Georgians get lower taxes, raises and construction boom from 2024 Legislature

Election year always the right time for tax cuts

Concerns that the national economy might slow and stagnant revenue collections didn’t stop lawmakers this session from finding ways to help Georgians save on their taxes, boost salaries of government workers and create jobs through massive infrastructure spending.

The state entered the session sitting on $16 billion in “rainy day” and undesignated reserves after three years of massive surpluses, and Gov. Brian Kemp and lawmakers were ready to put some of that to use. The fact that every lawmaker has to face voters in November’s elections made doing so doubly attractive.

Here’s how Georgians fared financially — provided Kemp signs the measures into law:

  • They’ll pay a lower rate on their earnings in state income taxes. The income tax rate fell from 5.75% to 5.49% on Jan. 1, and legislators cut it again to 5.39%. Rates are scheduled to continue dropping over the next few years. Lawmakers also increased the standard income tax exemption on dependents from $3,000 to $4,000.

The moves are expected to save taxpayers $500 million next year. Kemp said the income tax rate cut alone will save Georgians $3 billion over 10 years.

  • They’ll pay less in corporate income taxes if they own a business. Lawmakers also reduced that rate to 5.39%, saving about $150 million a year.
  • They’ll get a break on property taxes that have soared, particularly in metro Atlanta, because home assessments have skyrocketed. Lawmakers voted late Thursday to cap increases on assessments at the rate of inflation — if inflation is 2% to 3%, that’s as high as they could rise. Legislators also passed a higher homestead exemption that could help homeowners in some counties and approved a potential 1-cent sales tax that could be used exclusively to lower property taxes.

Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome, said, “As written, this will be the largest property tax cut in (Georgia) history.”

Georgia Teacher of the Year Christy Todd is among the 300,000 education workers and state employees who are set to get raises ranging from $2,500 to $6,000, provided Gov. Brian Kemp signs the state's fiscal 2025 budget.

Credit: Courtesy photo

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Credit: Courtesy photo

  • They’ll see more money in their paychecks, starting July 1, if they are among Georgia’s 300,000 teachers, education workers and state employees. They are due raises of $2,500 to $6,000, depending on what they do. The biggest beneficiaries include state law enforcement and child welfare workers.
  • They’ll land more jobs if they work in construction. The midyear state budget, which has already been signed into law, calls for $5 billion worth of infrastructure projects, including record road construction and spending for things such as a new medical school at the University of Georgia, a dental school at Georgia Southern University and a remade Capitol Hill. That ensures the building business will keep booming in the state.
  • They’ll have less to worry about if they labor in the film industry. Lawmakers made yet another run at capping the amount of money the state spends on tax credits to attract film and TV production to Georgia, but a strong lobbying campaign killed the effort on the final day of the session.