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Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - 8:06pm

South Ga. Businesses Defend Tax Breaks

South Georgia business interests told members of a state tax revision committee last night to keep their tax exemptions alive.

A committee of lawmakers is looking into ways of re-writing Georgia's tax code to keep the state competitive but at the same time possibly ending some tax breaks that could help the budget.

Tattnall County farmer Chris Hopkins says, he wants lawmakers to preserve tax breaks for farmers.

"Most farm input costs have not been subjected to taxes in my lifetime," Hopkins says. "If sales taxes were extended to farm inputs, the increased taxes would have a significant and detrimental effect on my livelihood."

Others defended tax breaks currently enjoyed by timber, paper and non-profit corporations.

Two-people said it was time to raise tobacco taxes.

In all, about 35 people attended the tax revision committee's public hearing in Savannah, one of several being held state-wide.

Effingham County taxpayer Ruth Lee says, she'd like to see property taxes more in line with market value.

"We've been in a recession," Lee says. "Property values have gone down. So how have property values come up?"

The committee's recommendations will be given to lawmakers next year.