House Ways & Means Chairman Jay Powell, R - Camilla, successfully pushed legislation to lower the top state income tax rate. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Georgia House backs lowering top state income tax rate

The Georgia House overwhelmingly passed a measure Wednesday to cut the state’s top income tax rate.

The House voted 126-40 for House Bill 329, which would make Georgians pay a 5.4 percent state income tax. Currently the state has a graduated income tax system, with rates starting at 1 percent and rising to 6 percent as the amount of taxable income grows.

The bill would also create an earned income tax credit for low-income Georgians to make up for them paying higher rates, and it would eliminate a provision in state law that allows Georgians who itemize their deductions when they fill out their tax returns to write off their state income tax payments.

One report said it would save Georgians about $154 million a year, with three-quarters of that savings going to those earning more than $97,000 a year.

It said under the bill, some single low-income Georgians would wind up paying higher income taxes, while low-in-come families would wind up paying less.

The state’s calculations put the savings at a much more modest $78 million over four years.

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