Georgia House OK's bills to pursue tax deadbeats

ATLANTA, GA (AP) - The House has voted to give state revenue officials more muscle to collect overdue taxes.

Georgia is facing a huge budget shortfall and supporters say a pair of bills that cleared the House on Tuesday could bring in millions of dollars.

One bill would streamline the process the state uses to garnish wages from residents who owe taxes. Officials estimate there are about 20,000 delinquent taxpayers eligible to have their wages garnished.

Another would give eight state Department of Revenue agents law enforcement powers to obtain subpoenas and collect late taxes.

Both bills were sponsored by state Rep. Larry O'Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Each passed narrowly with opponents fretting that the state was infringing on residents' rights.

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