Transportation Funding Act bill update saves some local sales taxes; clears House committee

Published 7:13 pm Friday, February 20, 2015

Georgia House Bill 170, the Transportation Funding Act of 2015, will head to the House floor for consideration after the Transportation Committee approved a revised version Wednesday afternoon.

The revised bill, which aims to generate more than $1 billion for state transportation funding, includes measures protecting some local sales taxes on motor fuel, provided the money be used for transportation purposes. The original version of the bill eliminated all sales taxes on gas, local and state, which caused concern for many local officials.

Recently, both the Bainbridge City Council and the Decatur County Board of Education unanimously passed resolutions opposing the original bill, because of the financial impact it would have on local governments and boards of education.

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The bill now only eliminates Local Option Sales Taxes (LOST) on motor fuels, and leaves Special Local Option Sales Taxes (SPLOST) and Education Special Local Option Sales Taxes (E-SPLOST) in tact, providing the money is used for transportation purposes.

“‘Education transportation purposes’ means … transportation necessary to move students to and from educational facilities in this state and all accompanying infrastructure and services necessary to provide safe and efficient access to and from these educational facilities,” according to the bill.

If the bill is passed, local governments will have to phase out LOST on motor fuels, but will increase the tax to 1.25 percent to make up for the loss.

The revision maintains the changes in state taxes, eliminating the four percent sales tax and increasing the 7.5-cent per gallon excise tax to 29.2-cent per gallon.

The bill also imposes a $200 annual fee on most alternative fuel vehicles.