GRA and GhFA are celebrating the conclusion of another session where significant progress was made in strengthening Georgia’s retail industry, with eight GRA-supported bills passing. I am excited to report that we advocated successfully on your behalf on a number of diverse issues important to the growth and continued success of your business and our industry.
The following is a list of bills of interest. I want to thank you for your membership and support of our efforts to protect your business and its continued growth. We look forward to continuing our efforts in ensuring the Georgia retail industry remains robust.
Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday & Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday
Unfortunately, we were unable to revive this bill due to the Ways & Means Chairman being against it.
SB 201 | Paid Sick Leave
Sponsored by: Senator Butch Miller and Representative Brian Strickland
Relating to general provisions relative to labor and industrial relations, so as to allow employees to use sick leave for the care of immediate family members. Result Passed, unfortunately. This bill is on the way to the Governor for his signature. We have discussed with the Governor’s leadership team about the possibility of a veto, but it seems unlikely at this time. There was a provision added to sunset the bill on July 1, 2020.
HB 405 | Emergency Reentry
Sponsored by: Representative Bill Hitchens and Senator Ben Watson
Summary Relating to the emergency powers of the Governor, so as to require the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency to establish a state-wide system to facilitate the transport and distribution of essentials in commerce during a state of emergency declared by the Governor. This bill will allow for permits to be issued to businesses in advance of a disaster to allow for easier re-entry. This is on par with South Carolina and Florida’s laws as well. Result
SB 200 | MedSync
Sponsored by: Senator Chuck Hufstetler and Representative Darlene Taylor
Relating to insurance generally, so as to provide for synchronizing all patients' chronic medications. This bill was originally focused on chronic medications but GRA worked hard to expand it to ALL medications.
HB 243 | Scheduling Preemption
Sponsored by: Representative Bill Werkheiser and Senator Marty Harbin
Relating to minimum wage law, so as to preempt local government mandates requiring additional pay to employees based on schedule changes.
Passed! Georgia will now be one of the few states to pass this important business-friendly legislation.
SB 242 | Pharmacy Clinics Protocol
Sponsored by: Senator Renee Unterman and Representative Sharon Cooper
This is a clarification in the law relating to delegation of certain medical acts to advanced practice registered nurses, so as to provide an exception to the number of advanced practice registered nurses with which a delegating physician can enter into a protocol agreement at any one time for nurses in certain locations under certain conditions.
SB 121| Nalaxone Standing Order & Dispensing
Sponsored by: Senator Butch Miller and Representative Trey Rhodes
Relating to pharmacies, so as to provide that the state health officer may issue a standing order permitting certain persons and entities to obtain opioid antagonists under the conditions the state health officer may impose.
HB 342 | Enterprise Zones
Sponsored by: Senator Butch Miller and Representative Chuck Efstration
Relating to enterprise zones, so as to provide that certain urban redevelopment zones may be designated as enterprise zones; to provide for a sales tax exemption in such enterprise zones.
HB 481 | Drone Preemption
Sponsored by: Senator Brandon Beach and Representative Kevin Tanner
Relating to general provisions regarding aviation, so as to provide for preemption for unmanned aircraft systems.
HB 206| Pharmacy Bill of Rights
Sponsored by: Senator Hunter Hill and Representative Trey Kelley
"The Pharmacy Audit Bill of Rights," so as to remove an exception relating to certain audits conducted by the Department of Community Health; to amend Article 7 of Chapter 4 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to medical assistance generally, so as to provide that clerical or other errors do not constitute a basis to recoup payments made by providers of medical assistance.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 25, 2016
The popular sales tax holiday takes place this weekend, July 30-31; Families and students encouraged to take advantage of this annual tax free shopping opportunity
ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Retail Association (GRA), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 50 years, reminds Georgia residents that the annual back-to-school shopping season takes place this weekend, July 30-31. This annual tax free weekend allows Peach State families to save on vital supplies, clothes and technology to prepare their children for the upcoming year. The average family is expected to spend $673.57 on apparel and accessories, electronics, shoes and school supplies, up from last year’s $630.36. Nationally, sales for this back-to-school shopping weekend are expected to reach $75 billion, up from $68 billion last year.
“The back-to-school sales tax holiday is something that all Georgia families, students and even business professionals look forward to, to save money on the clothes, supplies and items they need for school or work,” said GRA President/CEO Randy Miller. “With more than 120,000 retailers in Georgia prepared for this popular weekend, we’re excited about the increased sales for businesses and the important savings for consumers.”
The holiday means big savings for shoppers and big business for retailers, which has become the second largest shopping weekend after Black Friday. As part of the holiday, shoppers don’t have to pay sales tax on back-to-school items including clothing and shoes priced at $100 or less, computers and accessories $1,000 or less, and school supplies less than $20 per item. Families with school-age children spend an average $634.78 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics to get ready for the school year.
According to GRA’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s recent survey, families with children in grades K-12 plan to spend an average $673.57 on apparel and accessories, electronics, shoes and school supplies, up from last year’s $630.36 for a total of $27.3 billion, according to the survey. That’s an increase of 9.6 percent from last year’s $24.9 billion and compares with a total growth of 54.8 percent over the past 10 years.
The numbers follow a pattern in which spending often increases one year as families stock up on supplies only to drop off the next as they get a second year out of longer-lasting items like backpacks or computers. Spending then increases in the third year once children outgrow clothing or items need to be replaced.
According to the survey, K-12 consumers plan to spend $9.54 billion on clothing (purchased by 95 percent), $8.27 billion on electronics such as computers or calculators (57 percent), $5.12 billion on shoes (94 percent) and $4.37 billion on school supplies such as notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks and lunchboxes (96 percent). Parents say they will spend an average $235.39 on clothing, $204.06 on electronics, $126.35 on shoes and $107.76 on school supplies.
While discount stores continue to be the choice of the largest share of shoppers at 61 percent, the number is at its lowest level in the survey’s history. But 46 percent of parents said they would shop online, a dramatic jump from last year’s 36 percent. The vast majority of online shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping (89 percent of those surveyed) and conveniences like buy online, pick up in store (54 percent).
Bigger Kids, Bigger Bills
College students and families with children in college plan to spend an average of $888.71, according to the survey. That’s down slightly from $899.18 last year, but total spending is expected to be up at $48.5 billion compared with $43.1 billion last year due to an increase of consumers shopping for back-to-college.
The survey found college consumers plan to spend $11.54 billion on electronics (purchased by 50 percent), $7.49 billion on clothing (70 percent), $6.23 billion on dorm furnishings (43 percent), $5.78 billion on food items (69 percent), $4.26 billion on personal care items (72 percent), $3.84 billion on shoes (67 percent), $3.53 billion on school supplies (81 percent), $3.14 billion on gift cards (36 percent) and $2.7 billion on branded collegiate gear (49 percent). Spending on electronics will average $211.33, apparel and accessories $137.29, dorm furnishings $114.21, food $105.88, personal care items $78.03, shoes $70.39, school supplies $64.64, gift cards $57.54 and branded gear $49.41.
Discount stores still account for the largest share of college shopping, visited by 44 percent of consumers, but the number is at its lowest level in the survey’s history. Only 34 percent will visit a college bookstore, also a new low. Online shopping is the choice of 38 percent of shoppers, down from 39 percent last year and a peak of 45 percent two years ago.
The survey of 6,809 consumers asked about both back-to-school and back-to-college plans was conducted June 30-July 6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.
As part of a recent study from The Washington Economics Group, the back-to-school sales tax holiday has the potential to increase economic activity in Georgia by at least $475.8 million. The same study estimates the tax holiday generates an additional $182.2 million in wages.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA RETAIL ASSOCATION
Since 1961, the Georgia Retail Association has been working on behalf of the retail community to unite and pursue the common goal of creating the best environment for retailing in Georgia. Retail supports 1 out of 4 jobs in the state and is directly and indirectly responsible for 18% of Georgia's gross domestic product.