House Bill 170 sees opposition

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

While House Bill 170 remains under consideration in the Georgia General Assembly, several local governments in Henry County have already made their opinions known about it.

The bill, which would shift funding for state transportation projects in a major way, has come under fire across the state by those who believe it would have a severe negative impact on revenue at the county and city level.

Because of this and the fact that some state legislators who initially signed on to the bill have reconsidered, the legislation itself has seen some alterations and, if passed, will likely be considerably different than what was originally proposed.

The Stockbridge City Council approved a resolution Feb. 9 opposing HB170, stating that “if passed in its current form, could have dire financial repercussions on local governments.”

A similar resolution adopted Feb. 16 by the McDonough City Council stated that the bill would cost the city an estimated $1,753,060 in city revenue, and the LOST (local option sales tax) reduction within two years would be equal to 12 public safety positions and three miles of road paving and/or repair.

The reduced SPLOST revenue of $1.38 million would equal 19 public safety vehicles and other equipment.

The total reduction in McDonough would effectively cut the city’s budget in half and require a 2.6-mill tax increase to replace it, according to city officials.

The Hampton City Council prepared a resolution opposing HB170 for consideration at a Feb. 26 meeting but it was not adopted because city officials received word that major changes were underway in the legislation.

A resolution was on the agenda for the March 3 regular meeting of the Henry County Board of Commissioners urging the county’s legislative delegation “to strongly oppose any provision or measure that reduces allocation of sales tax funding to local governments and, furthermore, we request that the State of Georgia not approve any provision of a transportation bill that authorizes double taxation of residents.”