Georgia tax collections off 10.1% in May, second consecutive decline

March12, 2020 Atlanta - Gov. Brian Kemp speaks as other officials standing behind during a press conference to provide an update on the state's efforts regarding COVID-19, after reporting the first death in Georgia related to coronavirus, at the Georgia State Capitol on Thursday, March 11, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
March12, 2020 Atlanta - Gov. Brian Kemp speaks as other officials standing behind during a press conference to provide an update on the state's efforts regarding COVID-19, after reporting the first death in Georgia related to coronavirus, at the Georgia State Capitol on Thursday, March 11, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Gov. Brian Kemp announced Monday that tax collections were down 10.1% in May, the second consecutive month of major decline due to the coronavirus recession.

The May figures include sales tax data from April, when much of the state was shut down in hopes of slowing the spread of the virus.

Income tax collections were off 3.4% from May 2019, while net sales taxes were down 11.5 %

Hotel taxes were off 64.4% as the industry continued to struggle during the pandemic. Motor fuels taxes were down 25.7% as traffic remained down.

Alcohol sales tax collections remained strong with a 12.3% improvement over May 2019.

Overall collections were down $178 million from May 2019 and through 11 months of the fiscal year, collections are down 4%, or more than $850 million.

The fiscal year ends June 30 and the shortfall will be made up largely with state reserves.

Georgia House Ways & Means Chairman Brett Harrell, R-Snellville,said the latest numbers were “not as bad as some were expecting.

“We still don’t know the full impact,” he said. “The impact on some industries has been devastating, for others, they are having their best sales in history.

“I am still not one to say the sky is falling.”

The announcement comes as the General Assembly is prepared to restart the 2020 session, which was suspended in mid-March because of the pandemic.

Lawmakers must pass a budget for fiscal 2021, which begins July 1. They are expected to cut spending $2.6 billion because of the slowdown in tax collections brought on by the recession, which has caused record unemployment in Georgia.