Georgia tax breaks: Costly giveaways or economic development?

Georgia lawmakers have approved hundreds of millions of dollars in special tax breaks over the past decade, and a new Senate committee has begun trying to answer a fundamental question about them.

Are the tax breaks merely costly giveaways to businesses and industries that hire smart and successful lobbyists, or are they creating jobs, improving the economy, schools, and other areas of Georgia society?

The committee began its work this week, and its chairman, state Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, warned that it may take a few years to evaluate the dozens of tax breaks lawmakers have approved.

Special-interest tax breaks are an annual part of General Assembly sessions and have been for decades. They usually gain approval on the final day of each session, when lawmakers take more than 100 votes over the period of about 14 hours.

For more on the special-interest tax breaks, and the attempt to see if they are worth the money, check out our story on