire state. HB 1000 adds an additional exemption to the statutory limit for the local sales tax ceiling of two cents. The new exemption covers any sales and use tax for educational purposes. This removes the ELOST from the two-penny cap and could allow the county to pursue a traditional LOST or HOST. The additional sales tax would still have to be approved by voter referendum. This currently only applies to eight counties in Georgia. The sales taxes currently collected in Bulloch County are Georgia’s four percent state tax and these four one percent local option taxes: the original LOST; the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or SPLOST; an additional special sales tax for education purposes, or E-SPLOST; and newest, the sales tax for transportation purposes, or T-SPLOST.
HB 1000 is sponsored by State Representative Victor Anderson (R-Cornelia) and has been assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee.