published Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Georgia state Senate passes income tax cap — and more Chattanooga region news

Georgia state Senate passes income tax cap

The Georgia state Senate approved a resolution on Monday to cap the state's income tax at its current rate.

ATLANTA — Georgia senators voted 42-11 to prohibit the General Assembly from increasing the state's income tax above 6 percent.

The legislation is sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer, R-Duluth. The resolution would also block state lawmakers from imposing any new state income taxes.

Shafer told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he'd like to see the state income tax reduced to keep Georgia competitive with neighboring states.

"Every one of our neighbors has a lower income tax than Georgia, and two states do not tax earned income at all," Shafer said in a statement. "Capping the state income tax will keep Georgia competitive. We will be the only Southeastern state that constitutionally prohibits income tax increases." Shafer added that he favors taxing consumption over taxing productivity.

Senate Resolution 415 must pass the House before being presented to voters for a statewide ballot referendum.


School shooting trial begins

JACKSBORO, Tenn. — Opening statements have begun in the murder trial of a former Campbell County High School student who is accused of fatally shooting an assistant principal.

Police say Kenneth Bartley was 14 years old when he gunned down vice principal Ken Bruce and wounded two assistant principals in November 2005. Bartley now is 22.

Jurors chosen from Hamilton County because of publicity surrounding the case will be sequestered in Campbell County throughout the trial.

Bartley faces seven charges, including first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and bringing a gun to school grounds.

WBIR reports that in opening remarks prosecutors told the jury that Bartley brought a loaded gun and 10 Xanax pills to school the day of the shooting. The student, the prosecutor said, opened fire on the three administrators when they confronted him in the principal's office about the gun.

But the defense countered by telling the jury the crime was not premeditated. Bartley's attorney said he only brought the gun to school so he could trade it for drugs. The defense maintained that he never planned to shoot anyone.

More than 20 witnesses are expected to testify.


Lee University has two operas on tap

CLEVELAND, Tenn. The Lee University Opera Theatre will present "The Telephone" by Gian Carlo Menotti and "The Child and the Spells" by Maurice Ravel for three performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Dixon Center.

A news release said "The Telephone" is a comic opera first presented in 1947, lighthearted and entertaining. "The Child and the Spells" is part ballet, part pantomime and part opera, the release stated.

The director is James Frost, assistant professor of music at Lee since 2007. Both operas will be performed in English.

Buy or reserve tickets at the Dixon Center Box Office by calling 423-614-8343. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and $3 for students. Seating is limited.

about Judy Walton...

Judy Walton has worked 25 years at the Chattanooga Times and the Times Free Press as an editor and reporter focusing on government coverage and investigations. At various times she has been an assistant metro editor, region reporter and editor, county government reporter, government-beat team leader, features editor and page designer. Originally from California, Walton was brought up in a military family and attended a dozen schools across the country. She earned a journalism degree ...

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