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Lawmakers Gut Ga. Gov's Tax Credit Proposal

"Georgia cannot afford to undermine its ability to invest in education, infrastructure, and quality of life, which are far more critical to economic growth and job creation," Wesley Tharpe, a GBPI analyst, wrote in a review of Deal's proposal.

House lawmakers ultimately abandoned the largest changes that Deal sought. Analysts do not expect the current plan, which now heads to the state Senate, will significantly affect the state's income.

"It was not really a giving in," said Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, who sponsored the bill for Deal. "It was more of us saying, 'Hey, let's be fiscally prudent.'"

Besides loosening several rules, the bill would explicitly state that companies making alternative energy products or doing biomedical manufacturing can qualify for the tax credits. Still, that is not a major policy shift. Collins said those firms should have already been eligible.

"If I look at it and I don't see my industry, I might not apply," Collins said, explaining why lawmakers made the change.

Deal and other Republican lawmakers will get a second chance to change the tax system. In the coming weeks, Deal's administration is expected to unveil a plan that would at a minimum eliminate the state sales tax that manufacturers pay on the energy needed to create their products.

___

Follow Ray Henry at http://www.twitter.com/rhenryAP.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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