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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