Georgia income, sales tax collections slow in January

Georgia's Capitol.

Credit: Staff

Credit: Staff

Georgia's Capitol.

Georgia’s tax take was up 2.1% in January over last year as state lawmakers continued work on a growing state budget.

For the first seven months of the fiscal year, which began July 1, collections are up 1.7%, or $316 million, over the same months in fiscal 2023.

However, the gains are inflated by the fact that the state was collecting fuel taxes for much of fiscal 2024, which it wasn’t for comparable months in 2023. Without that, revenue collections would be down 2.7%.

Collections were slow for most of 2023 after three years of skyrocketing growth fed a growing state budget.

That matters because the money the state collects in taxes helps pay for K-12 schools, colleges, public health care, prisons, policing, business regulation, roads and a host of other services.

In January, individual income and sales tax collections were essentially stagnant when compared with January 2023. The two taxes provide more than half of all state revenue. Corporate income tax collections were way down.

Gov. Brian Kemp warned lawmakers at the end of the 2023 legislative session about a likely downturn in the economy, and his economist projected a slowdown in 2024. The governor’s budget projections call for slow revenue collections for the next 18 months.

Still, Kemp called for more than $5 billion in new spending in the second half of fiscal 2024, and the Georgia House has already approved a budget with most of his priorities.

They were able to do so because the state has $16 billion in “rainy day” and undesignated reserves due to the money taken in during the post-COVID-19 shutdown recovery and conservative budgeting.

In October, the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the state had a $5.3 billion surplus in the fiscal year that ended June 30 — the third consecutive massive annual surplus in a row.

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