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Senate OKs 2 property tax measures

ATLANTA - The Georgia Senate handed homeowners a mixed bag with two property tax bills that cleared the chamber Friday.

One would double the statewide homestead exemption. The second would fund a state property tax break worth about $200 to $300 per household this year but could scrap the state-funded grants in future fiscal years.

February 07, 2009 | By Shannon McCaffrey Associated Press writer | State, National


Scarred sugar blast victims hope for new rules

SAVANNAH - A year after he escaped badly burned from a huge blast at the nation's second-largest sugar refinery, Jamie Butler still needs physical therapy once a day to stretch the skin grafts on his arms, hands and legs.

He still takes painkillers. And he needs steroid injections to reduce scarring on his face, now covered by a black mask that applies healing pressure to the skin.

February 06, 2009 | By Russ Bynum Associated Press writer | State, National


House votes to split session

ATLANTA (AP) - The Georgia House has voted to adjourn in late March and possibly return in late June to give lawmakers flexibility to deal with a possible federal economic stimulus package.

The measure approved Friday allows them to meet three days a week through March 25 and then come back in late June if they need to amend their spending plan. Lawmakers are bound to a 40-day legislative session but don't have to meet consecutively.

February 06, 2009 | Associated Press | State, National


Glynn judge sets trial in boy's slaying

BRUNSWICK - A judge refused to relocate the death penalty trial of a man charged in the sexual assault and murder of a 6-year-old Brunswick boy, but agreed to pick a jury from a county 90 miles away.

David Edenfield, 59, is scheduled to stand trial May 4 for the slaying of Christopher Michael Barrios, whose body was found wrapped in a trash bag by a roadside a week after he went missing from a mobile home park in March 2007.

February 06, 2009 | Associated Press | State, National


State Senate to vote on regional sales tax

ATLANTA - The Georgia Senate is set to vote on a transportation plan Tuesday that would allow residents to boost the sales tax to pay for road and transit projects.

The bill would permit regions to band together to charge a one-cent sales tax to fund transportation initiatives. Residents in the affected areas must vote to approve the tax hike.

February 03, 2009 | Associated Press | State, National


State joblessness jumps over 8 percent

ATLANTA - The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) reported today that the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 8.1 percent in December, the highest rate in almost 26 years. The jobless rate was up 3.6 percentage points from 4.5 percent at this same time last year. The December unemployment rate was up seven-tenths of one percentage point from a revised 7.4 percent in November.

The last time Georgia posted a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at this level was in March of 1983 when the rate was also 8.1 percent. The state rate remained above ...

January 22, 2009 | Special to the Courier | State, National


Lawmakers dealing with shortfall

ATLANTA - Georgia legislative leaders are returning to the Capitol to begin dealing with a $2 billion budget shortfall.

The General Assembly opened its 2009 session on Jan. 12. Lawmakers took Monday off for Martin Luther King Day and Tuesday for the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

January 21, 2009 | Associated Press | State, National


Canadian plant to employ 150 in Savannah

SAVANNAH - Modular interior manufacturer DIRTT has announced plans to open a new assembly plant in Savannah.

The Canadian-based company said it plans to build an 81,000 square foot facility this spring.

January 20, 2009 | Associated Press | State, National


State of state looks to future

ATLANTA - Governor Sonny Perdue today delivered his annual State of the State address before a joint session of the General Assembly detailing how the state continues to fulfill its core mission through challenging economic times. The Governor's Amended FY 2009 and FY 2010 budgets and policy initiatives continue his commitment to education, economic development and government transformation to deliver better value for the taxpayer's dollar.

January 14, 2009 | Providued by governor's office | State, National


Sunday alcohol sales proposed again

ATLANTA - As promised, supporters of Sunday sales of alcohol in Georgia are renewing efforts to change Georgia's law.

A bill filed Tuesday by Republican Sen. Seth Harp of Midland says local governments could call elections to let voters decide if they want to allow Sunday sales of beer, wine and liquor at grocery, convenience and liquor stores.

January 14, 2009 | Assocuiated Press | State, National


Perdue would reward teacher success

ATLANTA - Gov. Sonny Perdue says he wants to reward Georgia principals and teachers who boost student achievement.

Perdue said Tuesday they would receive bonuses and merit pay.

January 13, 2009 | Associated Press | State, National


Budget looms big over session

The faltering economy's effects on Georgia's and expected cuts in state spending and benefits is the 500-pound gorilla sitting in area lawmakers' front rooms. They do have other fears and priorities for the 2009 General Assembly, which starts Monday. Here's how the sum up their plans and hopes:

January 12, 2009 | Staff report | State, National


New Web site details state finances

ATLANTA (January 5, 2009) - A new Georgia law gives Internet users access to information on billions of dollars in state spending. The "Transparency in Government Act" authored by Senator Chip Rogers requires state spending information be placed on a searchable website allowing Georgia taxpayers easy access to where their tax dollars are being spent.

"This is a great day for Georgia taxpayers. We have taken a major step toward transparent and easily accessible accounting information of how every state tax dollar is spent," said Senator Rogers. "The very best way to prevent wasteful government spending is to let those paying ...

January 07, 2009 | Staff Report | State, National


Lawmaker's cookout is Saturday

Saturday, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston will have his annual Friends of Jack Kingston Barbecue. This year's is in Long County.

January 07, 2009 | By Mike Riddle Correspondent | State, National


Claxton councilman indicted on drug charges

Claxton City Councilman Jerome Woody was indicted today on 25 counts of acquiring or obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge, according to Edmund A. Booth Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

January 06, 2009 | Staff report | State, National


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