State representative speaks out on special legislative session after Hurricane Michael

Hurricane Michael Session

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Almost two months after Hurricane Michael state legislators were able to pass three bills that will send millions in need of assistance help throughout Southwest Georgia.

“It’s even worse than the tornado at this point, because there are places that are still having to be cleaned up, a month and a half later,” said Daniel Stull, a resident.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal called a special legislative session to calm the worries of residents when it comes to the $2.5 billion worth of damages and losses from Hurricane Michael.

“The governor had given us specific guidance about what he wanted us to do and our driving force was to provide funding and assistance to damage caused in Southwest Georgia, caused by Hurricane Michael,” said District 153 State Representative Darrel Ealum.

Ealum said that during the five day session legislators passed three bills that would help everyone.

“A $200 million tax credit that’s going to go to our timber tree growers and also includes our pecan growers,” said Ealum.

House Bill 4EX will allow tree and pecan growers to replant their losses. The credit to the growers will not exceed $400 per acre and the total credits preapproved for all growers will not exceed $200 million.

“People are going to want to see this money, people are going to want to use this money, people are going to need this money in order to rebuild,” said Stull.

For those who are concerned, the senate also passed House Bill 1EX.

“To provide approximately $270 million in the supplement budget. We actually supplemented the fiscal year 2019 budget. We added an additional $270 million,” explained Ealum.

Ealum said $69 million of this fund will be for the Governor’s Emergency Fund to pay the state match for federal disaster assistance, $55 million for emergency disaster relief to assist farmers, $20 million for cleanup efforts for timberland and pecan growers and more.

“Even though this is a tragedy, a tremendous loss to us, it’s been a tremendous loss to my own business, but what’s been awesome is the state had these additional funds,” said Ealum.

House Bill 5EX is the third bill passed which deals with a sales tax exemption in jet fuel that will positively impact revenue for the Albany airport.

Copyright 2018 WALB. All rights reserved.