(Atlanta, GA) – Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, along with the Senate Majority Caucus and Economic Development Chairman, Senator Mike Dugan, announced Senate Bill 2, “The FAST Act – Fairness, Accountability, Simplification, and Transparency – Empowering Our Small Businesses to Succeed.” This pro-business, pro-job creation legislation will address and remove the costly hassles placed on Georgia’s small businesses by creating a more efficient and transparent permitting process.
SB 2, the second of the Senate Majority Caucus’ six legislative priorities, provides new guidelines for regulatory activities designed to hold state and local agencies accountable. If enacted, this measure will remove many of the duplicative aspects that plague the current regulation process. The FAST Act requires both a fair and customer friendly system, especially when looking at communication between state agencies and businesses under their jurisdiction.
“We are creating more opportunities for entrepreneurs by removing the barriers to entry for both new and existing businesses,” said Lt. Governor Cagle. “Government cannot create jobs but it can create an environment that fosters job creation and innovation. The Senate is committed to working with our state agencies to simplify administrative processes within small businesses so that they can do what they do best: create jobs and drive economic growth throughout Georgia.”
State and local government agencies that issue licenses or permits will be required to establish a fee schedule which will include turnaround times. If the agency fails to meet that schedule, the fee will be reduced by 10% for every ten days past that deadline. In addition, agencies will be required to offer expedited processing for a rush service charge, which can be no more than twice the original fee.
To create a transparent environment, the FAST Act will put in place the “Building and Infrastructure Transparency Score” (BITS) system to rank and compare each state and local agency’s permitting process.
“Nearly half of our citizens are employed by small businesses – many of these are often held back by redundant government bureaucracies,” said Sen. Dugan. “I’m proud of the work we have done on the FAST Act as we continue to look at avenues to remove pointless constraints for our greatest drivers of job creation. Georgia’s priorities are the Senate’s priorities, and we will continue to champion small business growth throughout the legislative session.”