Redistricting plan pushed through by legislative majority
Following action in special session by the Republican majority in the Georgia General Assembly, Gov. Nathan Deal has signed into law the proposed maps with new boundaries for all 56 districts of the state Senate and all 180 districts of the state House of Representatives.
As a result, our current Senate District 41 will continue to include parts of DeKalb and Gwinnett counties, while losing some precincts and picking up some others.
The state has sent the new maps to the U.S. Justice Department for an administrative review as to whether the plans comply with the federal Voting Rights Act. Gov. Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens have also said they are filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., seeking pre-clearance. If the Justice Department administratively approves the plans, then the lawsuit will be dismissed, they said.
Upon final approval, the new districts will take effect in the 2012 election cycle. You can see the proposed districts by clicking on the following links:
- Senate Districts (statewide)
- Senate Districts (Metro Atlanta detailed)
- House Districts (statewide)
- House Districts (Metro Atlanta detailed)
The Republican majority also voted to approve new boundaries for Georgia’s congressional districts. The state has gained one U.S. House of Representatives seat for a total of 14 beginning next year as a result of Georgia’s population growth between 2000 and 2010.
The congressional map can be viewed by clicking on the following links:
Redistricting at the federal, state and local levels is required every 10 years following a U.S. Census count to ensure that citizens have equal representation in the legislative branch of government. Click here for more information.
Lawmakers ratify gas tax freeze
In other action during the special session, lawmakers voted to ratify Gov. Nathan Deal’s Executive Order freezing the state’s gas tax, creating a beneficial tax break for Georgia families during the state’s hard economic times.
During the first half of 2011, gas prices spiked dramatically spurring the governor to issue an executive order in June of 2011 suspending the collection of a portion of state taxes on sales of motor fuels and aviation gasoline. In order for the executive order to be extended it was necessary that members of the House and Senate approve the executive order during the 2011 Special Session. The tax increase would have been due to a biannual adjustment to the state’s motor fuel tax.
Georgia’s gas tax comes with several different parts: a fixed 7.5 cent per gallon excise tax charged on gasoline purchased in our state and a state sales tax of 4 percent calculated and converted to a per gallon cost based on the average retail price for midgrade gasoline during the previous six months. These two taxes, along with an 18 cent per gallon federal excise tax, are collected at the retail distribution level and built in to the cost of the gasoline. Local governments can add a variety of local option sales taxes on to the retail cost of gasoline. The state’s 4 percent sales tax on gas is recalculated twice a year unless the price varies (up or down) by 25 percent or more, which triggers an immediate recalculation of the cents per gallon tax rate.
For example, in March of this year, fuel prices soared high enough to trigger a recalculation. The state’s sales tax portion increased from the 10.1 cents per gallon (as established on January 1, 2011) to a rate of 12.9 cents per gallon which took effect on May 1. Had the governor not issued his executive order to prevent an increase, the sales tax portion of the gas tax would have increased again on July 1 (the normal bi-annual recalculation date) all the way up to 14.5 cents per gallon.
Also during the special session, Gov. Deal and leaders of the Republican majority failed to reach agreement on legislation that would have moved next year’s regional referendums on a one-cent sales tax to pay for transportation projects (T-SPLOST) from the primary election day on July 31 to the general election on Nov. 6.
Before abandoning the proposal, the Governor said, “This will give us broader participation, and we think broader participation is important.” Voters in 12 multicounty regions will decide whether to levy the sales tax in their counties to pay for highways and other transportation projects in their regions over the next 10 years.