Quotes of note
“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must undergo the fatigues of supporting it.” -Thomas Paine
“I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped inside a mystery inside an enigma.” -Winston Churchill
“Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.” -George Orwell
On Our Desks
Taxing work: This week, legislators introduced a bill to lower and flatten the state’s personal income tax rate. Kyle Wingfield explains the details on georgiapolicy.org.
At the Capitol
Taxes: Legislation was introduced in the Georgia House that would lower the state’s personal income tax rate to a flat 5.25%. The bill would also institute a standard exemption of $12,000 for individuals and eliminate all deductions other than those for charitable contributions, including the standard deduction. A family of four would pay no income taxes on their first $30,000 of income.
Education: The Georgia House passed a bill that would increase the cap on the student scholarship tax credit program to $200 million. The current $100 million cap would increase by $20 million a year until 2027, where it would stay through 2032 before falling back to the current level of $100 million.
Mental health: The Georgia House Health and Human Services Committee unanimously passed the mental health omnibus bill out of committee. The committee met for the third time this session to debate the bill, maintaining the parity requirement for insurers to pay for mental health services to the same degree as other healthcare, while adding a new process for involuntary commitment and relieving some of the burden for law enforcement when transporting behavioral health patients back into the community. Additional details regarding the bill can be read about here.
Criminal justice: Bipartisan legislation at the Georgia Capitol to create a more uniform, consistent process for compensating the wrongfully convicted would set a ceiling and a floor for payment, and establish a panel of experts to vet their claims. Proponents say the measure would make Georgia’s system fairer and bring the Peach State in line with two-thirds of U.S. states and the federal government, which lay out exactly how much wrongfully convicted people should be paid based on the number of years served in prison.
Rx: A bill that would prohibit the state’s Medicaid managed care companies from using pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which set drug prices and prescriptions allowed for patients, passed unanimously out of the House Special Committee on Access to Quality Health Care.
From Russia, Without Love: Both Governor Brian Kemp and Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston have announced plans to divest the state of any investments in Russia, according to Georgia Public Broadcasting. Speaker Ralson received a bipartisan standing ovation when he announced his intention to end state pension business with Russia. Georgia has other economic ties to Russia, importing $234 million in 2021, much of it in oil and plywood, and exporting $146 million the same year. The top exports are commercial aircraft, cars, engines, and scrap metal.
You’re grounded: Georgia-based Delta Airlines has dissolved its marketing partnership with Russian national airline Aeroflot, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Previously, the airlines used code-sharing to allow customers to book connecting flights between partner airlines. Delta does not operate flights to Russia or Ukraine. Following Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the FAA expanded the no-fly zone for U.S. airlines and U.S. pilots over Russia and eastern Europe.
Shipping delays: Sandy Springs-based UPS as well as FedEx have suspended service to Ukraine and Russia, at least temporarily, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Monday. UPS cited concerns for the safety of its employees and an attempt to minimize disruption for its customers.
Piedmont on the move: Piedmont Healthcare has expanded to Augusta, encompassing the University Health Care System which includes University Hospital, according to Georgia Health News. The Atlanta-based system will now control 19 hospitals, far more than either Emory Healthcare or Wellstar Health System. Piedmont is consolidating its power to negotiate contracts with insurers and expects to be able to purchase medical supplies more advantageously.
Mask mandates:Following last Friday’s CDC guidance, Decatur allowed its citywide mask mandate to expire this week. The city was the last Atlanta metro city with a mandate.
COVID-19: The Georgia Department of Public Health reports COVID-19 cases, deaths and vaccination rates on its website here.
Visit georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “There Are Many Problems With Democrats’ Plan for a Federal Gas Tax Holiday”
Have a great weekend.
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