Georgia tax collections up slightly in November, continue slowing trend

State revenue collections were up 1.5% in November, continuing a trend throughout much of 2023 of tax collections slowing after three years of huge surpluses.

Collections are up 3.3% — or $412 million — for the first five months of the fiscal year over the same period in 2022, but they’d be down had the state not been collecting gas taxes in July, August and part of September. The state suspended the fuel tax for those months in 2022.

Gov. Brian Kemp recently ended another, shorter fuel tax suspension.

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. The state now has a record $16 billion in its rainy day and “undesignated” reserve funds.

In most recent months, however, adjusted state revenue collections have been below what they were in the same months of 2022.

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.

Individual income tax collections were up slightly in November, and gross sales tax collections were up about 1.7%.

The governor warned state lawmakers earlier this year that the U.S. economy could be wobbly heading into the fall, and he cut some of the money they budgeted for this fiscal year.

But Kemp also told state agencies in August that they could request up to 3% worth of enhancements to their budgets in the coming year, a break from the past, when governors were reluctant to suggest spending boosts.

And this week Kemp announced he’d push legislation during the upcoming 2024 General Assembly session to speed up cuts in state income tax rates.