State of Georgia tax take rises again as economy improves

State revenue collections were up 7.4 percent in April over the same month last year, with much of the gain again coming from new hotel and gas taxes lawmakers approved during the 2015 General Assembly session.

For the fiscal year that ends June 30, the state tax take is up 9.9 percent, or $1.56 billion, according to figures released by Gov. Nathan Deal’s office on Friday.

About $640 million of that came from the new hotel and higher gas taxes that lawmakers approved last year.

However, income tax collections, the most important supplier of revenue for the state, are also up 8.8 percent for first 10 months of the fiscal year. Gross sales tax collections have risen a more modest 1.4 percent.

Deal just signed a record $23.7 billion state budget for the upcoming year on Monday, with much of the new money going to employee raises and road, bridge and school construction projects.

The state budget helps fund the education of more than 2 million students and provides health and nursing care for about 2 million Georgians. The state funds road improvements and prisons, economic development initiatives and cancer research, business and environmental regulation, parks and water projects. It creates thousands of private-sector jobs through construction projects.

Revenue surpluses this year would help the governor make progress toward his goal of building state reserves to $2 billion by the time he leaves office in January 2019. State revenue shortfall reserves stood at $1.4 billion on July 1, 2015.

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