The Georgia Senate met for three legislative days during our eighth week under the Gold Dome with Crossover Day falling on Wednesday. After it was all said and done on Thursday afternoon, the Senate debated and voted on 72 pieces of legislation. Each of these address a variety of issues such as health care, transit, broadband expansion, higher education and election procedures.
The most significant piece of legislation passed was House Bill 918 on Thursday, March 1. This day is a historic day because party lines were put aside and the people of Georgia were put first. We were able to come together to pass the first individual income tax cut since 1937 and the first corporate income tax cut since 1969.
House Bill 918 would put Georgia’s “Internal Revenue Code” in compliance with changes made on the federal level with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that President Trump worked hard to implement. Under HB 918, a five year plan is presented that would lower personal and corporate top income tax rates. The income tax rate would be reduced from 6 percent to 5.75 percent in 2019 and would be further reduced to 5.5 percent in 2020, if approved by the General Assembly after a thorough review of the state’s economic outlook.
Additionally, this legislation would double the standard deduction for filers. For example, a single person filing would see their deduction increase from $2,300 to $4,600 and a head of household and married person filing a joint return from $3,000 to $6,000.
Over the next five years, it is projected that these decreases to the income tax rate will save the citizens of Georgia around $5 billion. By passing this legislation and Governor Deal signing it into law, we will be helping all Georgians, with a focus on lower and middle class families, put money back in their pockets. A middle-class family of four with a household income of $50,000 will see a 16 percent tax decrease. Families of four with a household income of $75,000 will see a 12.5 percent decrease and a household of four making $150,000 would see a 10 percent income tax decrease.
Eight years ago, I took the oath of office at the same time as Governor Nathan Deal, and since then we have worked collectively to perfect legislation that would provide tax relief that benefits all Georgians. I want to commend Governor Deal, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, House Speaker Ralston, my colleagues in the Senate and our friends in the House for their hard work and tireless efforts to get this historic legislation passed. I am proud that we could put parties aside and do what is best for the people of this great state. After all, they elected us and trust in us to use their taxpayer dollars in a fiscally conservative manner.
I believe this legislation helps us do just that, it brings back money to where it belongs – with the taxpayers of Georgia. HB 918 received approval from the House on Thursday and was signed by the Governor into law on Friday.
This legislation is a significant tax reform package so please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. My office is always open and we are here to help with any questions you may have about this legislation or any legislation crossing over to our chamber over the next few weeks.
Sen. Steve Gooch serves as the Senate Majority Whip. He represents the 51st Senate District which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Union and White counties and portions of Forsyth and Pickens counties. He may be reached at (404)656-9221 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.