Georgia’s state Capitol in Atlanta. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL

Georgia tax collections slow again in June

The state of Georgia’s tax collections nudged upward in June, marking the fourth consecutive month of fairly slow growth after a robust start to 2018.

Overall collections were up 1 percent in June over June 2017, with income tax collections down for the month.

Income taxes are the largest source of revenue for the state, which uses its $26.2 billion budget to help fund schools and public health care for millions of Georgians, to build roads and provide public safety.

On the plus side in June, collections for the second-largest source of revenue, sales taxes, were up 5 percent.

Overall, for the fiscal year that ended June 30, collections for the state were up 4.4 percent, or $961 million.

That’s more than enough to fund the budget and leave some money left to roll over into the state’s savings account.

When he retires in January, Gov. Nathan Deal hopes to leave his successor a $2.5 billion reserve.

Revenue is also expected to pick up in the new fiscal year as the state feels the impact of federal tax changes and, starting Jan. 1, can start collecting taxes on internet sales, thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision.

Tax collections have been slow since February, but a strong first eight months of fiscal 2018 provided a financial cushion for officials monitoring the state budget.

Deal’s budget director, Teresa MacCartney, said the state will need about a 4.1 percent increase in collections in fiscal 2019, which began July 1, to meet its budget.

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