Ga. House to probe legislative tax deadbeat

The House Ethics Committee will investigate a legislator who has failed to file a state income tax return.

State Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham on Wednesday delivered a list of lawmakers to the heads of the House and Senate ethics panels as required by a new law that passed last year to deal with tax deadbeats at the state Capitol.  That’s far below the 19 legislators identified last year who had failed to file a state income tax return.

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“But the only acceptable number is zero,” state Rep. Joe Wilkinson, House Ethics Committee chairman, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Senate Ethics Committee Chairman Dan Moody said that according to the information Graham delivered on Wednesday “everybody is current in the Senate.”

Wilkinson said he and House Speaker David Ralston will determine when to hold an ethics committee hearing. [Read the full article]

Kentucky House leaders are looking at possibly suspending some tax exemptions temporarily to help balance the next state budget, Speaker Greg Stumbo said Wednesday.

The budget writers are looking at a “pretty significant package” that could generate about $400 million in revenue by closing select tax breaks for two years, Stumbo said.

“We are looking at some of the exemptions, and we’re considering perhaps forgoing them during this biennium only,” Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, told reporters.

House leaders have rolled out proposed budget cuts and other steps to try to plug a shortfall exceeding $1 billion for the next two-year state budget cycle, which starts July 1. The steep economic downturn has taken a toll on state revenue collections. [Read the full article]

The Indiana House approved legislation Wednesday that would repeal an unemployment insurance tax increase, as well as a package of tax credits and other incentives designed to create jobs.

The Democrat-controlled chamber voted 82-17 in favor of a bill that would repeal an increase on taxes that employers pay into the unemployment insurance fund. It voted unanimously for the job-creation bill.

Both bills included major changes to legislation previously passed by the Republican-led Senate. Sponsors of those bills said both measures would go to a House-Senate conference committee where compromises will be sought.

It’s possible that lawmakers will adjourn the session next week, which would give lawmakers little time to strike deals on several bills that could pass both chambers and be sent to Gov. Mitch Daniels. [Read the full article]

The state Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill that would impose an excise tax on wind energy generation in Wyoming.

House Bill 101 faces two more votes in the Senate after the chamber’s approval on first reading Wednesday.

The measure would impose a $1 per megawatt hour excise tax on wind energy production. The bill calls for revenue to be split 60-40 between counties where turbines are located and the state.

The tax would be levied starting in 2012, which lawmakers say gives the Legislature time to refine the state’s tax structure for wind.

Opponents say the wind tax could stifle Wyoming’s wind industry. They argue the tax issue needs more study. [Read the full article]

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