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Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - 7:26am

Ralston Wants "Jobs-Friendly" Tax System

A group that’s charged with rewriting Georgia’s tax code met for the first time today. House Speaker David Ralston wants something that he says is more quote "jobs friendly".

A room packed with lobbyists was all ears as Speaker Ralston gave the opening speech.

"We’re here because a lot of us in the general assembly believed that the way to get out of the economic downturn in this country and our state has found ourselves in is by growing jobs," says Ralston.

The Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness comprised mostly of business leaders and economists were then given an overview of Georgia’s tax code. It relies mostly on income and sales taxes which they were told haven’t been keeping pace with the down economy.

How to fix that will be the council’s work over the next several months. They’ll hold open meetings and go on fact finding sessions across the state. Part of that work is examining business tax credits and sales and service exemptions. Lobbyists will surely keep a close watch over the process as they did at this first meeting.

Rusty Paul is one of them. He represents several businesses in the state including nursing homes and building contractors.

"There’s no way you can create a tax code where some people aren’t going to benefit and some are going to be hammered in some way or the other and that’s part of the process in monitoring this," says Paul.

But council chairman A. D. Frazier who is a banking consultant warned the room…

“It’s an open council. Don’t say anything you don’t want to read on the front page of the paper," says Frazier.

The council must come up with their recommendations by January, which will go to the house and senate floors for an up or down vote.

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