02. Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness

A GAE Position
What are the Council and Joint Committee?
The Special Council on Tax Reform is a study commission that will examine and review the Georgia Tax Code. The Special Joint Committee on Georgia Revenue Structure is a committee that will introduce bills or resolutions to the House of Representatives for consideration [without making significant changes to] the recommendations from the council.
Who, When, and How was it decided to convene this group?
The 2010 legislature passed House Bill 1405 which established this council.
What is the make-up of the Council?
The council is made up of eleven members. Four economists: Dr. David Sjoquist, Georgia State University; Dr. Jeffrey Humphreys, University of Georgia; Dr. Roger Tutterow, Mercer University; Dr. Christine Ries, Georgia Tech; Governor Sonny Perdue; the 2010 Chairperson of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the 2010 Georgia Chairperson of the National Federation of Independent Business; and two members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor and two members appointed by the Speaker of the House.
What are the responsibilities of the Council?
House Bill 1405 states that the 2010 Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians shall conduct a thorough study of the state’s current revenue structure and make a report of its findings and recommendations for legislation to the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor no later than January 10, 2011.

Why does GAE’s support this initiative?

The National Education Association has developed an initiative on Tax Structures, Economic Development Policies, and Funding for Public Schools (TEF). The TEF Premise is that a fair and equitable tax system combined with a level economic playing field for business and adequate and equitable funding for public education is the best way to create and maintain a civilized, safe, and prosperous society. Furthermore, in the new knowledge-based global economy investing in public education—in our human capital—provides a greater return to our economic prosperity than investing in tax cuts and subsidies. TEF acknowledges that strong public schools are the foundation for a strong economy.
When corporations are considering a relocation—the quality of public schools in the area is a key factor in the decision. Not only do corporations desire good public schools for their employees’ children to attend, they also desire good public schools to have a pool of well-qualified and capable employees to choose from when the need to hire arises.
GAE’s support for this initiative is based on three major considerations: (1) Make taxes fair (2) Level the economic playing field for business (3) Make funding for schools adequate and equitable. We believe that as the dialogue on these issues begin; these considerations will become more likely as attention is placed on them.
What will GAE do to be an active participant in the council?
For many years GAE has taken information on the TEF initiative to legislators for support. While it is not exactly what TEF seeks, it is a very firm first step in the right direction. GAE will offer recommendations to the council and will seek ways to provide our existing research for the council’s consideration and review. HB 1405 provides an opportunity for GAE to demonstrate even more its value as a collaborative partner in improving the educational opportunities in Georgia. When educational opportunities improve, life outcomes improve as well.
Now is not the time to work in a vacuum--all parties must become larger than the problems that Georgia’s children face in order to find a solution that will benefit all of Georgia’s systems. GAE is committed to doing this. Are you committed to helping?