Category Archives: Politics

Deal Issues Emergency Declaration for All 159 Counties

Based on the latest 11 a.m. forecast for Hurricane Florence and acting on a recommendation from Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS) officials, Gov. Nathan Deal today issued an emergency declaration for all 159 counties in Georgia.

“The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety ahead of Hurricane Florence,” said Deal. “In light of the storm’s forecasted southward track after making landfall, I encourage Georgians to be prepared for the inland effects of the storm as well as the ensuing storm surge in coastal areas. GEMA/HS continues to lead our preparedness efforts as we coordinate with federal, state and local officials to provide public shelter and accommodate those evacuating from other states. Finally, I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the safety of our people and all those in the path of Hurricane Florence.”

To read the executive order, see attached or click here.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, visit the GEMA/HS website here.

Deal: August Tax Revenues Up 7 Percent

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that Georgia’s net tax collections for August totaled roughly $1.8 billion, for an increase of $117.4 million, or 7 percent, compared to last year when net tax collections totaled nearly $1.69 billion. Year-to-date, net tax revenue collections totaled $3.58 billion, for an increase of $176.8 million, or 5.2 percent, compared to August 2017.

The changes within the following tax categories contributed to the overall net tax revenue increase in August:

Individual Income Tax: Individual Income Tax collections for August totaled $939.4 million, for an increase of $77 million, or 8.9 percent, compared to last year when Individual Income Tax collections totaled $862.4 million.

The following notable components within Individual Income Tax combine for the net increase:

  • Individual Income Tax refunds issued (net of voided checks) were up $14.7 million, or 18 percent.
  • Individual Withholding payments were up $78.7 million, or 8.8 percent.
  • All other Individual Tax categories, including Estimated Tax payments, were up a combined $13 million.

 Sales and Use Tax: Gross Sales and Use Tax collections for the month increased by nearly $76.8 million, or 8.2 percent, over last year. Net Sales and Use Tax totaled $518.2 million, for an increase of $54.3 million, or 11.7 percent, compared to August 2017. The adjusted distribution of sales tax to local governments totaled $493.8 million, for an increase of $22.1 million, or 4.7 percent, over last year. Finally, sales tax refunds increased by roughly $0.4 million, or 10.1 percent, compared to August 2017.

Corporate Income Tax: Corporate Income Tax collections for August totaled nearly $18 million, for an increase of roughly $3.5 million, or 23.8 percent, compared to last year when net Corporate Tax revenues totaled $14.5 million.

The following notable components within Corporate Income Tax make up the net increase:

  • Corporate Income Tax refunds issued (net of voided checks) were up $10.5 million, or 172.5 percent.
  • Corporate Income Tax Return payments were up $12.1 million, or 469.8 percent.
  • All other Corporate Tax categories, including Estimated Tax payments, were up a combined $1.9 million.

Motor Fuel Taxes: Motor Fuel Tax collections during the month totaled roughly $153.7 million, for a decrease of less than $0.2 million, or -0.1 percent, compared to August 2017.

Motor Vehicle Tag & Title Fees: Motor Vehicle Tag & Title Fees for the month increased by nearly $4 million, or 12.2 percent, compared to August 2017. Title Ad Valorem Tax (TAVT) collections totaled $72.5 million, for a decrease of $14.4 million, or -16.6 percent, compared to last year.

Carter Introduces Measure to Prohibit “Gag Clause” Provisions

WASHINGTON – Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-Ga.) introduced legislation today to prohibit “gag clause” provisions.

Currently, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) are able to include requirements in contracts that prevent pharmacists from providing advice to their patients on the best and cheapest out-of-pocket alternatives to medications covered under insurance. This is commonly known as a “gag clause.” As a result, patients may be paying more for their prescriptions than is warranted.

The Know the Cost Act introduced by Carter today prohibits group health plans offered by employers and individual health insurance plans, as well as Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Plans, from restricting a pharmacy’s ability to inform a patient about the lower cost, out-of-pocket price options for their prescription. Additionally, the measure will require notifications to Medicare beneficiaries of the potential outcomes of paying out-of-pocket rather than with insurance.

The measure was approved today by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee and similar legislation is moving through the United States Senate at this time.

“As a pharmacist for more than 30 years, I can say firsthand that I was prohibited many times from telling my patients that there was a cheaper option available to them because of a gag clause,” Carter said. “Pharmacists must be able to tell patients what is in their best interest and this legislation works to make that happen. Patients need and deserve the most affordable options.

“The Know the Cost Act builds on legislation I introduced earlier this year. The strong, bipartisan support of this measure shows the importance of moving this bill across the finish line as part of our mission to lower prescription drug prices for Americans. I am very glad it was approved by our Health Subcommittee today and I look forward to it moving through committee and reaching the House floor.”

The legislation now moves to consideration by the full House Energy and Commerce Committee.