Sales Tax Exemption Bill Passes

The Senate tally board after the vote on House bill 951.
The Senate tally board after the vote on House bill 951.
After an hour and a half debate the State Senate passed House Bill 951,by a margin of 38-14. Despite several attempts to amend the bill from the Senate floor, no changes were made, and the measure heads to Governor Deal for his signature. The bill provides for the annual back to school tax exemption weekend in early August, and a sales tax exemption for certain energy efficient items in October. That portion was non controversial. What caused the most debate was the section that eliminated sales taxes on tickets to major sporting events, including the Super Bowl.

The bill had six floor amendments, ranging from one that would remove the sales tax exemption on sporting events completely, to one that would require the event’s host city to make up the estimated $10 million in lost sales tax revenue from exempting tickets, to one that would change who decides when an event is major from the Economic Development and State Revenue Commissioners to the General Assembly. Another amendment would use a hotel-motel tax in the host city to recover the lost ticket sales tax revenue, while another would sunset the bill at the end of 2016 instead of 2022. A final amendment was withdrawn. None of the amendments passed.

After Senator Butch Miller presented the bill, several senators got up to speak against it, including Columbus Sen. Josh McKoon, who sponsored the first four amendments. Sen. McKoon highlighted several potential hidden costs of holding a major supporting event, and said that tax policy shouldn’t favor one type of sporting event over another. He pointed out that the legislature raised $900 million in taxes with the Transportation Funding Act, and wondered why the state was giving revenue away. Calling House Bill 951 “Economic Distortion,” Sen. Mike Crane of Newnan wondered why business interests wanted the tax exemption to pass yet refused to allow the passage of a religious liberty bill.

Also speaking against the bill was Senator Vincent Fort of Atlanta, who pointed out that none of the estimated $400-500 million a Super Bowl would bring would be going to the neighborhoods surrounding the new Mercedes Benz stadium. Fort stated that the legislature was being blackmailed voluntarily.

Supporters of the bill pointed out that the foregone revenue from exempting major sporting event tickets was not revenue that could be gotten in another manner. Specifically, the NFL has said the only way there would be a Super Bowl in Atlanta would be to offer the tax exemption. Without the event, there would be no tickets sold, nor tax to collect.

Voting against the bill were Senators John Albers, Gloria Butler, Bill Cowsert, Crane, Fort, Bill Heath, Steve Henson, Hunter Hill, Chuck Hufstetler, Harold Jones, McKoon, Nan Orrock, Horacena Tate and Renee Unterman. Senators Charlie Bethel, Ed Harbison, Judson Hill and Michael Williams were excused and did not vote.

17
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
3 Comment threads
14 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
7 Comment authors
gcpRaleighJohn KonopBenevolusngamtns706 Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Stupid is as stupid does. Glad GA doesn’t need the revenue.
What’s the total revenue pass including the $10 mil on sports tickets we got strong armed by a wealthy league for ?

Charlie
Charlie

You don’t pass the bill, you get $0 from a Super Bowl.

You pass the bill, you get $15 Million to the state and $15 Million to the locals on sales tax alone. Plus hotel taxes, plus rental car taxes, plus state income tax. You get hotels, bars, and restaurants full on what is otherwise usually one of the slowest weekends in Atlanta each year. Or, you cling to spite and get nothing. We’ve covered this already.

http://www.georgiapol.com/2016/02/08/spite-is-behind-motivation-to-block-super-bowl/

ngamtns706
ngamtns706

Is there a tax on Hawks, Braves, and Falcons tickets currently? Will there be in the future? If so, why are we picking winners and losers per say. Just because it is a smart idea, and will be beneficial doesn’t not make it conservative. I can think of another thing that was a GOP passed measure called Medicare Part D. Not conservative in the least, but it was beneficial to some.

Charlie
Charlie

“Why are we picking winners and losers” is one of the laziest intellectual arguments in politics. Every tax, every regulation picks a winner and a loser. The only way for the government to not pick one is to have no rules and no taxes. We’re also not in an environment where the state is a market maker. Every city we are competing against waives the taxes on large special events such as a Super Bowl. So we aren’t competing in a “fair market”. Under this bill we’re giving the opportunity to pick a winner. Not having this bill picks Atlanta… Read more »

gcp
gcp

The ire is because the highly profitable NFL is the only entity that requires this tax exemption. Atlanta will host a college football playoff game in 2016 and the college championship game in 2018. These games did not require this tax exemption.

My main objection with this bill is the “tax exemption weekends.” Most of these purchases would be made with or without a tax holiday. It’s a gimmick that costs the state millions in tax revenue every year.

John Konop
John Konop

…“tax exemption weekends.” Most of these purchases would be made with or without a tax holiday. It’s a gimmick that costs the state millions in tax revenue every year……

I agree with this part!

Benevolus
Benevolus

I’m going to play devil’s advocate because I think it was inevitable that we buy a new stadium and therefore pay the bribe to the NFL to get the game. But there are alternatives. That may normally be a slow week, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t arrange something for then. We’ve had bad luck weather-wise for conventions at that time of year, but the same risk would be true for a Super Bowl. So, we could host a couple of conventions during that time. Maybe not as much money but no payola either. Also, it’s Chinese New Year, and… Read more »

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Didn’t say we should walk, said it is stupid….So we just accept or fold….my point has been the cities ought to try and negotiate this point…..how Does the NFL benefit in this provision, it doesn’t add to their revenue or appeal, the tickets get packaged or resold for the most…it’s a sell out at any price..

Saltycracker February 8, 2016 at 10:21 am Reply
The cities bidding should jointly appeal to the NFL to drop that provision.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Since the CofC went to Austin, the fastest growing big city, to recruit, couldn’t help looking up their pro teams.

http://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=sportsteams&find_loc=Austin%2C+TX

#1 Texas Rollergirls

Disclosure: I like the Falcons as long as they bring positive revenue

John Konop
John Konop

The last Supper Bowl created over 700 million dollars of economic impact verse 5 million in expanses. Estimates are pushing the impact closer to 800 million for the next Supper Bowl, the real question is how much is this worth verse giving up sales tax and the expense of the event. If the below numbers are correct it seems like a no brainier, since events like this are driven on a macro by incremental revenue. Once again Sen. Josh McKoon, seems to support spewing for campaign donations, over looking at the math. ……..Last year’s Super Bowl (played in Glendale but… Read more »

Raleigh
Raleigh

So we give up the sales tax on ticket sales to receive 30 million in other sales tax revenue is the claim. Will Atlanta or any host city for the Super Bowl or any other large sporting event really realize a big positive economic impact? The jury is still out about that. http://www.usnews.com/debate-club/is-hosting-the-super-bowl-worth-it I’m not saying I disagree with passing the exemption. Unfortunately this silly game is being played by other governments for a perceived windfall in revenue or just the prestige in hosting a Super Bowl. My issue is with a few small details 1.3 Billion for a new… Read more »

John Konop
John Konop

Raligh,

From your own article that is the bottom line. All about the math…..

…. Robert Tuchman, president of the sports and entertainment marketing company Goviva, said, “the value that [the NFL is] bringing to [the host] definitely far outweighs the demands that they put on those cities, or what they have to succumb to, to actually host the event.”……

Raleigh
Raleigh

There are both opinions, for and against in the article and linked in the article. That’s not the point.

The NFL and the Commissioner has been at times openly hostile to Atlanta.

Again what if any guarantee did we get from Roger Goodell and the NFL to host any Super Bowls and what will the next demand be?

John Konop
John Konop

…….Again what if any guarantee did we get from Roger Goodell and the NFL to host any Super Bowls and what will the next demand be?…..

It is just business, if the math makes sense do the deal.

Raleigh
Raleigh

Yes it’s just business. As I said “I’m not saying I disagree with passing the exemption.” I disagreed then with building the almost 1 billion (Now 1.3 billion) facility in the first place. I lost, time to move on except I do reserve the right to point out why we have to give in to more “Demands” made by the NFL and Roger Goodell. Especially while they use hosting the Super Bowl and a hostage to force us to give those favors.

gcp
gcp

If the legislature had passed the tax exemption years ago for all large sports events much of the controversy would have been avoided. Instead they decided to pass it only at the bequest of the NFL which looks bad and is unacceptable to many citizens.

John Konop
John Konop

Raleigh,

As you know I was rather outspoken about the Brave stadium deal not making fiscal sense for tax payers. But that is a different issue, this is rather straight forward, if the math makes sense.