Strong May continues to boost Georgia revenue

Georgia tax collections remained strong in May and provided the possibility of double-digit growth for the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

About 40 percent of the growth this year is due to new gas and hotel taxes that lawmakers approved in 2015 to raise money for transportation projects.

But May figures also showed continued increases in income and sales taxes, the two biggest providers of revenue for the state to pay for schools, public health care, law enforcement and other state services.

Income tax collections were up 4.8 percent and the net sales tax take was up 4.5 percent over May 2015.

Total revenue collections were up 9.2 percent in May, slightly below the average of 9.9 percent for the first 11 months of the fiscal year.

Legislators approved new gas and hotel taxes during the 2015 session in hopes of raising $900 million or so for road and bridge projects.

Through the end of May, revenue collections were up about $1 billion, excluding the new gas and hotel taxes.

That should give Gov. Nathan Deal extra money to put into state reserves, one of his top priorities. During the Great Recession, state reserves were almost emptied, and Deal has set a goal of leaving office in 2019 with $2 billion in the state’s “rainy day” account.