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Bill targets 2 tax breaks for sunset

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They stand to be the first two casualties of the Senate Study Committee on Special Tax Exemptions, tasked with evaluating the costs and benefits of the state's numerous tax incentives.

Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, was a member of the committee chaired by Sen. John Albers, R-Alpharetta. He also chairs the Senate Finance Committee that sent Albers' SB 328 to the floor with a recommendation to pass.

Hufstetler has long-decried the lack of a mechanism to determine if the state's tax credits — aimed at encouraging certain behaviors or actions — are showing a return on investment.

"Many of these ... are probably paying off while some of them are probably not,” he said when appointed to the study committee.

The group selected six programs for in-depth study and recommended eliminating three.

The tax credit of up to $150 toward teen driver education programs from private providers is rarely used, possibly because 114 of the state's 159 counties don't have a private provider.

The 16-year-old tax credit for investing in diesel particulate emission technology on commercial vehicles hasn't been claimed in five years.

The measure now moves to the House for debate. If adopted as written, the programs would end Dec. 31.

A tax credit for employers that subsidize employees' use of van pools or public transportation also was recommended for sunset but is not included in SB 328.

Three other programs — for the film industry, historic property rehabilitation and company research and development — netted support from the study committee. The final report also contains a proposed schedule to review more than 60 other special tax credits and exemptions.