FILE - Georgia state Sen. John Albers

Georgia state Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell

(The Center Square) – A bill that allows for independent analysis of tax credits granted in Georgia unanimously passed the state Senate on Monday.

Senate Bill 6, dubbed the Tax Credit Return on Investment Act of 2021, allows the chairpersons of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee to each request up to five economic analyses each year of existing or proposed Georgia laws that deal with tax exemptions, credits, deferrals, rebates, abatements or preferential rates.

The Georgia Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) would conduct the analysis. Lawmakers would have to request the analysis by May 1 of a given year. The OPB would have to complete the analysis by Dec. 1.

"This will assure that we have that fiscal responsibility in place," said Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, who filed the bill. "We'll measure the amount given out versus the amount returned."

Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, has said Georgia offers $9.5 billion in tax incentives with minimum oversight.

"Some [tax credits], I think are worthy. I think many of them are not," Hufstetler recently said during a Georgia Budget Policy Institute forum. "But when you collect $14 billion in income tax, and you're giving away $9.5 billion, you might have a chance to have more revenue and, perhaps, have everybody have a better tax rate at the same time. So we've got to work on that."

The bill passed the Senate, 51-0, and heads to the House for consideration.

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Jason Schaumburg is an award-winning, veteran editor who has been a journalist for more than 20 years. He spent a decade as the top editor in three northern Illinois newsrooms for Shaw Media and Pioneer Press.