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Morning headlines: Kemp pushes for more tax rebates

Brian Kemp at the state capitol: 8/11/22
At the state capitol on Thursday, Governor Brian Kemp unveiled his plan to dip into the state surplus to hand out $2 billion in tax refunds.

Georgia’s governor is calling for tax breaks in the first major policy proposals of his reelection campaign.

Speaking at the capitol on Thursday, Kemp proposed spending $2 billion in state surplus funds to issue a $1 billion on state income tax rebate and $1 billion to renew a long dormant state property tax break. Kemp says the property tax break would amount to about $500 in savings for the average homeowner.

"This Georgia homeowner rebate will save an average homeowner between 15 and 25% on their local property tax bill next year," Kemp said.

The state had a $5 billion surplus last year and $2 billion the year before.

Earlier this week, Kemp's Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, set out her economic agenda, which calls for drawing on the state's surplus to provide teacher raises, and for bringing forward a constitutional amendment legalizing some forms of gambling in the state.

ACC to get $25 million in federal dollars for North Avenue

A $25 million federal grant is on the way to Athens-Clarke County to help improve infrastructure in the North Avenue Area.

Upgrades will be made to 10 bus stops, sidewalks, a shared path for bikes, traffic signals for pedestrians, and lighting. The road will also be resurfaced and drainage along the route improved.

The Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grant for Athens is only one of two given in Georgia. The other is designated for improvements to the Five Points MARTA station in Atlanta.

ACC Mayor Kelly Girtz said the North Avenue improvements will allow nearby residents greater access to places such as grocery stores and pharmacies.

Trump hires Atlanta attorney for Fulton grand jury probe

Former President Donald Trump has hired a prominent Atlanta criminal defense attorney to represent him in matters related to the special grand jury investigating whether the former president illegally tried to interfere with the 2020 election in Georgia.

Observers say the choice of Drew Findling is an interesting one given Findling once tweeted that Trump was "pathetic," and the "racist architect of fraudulent Trump University."

Findling also recently said his firm will defend anyone charged under Georgia’s new abortion law free of charge. In a statement, Findling said that he is a “passionate advocate against injustice” and will “strongly defend” Trump.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened the investigation early last year, and the special grand jury was seated in May at her request.

Judge overturns jury verdict in North Georgia infant death

A Superior Court judge in North Georgia used a statute known as the 13th juror to set aside a guilty verdict and a 10 year sentence in the case of an Elberton woman accused of killing her infant.

Northern Circuit Judge Harvey Wasserman overrode the jury in the trial of an Elberton woman accused of killing her infant and immediately granted the defendant a new trial. Carrie Jill Peppers was charged in the death of the child who died at their home.

The ultimate cause of death was undetermined, but an autopsy found there was nothing medically wrong with the child. Prosecutor Parks White contended the defendant was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the child’s death and that Peppers fell asleep on top of the infant.

White says he plans to appeal the judge’s ruling to an appellate court.

Alexia Ridley joined WUGA as Television and Radio News Anchor and Reporter in 2013. When WUGA TV concluded operations, she became the primary Reporter for WUGA Radio. Alexia came to Athens from Macon where she served as the News Director and show host for WGXA TV. She's a career journalist and Savannah native hailing from the University of Michigan. However, Alexia considers herself an honorary UGA DAWG!
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