Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Tax Dodging Georgia Legislators Investigated

While no one involved will identify the lawmakers being investigated, two state lawmakers are having their wages garnisheed for failing to pay taxes: state Reps. Al Williams (D-Midway) and Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam (D-Riverdale). A third, state Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Ellenwood) appeared on a list of delinquent tax filers kept by the Department of Revenue, although Fort said his situation has been resolved since the list was published. Revenue officials were not available Monday to confirm that.

Under a new state law, the state revenue commissioner must report to the House and Senate ethics committees the names of any lawmaker who has not filed or paid state income taxes. That report is made only after each lawmaker is notified and given 30 days to correct the situation. Any member of the House and Senate still in arrears after 30 days gets investigated by his or her colleagues.

That 30-day grace period has expired and at least one senator and two representatives are being investigated, the chairmen of the ethics committees told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The newspaper requested a copy of the Department of Revenue’s report through the state’s Open Records Act, but the agency refused to release even a redacted version.