Georgia Chamber Legislative Update:

February 17, 2010 by Christy Vafias

Georgia Chamber of Commerce Legislative Update:
Budget
The amended budget for Fiscal Year 2010 was passed last week, reducing spending by $1.15 billion for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends June 30. Revenue figures for January were also released last week and were 8.7% lower than originally anticipated. Addressing the state’s budget needs continues to be the top priority for this session of the General Assembly and the Georgia Chamber remains committed to working with our elected leaders to ensure any deficit is addressed in a way that fosters economic recovery.
Health Care
A proposal to tax Georgia hospitals and health plans to cover a shortfall in the state’s Medicaid budget will have its first hearing Wednesday in a House Appropriations subcommittee. The tax, estimated to raise upwards of $250 million, would prompt health care providers to raise rates for patients with private insurance in order to make up their losses, thereby hiking costs for employers and employees. The Georgia Chamber opposes this tax and advocates for stronger policing of fraud and abuse in Georgia’s Medicaid program, a greater emphasis on prevention and wellness, and additional managed care options to close the revenue gap.

Education
Senate Bill 84, based on the Commission for School Board Excellence’s recommendations to improve school board governance, was passed by the House Education Committee last week. Strongly supported by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, this bill will improve our state’s K-12 schools by ensuring that school board members receive the training and support they need to make the best possible decisions.
Economic Development
The House Judiciary Committee passed House Resolution 178 last week. This bill corrects current Georgia law by allowing for reasonable employment contracts to be enforced in court, providing predictability for both employers and employees. Today, Georgia stands apart from the rest of the nation with regard to a judge’s ability to make specific modifications to a disputed employment agreement.