ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp vetoed a dozen bills Tuesday that the General Assembly passed this year, including legislation that would have temporarily suspended a state sales tax exemption aimed at attracting data centers to Georgia.

Republican legislative leaders supported House Bill 1192, arguing the rapid growth of data centers is putting a strain on the state’s energy grid. But business leaders – notably the Georgia Chamber of Commerce – urged Kemp to veto the bill.

In his veto message, the governor wrote that the timing of the measure would have left companies planning to set up data centers in Georgia in the lurch.

“Only two years ago, the legislature extended these tax exemptions for an additional three years, through 2031,” Kemp wrote.

“The bill’s language would prevent the issuance of exemption certificates after an abrupt July 1, 2024, deadline for many customers of projects that are already in development – undermining the investments made by high-technology data center operators, customers, and other stakeholders in reliance on the recent extension, and inhibiting important infrastructure and job development.”

Representatives of the data center industry also maintained that cutting off the tax break would send the wrong message to corporate prospects, making them likely to take their business to states that offer the sales tax exemption.

Other bills Kemp vetoed on Tuesday include House Bill 1019, which called for doubling the statewide homestead tax exemption from $2,000 to $4,000, subject to a referendum.

The legislation was part of a tax-cut package introduced by House Republican leaders early in this year’s session. In vetoing the bill, Kemp pointed to a major 11th-hour change that he argued made the measure untenable.

“After the Senate Finance Committee changed the exemption amount, the Senate adopted a floor amendment late on the final day of the legislative session to return the bill to its original form,” the governor wrote.

“This amendment, however, did not change the language of the constitutionally required voter referendum, which references a $10,000 exemption. Voters would therefore be approving a different exemption which the legislature did not pass, while the statutory language would never receive the voter approval needed for it to take effect.”

Kemp also vetoed Senate Bill 368, which would have prohibited foreign nationals from making political contributions. In his veto message, the governor noted that such contributions already are prohibited under federal law.

In addition, the measure would have imposed additional state-level requirements on “agents of foreign principals,” including some that were not intended by the bill’s sponsor, Kemp wrote.