State lawmakers approve proposal to cap the state’s income tax

A constitutional amendment that would prohibit any increase in the state’s 6 percent income tax narrowly won approval Tuesday in the state House.

The measure, which was amended in committee, now must go back to the Senate.

If it wins approval in the Senate, it could go on the ballot in November, giving Republicans an enticement to draw more voters to the polls.

Senate Resolution 415 was approved by a 120-54 vote, earning the needed two-thirds support after House Speaker David Ralston backed it.

Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer sponsored the amendment, which also had the backing of state Rep. Ed Lindsey, an Atlanta Republican running for an open congressional seat.

It was seen as a long shot given the state’s slow recovery from the recession, but many lawmakers saw it as an election-year boon. Democrats warned that it could tie the state’s hands and limit options in case of a financial catastrophe. Even Shafer has said it was partly introduced to “begin a conversation” with little chance of passing.

“Consider the conversation started and ready to go to the next level. The people of Georgia now get to decide,” Lindsey said in an interview. “My hope is that this is the first step to more bills in the future that will gradually reduce the income tax and replace it with a fair tax.”