General Assembly of ...

General Assembly of Georgia Legislative Changes Impacting Development Authorities – 2022

October 11, 2022 | by Blake C. Sharpton

During the 2022 Regular Session of the General Assembly of Georgia, the Legislature enacted several pieces of legislation that impact development authorities in our state. The following is a summary:

PER DIEM CAP

Act 751 adds a maximum per diem payable to directors of development authorities enacted under Ga. Code Ann. § 36-62-1, et seq., equal to the per diem reimbursable to members of the General Assembly, which is approximately $7,000 per year.

JURISDICTION FOR ETHICS CODE VIOLATIONS

Act 751 also grants concurrent jurisdiction to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission for allegations of ethics code violations by directors of development authorities enacted under Ga. Code Ann. § 36-62-1, et seq.

CREATION OF REGIONAL INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITIES

Act 878 authorizes the creation of a new type of development authority known as a “regional industrial development authority.” Such an authority may be created and activated by a proper joint resolution of the local governing bodies of any group of 3 to 5 contiguous counties, provided that at least one half of the members of the governing body from each county has completed a basic economic development training course. Such an authority will have all the same powers as a single county development authority enacted under Ga. Code Ann. § 36-62-1, et seq. and its property shall qualify for the quality jobs tax credit under Ga. Code Ann. § 48-7-40.17 based on the lowest tier participating county. Act 878 also includes an operational requirement for such a regional industrial development authority that it shall develop and operate by an “operational business plan,” which is also required for joint development authorities enacted under Ga. Code Ann. § 36-62-5.1.

DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITIES STUDY COMMITTEE

Senate Resolution 809 established the “senate development authorities and downtown development authorities study committee.” The resolution recites that the practices and procedures of some development authorities have raised questions regarding the nature and benefits of certain tax abatements and that there is little to no statewide or centralized oversight or data available regarding operations of local development authorities and downtown development authorities. The resolution goes on to state that, as a result of these problems, a thorough study of the creation, operation, and management of development authorities and downtown development authorities is long overdue to determine whether appropriate provisions are needed in state law to prevent the abuse of the citizens and taxpayers of the state. It is our understanding that this committee has met several times and has held a number of hearings and obtained testimony from various industry participants. It will be very interesting to follow this committee’s progress (especially considering the recent the Rivian bond validation case) and important for development authorities and their constituents to closely follow this committee’s work.

Notes:

Act 751 amends Ga. Code Ann. §§ 36-62-4 and 36-62-5.

Act 878 amends Ga. Code Ann. § 36-76-2 and enacts Ga. Code Ann. § 36-62-5.2.

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