Power Breakfast: Businesses want to keep state tax breaks, gas marketing, Blue Cross, Ga. fields, Facebook

State tax exemptions go to a surprising stew of businesses, which do not want to lose them, AJC staffer Margaret Newkirk reports.

Some are sending letters to the special council charged with finding ways to update and streamline Georgia’s tax code, Newkirk writes. The council is expected to make recommendations to state lawmakers next week.

The letters exemplify some of the barriers the council faces as it searches for ways to broaden the state’s tax base and make the code more simple and fair, Newkirk reports.

Eight years ago, for example, farmers from Alabama were big players in Atlanta’s lively sod market, which flourished during the region’s decades-long housing boom. That’s not true today, after the state exempted sod from state sales tax, as Alabama had already done, Newkirk reports.

The number of Alabama farmers shipping grass here dropped and the number of Georgia sod farmers grew, according the president of a sod company near Newnan. “Please do not recommend reinstatement of taxes that will impact our industry’s ability to compete,” wrote NG Turf’s Aaron McWhorter in a letter to the state’s Council on Tax Reform and Fairness.

The sod exemption is one of dozens of special tax breaks for businesses, all of which deny money to state coffers and — at least according to critics — increase the tax burden on everyone else, Newkirk writes. Businesses counter that the breaks help them create jobs and feed state tax revenues in other ways.

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- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

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2 comments Add your comment


December 6th, 2010
7:43 am

Yeah, well ALL gas marketers are just middlemen, that the PSC (with voter confidence) of the day allowed to be inserted for profit…theirs and their connected family & friends.

Remember the old Atlanta Gas Light and how cheap it was compared to practically all other states? Then, WE the voters allowed for these “marketers” to be inserted, under the guise of “it’s for the consumers good”. Yeah, right…consumer prices headed north immediately, and good old boy’s connected to the corrupt government have been making money for nothing ever since.


December 6th, 2010
7:49 am

I would tend to agree with the businesses. Just tax the individuals that have to pay the taxes anyway through higher prices. Businesses don’t pay taxes, they collect them and pass them on to the governments. Also tax the out of state visitors more, especially those passing through this large state headed to Florida.