In my first year in the General Assembly (2013) we voted on SB24 to renew the 'Hospital Provider Fee' and again in my fifth year (2017). I was a 'no' vote both of those years for several reasons: chief among them was the transfer of our legislative authority to tax to the Department of Community Health (a department of the Executive Branch). Though I don't support the way this legislation raises revenue to take part in the federal medicaid fund matching program, I do recognize a need for the funding to prevent a massive budget shortfall. Historically we have renewed this fee for two year sprints and I have advocated that we should be reducing the length of renewal to keep authority in the hands of the legislature. This bill does the opposite and extends it for five years.
This program was put together in Georgia at a time when our budget was roughly $17 billion and the legislature needed to make many difficult decisions about how to keep our state functioning. Six years later, our state budget is over $27 billion- we should be endeavoring to eliminate this tax. It was originally proposed as a 'stop-gap' measure that would be done away with when times were good again. I submit that our revenues are up, and we should endeavor to appropriate the necessary funds for the program out of the general fund rather than maintain an additional tax stream in the coming years.
You can see my vote on this measure from 2013 and rationale here:
and from 2017 here:
The table below breaks down the total number of votes, and marks the majority vote.
|Did not vote||0||0%|