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Stimulus won't work
The people's business
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At its halfway mark, the legislature this week took steps in the areas of homeowner tax relief, job creation, economic development and food safety.
In keeping our promise to Georgia homeowners, the General Assembly witnessed the signing of the Homeowner Tax Relief Grant by Gov. Perdue. The measure guarantees $428 million for tax relief to more than 3 million Georgia homeowners. As we finalize the budget, we will continue protecting homeowners and taxpayers.
This week the governor lowered the revenue estimate by $449 million, which means that the hole in our budget has increased to $2.7 billion. To make up the difference the governor has asked state agencies to cut an additional 1 percent from their budgets and will move an additional $265 million in reserves.
Republican leaders in the House and Senate joined together this week to announce the Jobs, Opportunity and Business Success Act of 2009.
The greatest stimulus for a robust economy stems from fostering opportunity, productivity and innovation. The hard-working people of Georgia, not big government, are the key to economic prosperity. Current stimulus proposals from Washington include government-sponsored spending projects that create "work," not jobs. This work is temporary and the employment created by these projects will end when the projects end. In contrast, our plan spends to taxpayer dollars and allows the market to immediately respond.
In our legislative package, we offer a $2,400 income tax credit for each eligible employee hired, the gradual elimination of the corporate income tax, the elimination of the inventory tax on businesses, the elimination of the sales tax deposit, and it creates a new business tax holiday that will waive the initial and annual registration fee for new businesses that register their corporate names.
What we're proposing captures Georgia's entrepreneurial spirit. This is the conservative answer to the so called "stimulus" bill signed into law this week in Washington.
Georgia is also home to many thriving agricultural businesses. In the past few weeks, we've seen consumer confidence in Georgia peanuts and peanut products decline due to the irresponsible actions of one processing business. Georgia peanuts are safe. However the legislature recognized the need to strengthen Georgia's food safety laws. To that end, we passed the Food Safety Testing, Reporting and Record Keeping Bill, which imposes guidelines on food testing for processing plants in response to the nationwide salmonella outbreak linked to a peanut butter plant in Blakely. The bill primarily requires processors to give the Department of Agriculture access to their testing results without having a warrant. Processors are already testing on a regular basis (more than once a year); this bill encourages more reporting and access to the facilities.

Williams is president pro tempore of the Senate. He represents the 19th District.

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