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Small Business Legislation in Georgia in 2014

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Georgia legislators will convene January 13th. If your small business is wondering what regulatory changes you can expect in 2014, the answer is "not much".

As we look to the 2014 Georgia Legislative Session we must consider that May begins primary elections for many legislators in 2014. Some believe this first session will be very quick to allow for sufficient time for the incumbents to engage voters for the primary elections.

Two tax bills introduced in 2013 which may see the light of day during the 2014 legislative session are HB 128 Downtown Renaissance Investment Tax Credit Act and HB 419 Sales and Use Tax. HB 128 would designate renaissance districts in each Georgian municipal corporation. Private investors would receive tax credits from 10-25% depending on if the district's own contribution was deemed Bronze, Silver, or Gold. Tax credits would be transferable once earned and can be earned for any type of project as long as the project is within the scope of the municipal corporations downtown development plan. This bill was introduced by Rep. Allen Peake and Rep. John Meadows both business men in their communities.

HB 419, introduced by Rep. Barry Fleming, would limit the definition of manufacturing that is currently used to exempt from sales and use taxes. Manufacturing would no longer include electric power generation plants.

Although it is a long shot, another pre-filed bill related to industry is HB 708. This bill is of particular importance in one Georgia county. HB 708 would repeal current laws limiting award of alcoholic beverage licenses to private clubs in Laurens County. Previously a portion of the provision referencing the population of the county precluded this particular county from providing licenses. If approved this would allow private clubs in Laurens County to serve liquor thereby improving the ability of restaurateurs to do successful business in this less population dense areas.

In this short session, the legislators are more likely to pass pending budget and gun related bills than any bills that would effect small business. If they pass anything, it is like these three which were already on the radar from 2013.

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