Georgia House backs $1.6 billion income tax refund

Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan to refund $1.6 billion of surplus state funds to Georgians when they file their taxes this year won the backing of the House on Tuesday.

Aided by a flood of federal COVID-19 relief money, the state’s economy had a strong recovery last year from a brief pandemic recession in 2020.

The state ended fiscal 2021 with a $3.7 billion surplus, and part of the leftover money went into the government’s savings account. But Kemp, who is up for reelection this year, also promised to return some of the surplus to taxpayers.

House and Senate leaders have already included the $1.6 billion for the refund in their midyear budgets.

Under House Bill 1302, which passed 148-18, single Georgians would be able to receive a $250 refund when they file their taxes, joint filers $500.

“House Bill 1302 is a fulfillment of our belief that when government takes in more money than it needs, surplus funds should be sent back to taxpayers,” said Rep. Josh Bonner, R-Peachtree City, one of Kemp’s floor leaders and sponsor of the bill. “Ultimately, it is our citizens, not our government, who move our state forward and know best how to spend their hard-earned money.”