Across Georgia

Sales tax numbers improve in July


ATLANTA — Georgia collected 7.4 percent more in taxes during July than it had the same month a year ago, Gov. Nathan Deal announced Thursday.

After refunds, the increase was 3.1 percent.

Collections increased significantly for sales, individual and corporate income taxes. Similar declines appeared in fuel, car tags and tobacco taxes.

Life, no parole in killing of deputy

JONESBORO, GA. — A Clayton County judge sentenced a man to life in prison without the possibility of parole Thursday for gunning down a sheriff’s deputy south of Atlanta.

Jonathan Bun, who was 17 at the time of the slaying, was given the maximum sentence possible with an additional 70 years for the killing of 55-year-old Deputy Richard “Rick” Daly after a traffic stop on July 20, 2011.

Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson said if the capital punishment was not banned for offenders under 18, it would have been sought.

A recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court prohibited mandatory life-without-parole sentencing for murder convicts younger than 18.

Tybee considers tax for beach care

TYBEE ISLAND, GA. — Officials on Tybee Island are exploring the idea of using a bed tax from hotels and motels to pay for adding sand to its beach.

The beach renourishment project involves pumping sand off the ocean floor just offshore and onto the beach.

Changes in Georgia law regarding the use of hotel/motel taxes for tourism-related activities might help the beach’s condition, officials said.

Representatives of the Tybee Island Beach Task Force on Wednesday raised the idea of a 2 percent increase in the lodging tax – with the revenues designated specifically for beach renourishment – with the Tybee Island Tourism Council.

Tybee is due for its next renourishment in late 2014 or 2015.

Olens to speak at GOP convention

ATLANTA — Georgia’s attorney general will address participants at the upcoming Republican National Convention.

Sam Olens was among the few high-profile political figures in the state to endorse Mitt Romney in the presidential primary, when many other Republicans lined up behind former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

A list of speakers was announced Wednesday. So far, Olens is the only Georgian scheduled to speak at the convention. It’s scheduled for Aug. 27-30 in Tampa, Fla.