A tax-reform package that will have long-ranging — and uncertain — effects on Georgia is heading to Gov. Nathan Deal's desk after unanimous approval yesterday by the state Senate.
The legislation, provisions of which were plucked from a much more ambitious proposal crafterd last year by a special committee of business leaders, adds and eliminates a vast array of tax changes. Among them: the elimination of the ad valorem tax on automobiles purchased after 2013 and sales taxes on energy used in manufacturing, the addition of sales taxes on online purchases, and added income tax perks for married couples. Auto dealers, the agriculture industry, and manufacturers should be handing their lobbyists a fat Christmas bonus this year.
Alan Essig of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, the progressive think tank which for years has warned state lawmakers about the state's uneven tax code, called the legislation a "prudent package." But he stopped short of glowing praise. (The institute also conducted an analysis of the bill which is worth a read.)
"It must be viewed as merely a small step forward for tax reform in Georgia, rather than the end of the process," Essig said in a statement. "To provide Georgians with a modern tax system capable of funding the state's ever-growing needs, lawmakers must address the issue. The work is not done and requires the leadership and political will to pass comprehensive reform."
The bill's financial impacts are still murky, especially when it comes to local governments. State Sen. Bill Heath, R-Bremen, told the AJC it'd save $262 million in state and local taxes, but just who really sees the perks of those savings remains to be seen. Some lawmakers declined to go on the record with the paper to admit that some provisions of the bill would actually increase the state's revenue after three years.
Finally - common ground!
"Seventy rounds fired? I'm surprised that Ghetto Gobins can even perform a magazine change." _____________________________________________________________…
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