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Governor Sonny Perdue Signs Omnibus Revenue Bill

Wednesday, June 4, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Delivers on Promise to Georgia's Senior Citizens

Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue today signed into law House Bill 43 (HB43), the omnibus revenue bill. Two main provisions of the bill are a tax cut for senior citizens and an increase in the excise fee on tobacco.

"I am signing House Bill 43 today because it is the first step towards the comprehensive tax reform that Georgia's citizens deserve," said Governor Perdue. "While far from perfect, the bill moves our state in a positive direction as we continue to reform our budget process."

House Bill 43 Should Not Be a Model for How Georgia Handles Legislation

"I believe that overall House Bill 43 is a good bill for the taxpayers of this state, but I want to make clear that it is not the type of bill that I ever want to see delivered to my desk again. It is an 'omnibus' bill, or more accurately a 'Christmas Tree' bill, that should not become a precedent. This might be 'business as usual' in Washington, D.C., but we are going to handle Georgia's business in a fiscally responsible manner," said Governor Perdue.

Governor Perdue Delivers on Campaign Promise to Georgia's Senior Citizens

"On the campaign trail, I promised a tax cut for Georgia's seniors because it is important to our state's economic growth and it honors a generation that helped build our great state and nation. The tax cut makes this our state a more tax-friendly haven for retirees who call Georgia home and for newcomers seeking a great place to spend their retirement years," added Governor Perdue.

The senior tax cut was originally proposed by the Governor's Floor Leaders in committee and ruled not germane. This measure was included in HB43 on the final day of the legislature.

Tobacco Excise Fee Increase Promotes a Healthier Georgia

"With skyrocketing healthcare costs that are driving our budget crisis, the excise fee increase makes sense for the health of our citizens as well as the financial stability of our state. Individuals who choose a behavior that drives healthcare costs upward will now pay more of the tax burden that they place on all Georgians," said Governor Perdue.

HB43 increases the excise fee on tobacco by 25 cents, from 12 cents to 37 cents. The excise fee on tobacco has not been raised in over thirty years and the state now pays approximately $1.75 billion a year for smoking-related illnesses. It should be noted that in 1971, the per capita income in Georgia was $3,600. By 2001, it had increased almost 800% to over $28,700. If the tax had kept up with the Consumer Price Index, the current excise fee would be over 50 cents per pack.