Thursday was tax rebate day at the state Capitol, compliments of last year’s massive revenue surplus.
The Georgia House voted 170-2 to approve a $1 billion income tax rebate, similar to the one the state sent out last year.
And on a 54-1 vote, the Georgia Senate backed the mid-year state budget, which includes a $1 billion property tax rebate.
Both rebates were proposed by Gov. Brian Kemp last year when he was running for re-election. He announced his plan once it was clear the state was running a massive surplus in tax collections.
After all the bills were paid and agencies returned leftover funds, the state’s surplus for fiscal 2022, which ended June 30, was a record $6.6 billion.
Under House Bill 162 - the income tax rebate legislation - single-filing Georgians would get $250 rebates and couples filing jointly $500.
People who didn’t owe state income taxes — such as seniors living on pensions and/or Social Security — won’t’ receive the rebates.
The Internal Revenue Service said earlier this month that filers who itemize their deductions when they file their taxes will have to pay federal taxes on the rebate. Most filers use the standard deduction and don’t itemize.
Rep. Lauren McDonald, R-Cumming, one of Kemp’s House floor leaders, said, “I feel like it’s our responsibility to give the money back to the taxpayers of the state.”
The bill is expected to quickly pass the Senate in coming weeks.
The Senate, meanwhile, passed its version of the $32.5 billion midyear budget, which runs through June 30.
Senators will now negotiate a final deal with the House, which passed its version of the budget a few weeks ago.
If given final approval, homeowners would receive an extra one-time exemption on the value of their homes at tax time, a move that Kemp said last month would save those Georgians, on average, about $500.
The Senate version of the midyear budget also includes $50,000 safety grants for each school, money to help students who may have fallen behind academically during the COVID-19 pandemic, and more money in dozens of other areas, such as health care, rural workforce housing development, prisons and public safety.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia, said the Senate version of the midyear budget met or exceeded more than 90% of Kemp’s spending proposals.
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com