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ASK THE EXPERTS

Last chance for Georgia

POSTED: March 30, 2011 4:00 a.m.

The Georgia Legislative session will end soon, but it may not be too late for the residents of Georgia if they make some changes quickly.

 

But if the Senate passes three tax bills already passed by the House in the remaining days, state revenues will go down by $46.5 million in FY 2012.

 

Georgia also faces $500 million more in cuts to services on top of the $2.5 billion in cuts from recent years.

 

The House did not move on the tax reforms recommended by the Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians.

 

But because these recommendations are not subject to the 30th day requirement there may still be time to reform Georgia’s outdated tax system.

 

The special councils recommendations unfairly target low and middle income Georgians. Data shows that a family making $40,000 would pay $400 more in taxes each year, while a family making $350,000 would pay $7,500 less in taxes each year.  The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, a non-partisan organization which studies Georgia Policy and taxation has recommended the following changes which would shift the tax burden up the income ladder:

 

• Maintain the sales tax exemption on groceries rather than eliminating the exemption as the council recommends;

 

• Reduce the top income tax rate from the current 6 percent to a flat 4.5 percent rate rather than the 4 percent recommended by the council;

 

• Re-craft the proposed personal income tax credit to give more protection to seniors and working families.

 

• Instate a sales tax on services.

 

Please contact your state senator and representative. We need to restructure the tax code in Georgia so that we can maintain the services needed. Our children will suffer in the future if we continue to cut education and health services for them. We will pay more trying to catch up from these drastic cuts than if we paid now.

 

Bette Holland

Dawsonville

 

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