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Jim GallowayJim Galloway

Tip Sheet: A fireworks bill turned into a last-minute chance for MARTA rail expansion

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House Speaker pro tem Jan Jones, R-Milton, seated next to Todd Long, Fulton County Chief Operating Officer, presents a compromise on MARTA’s effort to expand its rail system. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

House Speaker pro tem Jan Jones, R-Milton, seated next to Todd Long, Fulton County Chief Operating Officer, presents a compromise on MARTA’s effort to expand its rail system. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

It’s Day 38 of the 40-day legislative session. There’s plenty of huddling going in the chambers and hallways. Last-ditch efforts are being made, and the tradition of “Christmas tree” bills is back. (Remember the name comes from the fact that other bills can hang on them.)

Both the House and Senate convene at 10 a.m.

The Senate has on the calendar a boat-load of bills, including HB 238. That bill has become a vehicle for Senate Finance Committee chair Judson Hill’s big income tax plan. A resolution has already been approved for a related constitutional amendment this fall,

The goal of Hill’s proposal would be to cut the state maximum income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.8 percent over a few years if revenue continues to rise and the state has 8 percent of the previous year’s tax collections in reserve. That amounts to about $1.9 billion.

But the real bill to watch will be SB 369, a former fireworks bill that has become the repository for House Speaker pro tem Jan Jones’ effort to resolve the rail/road debate that separates north Fulton from much of the rest of the county.

The Milton lawmaker says she hopes to have the re-fashioned bill on the House floor today.