State tax collections up again in September

Georgia’s tax revenue shot up more than 8 percent in September, an increase that gives lawmakers more breathing room next year in hashing out the state budget.

Gov. Nathan Deal's office said Tuesday that tax collections in September increased by $132 million compared to September 2012. Net tax revenue collections in the first nine months of the year increased almost $250 million, or 5.8 percent, compared to the same point last year.

Both individual and corporate income tax revenue rose. Fuel taxes gained more than 13 percent in September, an indication that residents are driving more. Alcohol tax receipts soared by 31 percent last month.

The biggest jump came from the state's new motor vehicle tax plan. Lawmakers last year voted to end sales taxes on car purchases, starting March 1, and replace the levy with a title fee.

The change helped push down sales tax revenue by 8 percent, but more than tripled revenue from car tags, titles and fees from the same period last year.

The overall rise in revenue spells more positive news for the state's financial health, which is in solid enough shape that state agencies weren't instructed to plan for spending cuts for the first time in years.

In a statement, Deal said the revenue growth and other economic indicators “proves our state economy is rebounding strongly.”