Jobs announcement great news for Georgia’s economy

Matt Ramsey's picture

The Georgia General Assembly convened on Tuesday, Feb. 21 for day 22 of the 2012 session after learning some exciting news for the future of Georgia’s economy.

On Friday, Feb. 17, Governor Deal announced that Caterpillar Inc. will bring over 1,400 jobs to Georgia with the construction of a new manufacturing plant in Athens.

In addition to these jobs at the new plant, Caterpillar’s suppliers and increased retail sales are expected to create another 2,800 jobs. Perhaps the best part of this news was that the jobs were actually coming back on-shore from Japan.

The announcement is tangible evidence that Georgia is in a strong position to compete for jobs as the economy continues to recover.

It is also a reminder that we must continue to work to promote and create a competitive tax and regulatory climate to ensure we remain at the forefront of business expansions and relocations.

In that regard, the state House is working diligently to eliminate unnecessary government regulations through the Red Tape Watch initiative.

This initiative is aimed at soliciting and receiving input directly from small business owners from across the state, which helps us identify burdensome and unnecessary government regulations that prevent Georgia small businesses from thriving.

I encourage business owners in this community to please offer input during this important process.

In addition, it is important we continue to build on efforts that began last year to modernize a tax code that has not been updated since the 1950s when Georgia was primarily an agrarian economy.

In that regard, there are numerous tax initiatives being discussed this session aimed at improving our business climate and promoting a free market in Georgia.

One of those measures that I strongly support is aimed at closing the loophole in our tax code that provides out of state retailers a competitive advantage over in-state brick and mortar retailers that directly or indirectly employ more than 1,000,000 Georgians.

The current disparate treatment of in-state and out-of-state retailers cuts against everything conservatives should promote in terms of a free market.

Not only is it bad policy to pick winners and losers in the tax code in this manner, it is particularly absurd when you consider the losers in this instance are in-state retailers that employ Georgians, pay taxes here and invest in our communities.

Currently, on-line retailers without brick and mortar stores in the state are not required to collect and remit sales tax on purchases made by Georgians.

Rather, the consumer is required to remit the sales tax in the form of use tax on their income taxes, which many Georgians aren’t even aware of. That has been the law since the 1950s.

It makes no sense to put this collection and remittance burden on in-state businesses for purchases made in Georgia, but on the consumer for out-of-state purchases made by Georgians.

Our free market system is based on one set of rules that governs everyone and works for everyone and policies that subvert the free market and create anti-competitive advantages should be abolished.

Further, not only does this put small businesses in Georgia at a disadvantage, but it incentivizes out of state retailers to keep their facilities and jobs out of Georgia.

I believe the government should let the free market work, not pick winners and losers. I will provide updates as this and other tax measures move forward this session.

Also, I am proud to let you know that the Georgia House approved House Bill 879, legislation I previously referenced that I introduced aimed at improving safety for diabetic students in our schools.

The measure will ensure we have personnel in our schools to help these children manage their disease and respond in the event of an emergency. Now that we have passed this bill, it will move on to the Senate for consideration.

In addition to passing legislation this week, we also took time to recognize the brave Georgians in uniform who protect our great state and nation.

Wednesday, Feb. 22, was Georgia National Guard Day. On this day, we honored the sacrifice of our 45 fallen heroes who were killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns and welcomed their families to the Capitol.

It truly was the most somber and heart-wrenching ceremony I have had the honor to witness during my time in the state House.

We also recognized our current National Guard troops who serve and protect us. It was an honor to recognize these incredible men and women at the State Capitol. We are forever grateful for the sacrifices that they have made for our freedom.

As we move forward into our eighth legislative week, I encourage you to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have regarding matters pending before the General Assembly. Thank you for allowing me to represent this great community.

[Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) was first elected to the District 72 post in December 2007. He is a law partner with Warner, Hooper, and Ramsey, P.C., in Peachtree City. His email is matt.ramsey@house.ga.gov.]

YourGoodPalMike
YourGoodPalMike's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/08/2009
Any tax increase is a tax increase

I buy online because of the sales tax (0%) and often shipping is free.

The brick and mortar stores are pretty much inept with most things, especially electronics. All it takes is a couple hours of research to rise to the knowledge level of the typical bigbox worker.

And speaking of electronics, head to the PTC electronics stores and you'll find terrible selection, workers who know little more than you do, and higher prices than online retailers. Check out Walmart. Their camera display has a bunch of empty spots, old models, high prices, and a bunch of dead batteries. Best Buy isn't much better.

The future (and really the present) is in online sales. If you don't believe me, go to Blockbuster tonight to rent or buy a movie. They are out of business in the Kedron Shopping Center, and for good reason. It's an outdated business model. Look for Best Buy to follow along shortly, along Ritz/Wolf Camera, etc.

Gort
Gort's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2009
Republican Matt Ramsey wants to raise taxes

on Georgia taxpayers? It sure looks like Matt wants to tax on line sales from out of state companies.

Quote:

Matt Ramsey wrote:

One of those measures that I strongly support is aimed at closing the loophole in our tax code that provides out of state retailers a competitive advantage over in-state brick and mortar retailers that directly or indirectly employ more than 1,000,000 Georgians.

He probably got the idea from Gov. Romney from Taxachusetts.

Hey Matt, are you listening? Do you think other states will retaliate and won’t that hurt Georgia companies that sell across state lines?

Citizen_Steve
Citizen_Steve's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/20/2005
GA Surcharge

I used to buy PC equipment from Tiger Direct but stopped once they opened a Georgia location. Why should I or anyone pay a 7% penalty to purchase from a company just because they have a location in Georgia? If sales must be taxed, I suppose the best way is to tax based upon delivery address.

On a related issue, it's about time for Mr. Ramsey to pursue other interests - I'd welcome his decision to not run for another term.

Steve

whsdad
whsdad's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/01/2007
As an online vendor, sales

As an online vendor, sales tax based on delivery address is a nightmare. There are over 7600 tax areas int the US and they change daily. The ONLY way to do it is to pay an expensive service bureau to calculate each tax on the fly.

That said, Matt Ramsey is just on a quest for more revenue like most politicians. And apparently he doesn't know (or perhaps care) that it will place Ga. business at a disadvantage online. Perhaps he should change parties...

Citizen_Steve
Citizen_Steve's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/20/2005
Tax nightmare

It would be an unreasonable burden to expect retailers to comply with taxing requirements for the entire country or broader. It's bad enough they have to worry about local SPLOSTs, tax breaks for the elderly, variable tax by item, tax holidays, etc.

The way things are headed though the National Government will be the payment processor for all purchases, adding taxes as they see fit.

Steve

NUK_1
NUK_1's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/17/2007
Online sales tax collection needs to happen

The internet is long past its infancy as an online shopping method and the Amazon's of the world need to play by the same rules as local merchants. Either stop forcing local brick and mortars to collect sales tax and give it back to govt or force everyone doing business online-only to do the same.

Is it a burden for them to have to figure out how to collect sales tax accurately in all the many jurisdictions across the country? Yeah, and BOO HOO! Big box retailers have been doing it for years and it's really not that hard after the initial research and setup.

This can only be done on a national level because we've already seen companies like Amazon attempt to extort from individual states promises to never make them charge sales tax or AMZ will locate distribution in another state that will pay the vig.

I am 100% for free markets and 100% against crony capitalism and govt being able to choose winners/losers. For several years, the gov't has setup two distinctly separate rules for brick and mortar businesses(many of whom are small businesses) and online businesses. Amazon and internet-only merchants don't need any set-asides and haven't for years now. Exempting them from collecting sales tax is a huge advantage for them and a huge disadvantage to Mom-and-Pop small businesses that become nothing more than showrooms for products that consumers leave and buy online without sales tax later.

The big box retailers like Wally, Target and Home depot are leading this fight to level the playing field and I totally agree with them. The fact that local governments would also benefit a lot from this may turn some people off because all they see is "more taxes", but those people need a reality check because it's going to benefit your community by not having so many empty storefronts.

How the hell can u exempt an online business from sales taxes when you make physical businesses collect and pay them? The Internet long ago left its infancy as a consumer choice and doesn't need any "protection" or set-asides.

S. Lindsey
S. Lindsey's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/2008
I think the Fair Tax addresses this Nuk

A straight across the board 17% Tax on ALL purchases regardless of location regardless of State...

I think it's workable. But it's a pipe dream just like a Flat Tax we will never get rid of the Governments control over our Freedoms.

Gort
Gort's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2009
The lie that refuses to die! The Fair Tax!

This ain’t Sim City!

Cyclist
Cyclist's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/15/2007
Internet Sales Tax

I agree, it needs to happen. But how, especially when it gets down to the "county" level?

Cyclist
Cyclist's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/15/2007
Dup

Dup

Cyclist
Cyclist's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/15/2007
Dup

Dup

Gort
Gort's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2009
Nuk_1, another Federal Tax is

Nuk_1, another Federal Tax is not politically possible so we can just forget about that.

Besides “Wally, Target and Home depot” already benefit from Tax-Increment Financing and this has allowed them to drive more mom and pop operations out of business then any of the on-line retailers. Don’t they get paid off by being allowed to keep some of the sales tax they collect? What mom and pop operations get to do that?

If “Wally, Target and Home depot” are pushing this it’s not in the interest of fairness, for the consumer, or for the benefit of the mom and pop merchants. It’s just another example of big business using political power to put their thumb on the scale to arrange the tax code in their favor.

NUK_1
NUK_1's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/17/2007
Gort: Not a federal tax

It's only a "federal" issue in that Congress has to approve the right for states and local govt to be able to collect sales taxes. The big benefit of taxing Internet sales is for state and local governments, not federal anything.

I don't think Wally, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot etc. motives are for anything other than what benefits themselves, but right now, they are on an uneven playing field with companies like Amazon and it also affects local govt in that they lose the revenue. The fact that their push might help local merchants also may be inconsequential to them except for PR purposes, but that doesn't mean that it's "bad."

If states/locals want to give sales tax or property tax breaks to whomever, that's their choice. Right now, the Feds/Congress restrict that choice by extending a law year after year that doesn't allow for a sales tax on Internet purchases unless the biz has a physical presence in that locale.

Of all the issues involved in taxation, I can't believe that I come down on the side of what appears to be "more taxes" but it's a very outdated system right now that allows for "protection" of Internet sales while forcing everyone else to collect it and pay it.

Gort
Gort's picture
Offline
Joined: 07/28/2009
Nuk_1, I can’t believe you’re

Nuk_1, I can’t believe you’re arguing in favor of another tax either!

As penance for your transgression try eating a bar of soap! 8 - )

Recent Comments