Georgia State Senators Push for Council to ‘Reform’ the Way State Collects Taxes

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Nearly 40 Georgia state senators from both political parties might change certain aspects of the state’s tax system, and whatever they agree to may force taxpayers to pay more to the state on certain commodities.

Those state senators filed a bill late last week to create a Special Council on Tax Reform and to also create a Special Joint Committee on Georgia Revenue Structure.

Lead sponsor State Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) (pictured right) was unavailable for comment Monday.

State Sen. Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur) (pictured left) told The Georgia Star News that the proposed council would try to find ways to overcome various budget crises of late. He also said Democrats and Republicans may differ on how to reform the state’s tax system.

“We are always looking at the revenue that the state collects and what we spend. Every year, there are always projects in our community and always a need for more revenue to fund essential services. One good example of that is our school system,” Jones said.

“We have put more money back into funding our schools. However, we are still playing catch up because the [COVID-19] pandemic knocked the socks off of us without the addition of funds that we received from the CARES Act.”

According to the language of the bill, Georgia officials have not had a systematic study of the state’s revenue structure for many years. The legislation proposes that members of this proposed council study Georgia’s current revenue structure and report findings and recommendations no later than January of next year.

Jones said he wants members of this proposed council to study the sin taxes that state officials charge for products such as alcohol and tobacco.

“Georgia is one the states that has the lowest rates of taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products and alcohol in the country,” Jones said.

“It would make sense to raise our fees on cigarettes under these sin taxes, which would discourage people from partaking, particularly young people, but, at the same time, we could raise additional revenues for the state.”

Jones also said that state officials compete with other states to attract new residents and new corporations.

“But, at the same time, there is a lot of money we give away. For some it has always been an issue of concern looking at the tax breaks to the film industry and to make sure we are receiving the tax benefit from those breaks that we give,” Jones said.

“That is something I would think every Georgian would want us to look at, every single year, to make sure those incentives we put out there are bringing the desired results.”

As The Star News reported Monday, Georgia State Rep. David Clark (R-Buford) has introduced a bill that, if enacted into law, would repeal the state’s film, gaming, video, and digital production income tax credits.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Georgia Capitol” by DXR CC4.0

 

 

 

 

 

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