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Gov. Deal signs hurricane relief for farmers

Pine Knoll pecan plantation in Dougherty County.

Gov. Nathan Deal signed a trio of bills Saturday that provide some financial relief to Georgians affected by Hurricane Michael and ratified an executive order suspending sales tax on jet fuel June 30.
Lawmakers met for a five-day special session that began Tuesday to take up more nearly $270 million in emergency funding for state and local government agencies assisting with storm cleanup and a $200 million tax break for people in southwest Georgia who need to replant commercial timber and pecan trees.

Pine Knoll pecan plantation in Dougherty County.
Pine Knoll pecan plantation in Dougherty County.

In a press release after signing the bills, Deal said the funding will provide critical support for the communities affected by the storm.
“I appreciate the General Assembly working together diligently and quickly to see that this relief funding will be delivered to those in need as rapidly as possible, as the rebuilding process is just beginning for some of Georgia’s citizens. I thank the leadership of both chambers and legislators from all over the state for coming together this week to support those most heavily impacted by this natural disaster.”
State officials estimate losses from the October storm top $2.5 billion in the agriculture and timber industries.
The state house and senate also had to vote on a measure that gives Delta Air Lines and other carriers a tax break on purchasing jet fuel until the end of the next fiscal year. That’s because Governor Deal signed an executive order July 30, 2018 that needed to be ratified since the legislature was in session.
During this year’s regular legislative session, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle put a national spotlight on that tax break after vowing to “kill” the incentive if Delta followed through with ending a discount partnership pro-gram with the National Rifle Association.

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