Georgia tax collections grow ahead of 2016 legislative session

Strong income tax collections boosted overall state revenue in November, good fiscal news for the General Assembly as it prepares for its 2016 legislative session.

Gov. Nathan Deal announced Monday that collections were up 12.8 percent over November 2014. The overall numbers were somewhat skewed because lawmakers passed a major gas tax increase during the 2015 session, but subtracting money raised from that, collections were still up 7.5 percent.

For the fiscal year, which began July 1, the tax take is up 9.1 percent, or about $700 million. About 40 percent of that has come from the higher fuel taxes and a new hotel/motel fee tacked onto the transportation bill.

The news was somewhat mixed in November. Income tax collections were up 11.2 percent in November, but the net sales tax take was off 1.3 percent. That trend has continued much of the fiscal year: income taxes are up, taxes based on sales have moved little.

Nonetheless, the overall numbers are an improvement over last month, and will give lawmakers some optimism as they head into the session, which begins Jan. 11.

State tax collections form the foundation for the state’s $22 billion state budget, which pays for schools, public health care, transportation projects and a whole host of other programs.

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