As Ga. revenues rebound, will lawmakers opt for tax cuts or spending?

 Georgia Capitol
Georgia Capitol (WRDW)
Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 4:09 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2021 at 7:18 AM EDT
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ATLANTA - Georgia’s state tax receipts jumped by more than $3 billion in the budget year that ended June 30.

The big increase in revenue could set up an election-year session where lawmakers will have many options for new spending or tax cuts. Georgia collected $26.9 billion in revenue, up 13.5% from 2020.

The latest figures

Georgia’s June net tax collections totaled $2.5 billion for an increase of $563.1 million, or 29.1 percent, compared to June 2020, when net tax collections totaled nearly $1.94 billion as of June 30, 2020.

For the year that ended June 30, net tax collections totaled almost $26.90 billion for an increase approaching $3.2 billion, or 13.5 percent, compared to Fiscal Year 2020, when the final net tax revenues totaled $23.7 billion.

“Thanks to our work alongside the General Assembly to budget conservatively and protect both lives and livelihoods throughout a global pandemic, Georgia remains on solid financial footing,” said Gov. Brian Kemp said.

Here’s a breakdown of tax categories:

  • Net individual income tax collections for June totaled roughly $1.30 billion, for an increase of $256.8 million, or 24.7 percent, compared to Fiscal Year 2020.
  • Gross sales and use tax collections increased by roughly $248.9 million, or 23.9 percent, to a total of almost $1.29 billion in Fiscal Year 2021.
  • Net corporate income tax collections for the month totaled $325.8 million, which was an increase of $227.5 million, or 231.6 percent, over last year.
  • Motor fuel tax collections were down $82.8 million, or 59.2 percent, compared to last year when motor fuel tax collections totaled nearly $140 million. The reduction was the result of a supply crunch caused by the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack.
  • Motor vehicle tag and title fees increased by $1.4 million, or 4.6 percent, in June, while title ad valorem tax collections increased by roughly $24.6 million, or 56.3 percent, over Fiscal Year 2020.

What’s ahead?

Lawmakers had cut spending sharply before the 2021 budget year began, fearing revenue would plunge because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But it’s been clear for months that tax receipts were soaring instead.

The state’s $2.7 billion rainy fund is likely to rise nearer to its limit of $4 billion. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Blake Tillery says he’s “still extremely concerned” that revenue may slacken as federal aid runs out.

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