The bill, sponsored by District 130 state Rep. David Knight, R-Griffin and District 59 state Rep. Margaret Kaiser, D-Atlanta and a host of other lawmakers, would prohibit Clayton County from leveling an ad valorem tax on concessionaires at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Despite 80 percent of the airport being located in Clayton County, the bill, which was adopted by the House last week and has not advanced to the Senate, would void legislation passed in 1984 that gave the county the right to tax airport concessionaires.
“House Bill 399 says, essentially, that Clayton County should never have had the right to levy the tax against the concessionaires,” Glanton said.
He has received various reports on the financial impact passage of HB 399 would have on county departmental agencies and, Glanton said, the numbers vary according to the agency responding.
“However, what I do know is that with every other city or county in Georgia and throughout the United States as a result of the recession, Clayton County cannot take another unexpected hit to its revenue sources,” Glanton said.
The veteran lawmaker added that in recent years, the county has had to endure the financial impact of extending tax exemptions granted to Delta Airlines by the Georgia General Assembly since 2009.
Glanton said the financial loss to the county of the Consolidated Car rental facility, accounting for $4.46 million, and the financial fallout resulting from the loss of accreditation by Clayton County Public Schools in 2008 (which the school system regained in 2011), has caused an “increased dilution of our tax digest,” he added.
“If HB 399 is signed into law, the Clayton County School District would be impacted by the loss of $8.86 million, which equals the annual salaries of 130 school teachers,” Glanton said.
A further erosion of the county’s tax digest would certainly negatively impact the county’s ability to provide some services, he added.
If HB 399 passes the senate and is eventually signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal, the county would still have an obligation of providing law enforcement and judicial services to the airport despite the loss of this revenue source from concessionaires, Glanton emphasized.
In addition, since one governmental entity cannot tax another such entity, if this legislation becomes law, “Clayton County would be prohibited from passing this tax onto the city of Atlanta,” Glanton said.