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Representative Chuck Sims introduced a bill to the Georgia House of Representatives that would phase out a car tax in the Atlanta and College Park areas. This three percent tax in Atlanta and College Park was a result of a 1996 law passed by the state legislature allowing municipalities to enact car rental taxes. Opponents in the legislature are now calling for repeal because local governments have not been accountable in the way they have spent these tax dollars. This tax has already cost the citizens of Atlanta $5.1 million. (The Bond Buyer, 2/17/04)
The Georgia House Appropriations Committee packed about $90 million in pork to the budget on Monday, February 16th. (AP 2/16/04) Most state agencies were cut by 2.5 percent at the request of Governor Purdue, appropriators were still able to get their pet projects in, but $60 million was doled out for special pet projects at technical schools and $98,000 was given to committee chairman Tom Buck for a Civil War Naval Museum in his district.
State Representative John Noel and Curt Thompson filed bills banning the outsourcing of government welfare services to different countries. The state Department of Health and Human Resources contracted with Citicorp to handle telephone calls concerning welfare, and Citicorp subcontracted to Indian and Mexican companies. Noel and Thompson claim that Small government supporters defend the current system, arguing that it cuts the burden welfare puts on the taxpayers. Others contend that this bill is poorly timed because Georgia is hosting a meeting of the G-8 in the summer. A merged version of the Noel and Thompson bills passed a state House subcommittee on Friday February 20th, but it has not yet been scheduled for a full committee hearing. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/2/04)
On Monday, February 166h, 500 doctors came out in support of medical malpractice reform at the state capital. Over a dozen malpractice reform bills were filed this session, and the House Judiciary subcommittee took up the issue on Wednesday the 18th. Opponents of reform held a press conference, claiming that a cap on damages would “stifle the rights of true victims and their families.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/17/04) A poll conducted by Georgia Coalition for Civil Justice Reform and Ayres, McHenry & Associates indicated that Georgians supported a $250,000 cap on non-economic pain and suffering awards by 57 percent to 35 percent.