Georgia State Bar Board of Governors Concerned About Effect of the GREAT Plan

As you may know, I am a member of the State Bar of Georgia’s Board of Governors, the governing body over Georgia’s 38,000 lawyers. We, the Board of Governors, recently held our Mid-Year meeting here in Atlanta, and one item on our agenda was the GREAT Plan, HR 900, the new tax plan being proposed by the Speaker of the House, Glenn Richardson, a Republican State Representative from Paulding County. The Georgia Board of Governors voted to express our concern with and opposition to the GREAT plan, as it applies to the taxation of legal services. Because the Speaker has now exempted business-to-business transactions from the
plan’s tax scheme, that means only individual Georgia citizens, not corporations, would have to pay the tax on legal services. Corporations get a free pass, while Georgia would be trying to raise revenue on the backs of individual Georgia citizens, those who can least afford it. How could this possibly comport with the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws? It can’t, but that has often before never been much of an impediment to the Georgia General Assembly’s passage of laws, as evidenced by 2005’s SB3, the so-called “tort reform” bill. Much of SB3 has now been held to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Georgia, and it is only a matter of time before the remaining provisions are also ruled unconstitutional. In the meantime, though, many deserving Georgia citizens have been robbed of justice because of SB3.
I am proud of the action taken by the Georgia Board of Governors expressing opposition to the proposed tax scheme. If there is anyone who will stand up for the individual Georgia citizen, it is the honorable lawyers of the State Bar of Georgia.