Should special business tax breaks be eliminated?

Cut the other guy’s tax break, not mine.

That seems to be what many state businesses are saying as they position themselves to defend their existing tax exemptions.

Some businesses are sending letters to the special council charged with finding ways to update and streamline Georgia’s tax code, AJC reporter Margaret Newkirk writes.

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. Special tax breaks for businesses increase the tax burden on everyone else, critics say. Businesses counter that the breaks help them create jobs and feed state tax revenues in other ways.

There’s a tax break, for example, on sales of sugar fed to honeybees and on crab bait sold to commercial fisherman, Newkirk reports.

No business wants to lose its tax break, and some want new sales tax breaks added to the 13-page list of current ones, Newkirk writes.

Think this is par for the course?

Will we ever get a handle on either the state budget crunch or the federal debt? If so, how? And in what century?

Is “sacrifice” a word that just applies to others?

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

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20 comments Add your comment

Tax Cut

December 6th, 2010
9:00 am

Rich businesses owners shouldn’t be special tax credits that regular people don’t get. Everyone should pay the same rate on all income—no more perks for rich people.

Realist

December 6th, 2010
9:21 am

Businesses do not pay taxes. Only individuals pay taxes. In the case of every business, the one’s paying the taxes are the consumers. Every tax is just the theft of money on behalf of bloated state government.

No, there should not be special tax breaks. There should be NO business taxes whatsoever in GA. The state government budget should be slashed to the bone, all taxes both income and business should be eliminated and we should all sit back and watch GA become the beacon of prosperity and business that these measures would guarantee.

As for all the “services” that government so poorly “provides?” Open all current government monopoly services up to the private competitive free market. No special favors, no special perks. Just let the marketplace of individuals decide what they need to have and who will provide it.

The fastest way to kill a business is to force it to be an even bigger collector of taxes for the government. And that is all that is really happening.

Greg

December 6th, 2010
9:33 am

Realist..

Yeah…sure.. Open everything to free market. That’s always the way to go.

Look I am for people starting up businesses. My father owned several for many years before he retired.

The problem…free market has become a money rape for many years. The old say..”we set the price at what the market will bear”..nothing more than “if we can steal from you at higher prices..then gosh darn it…thats what we will do”.

The problem I have is that businesses seem to sit around waiting for corporate welfare deals (tax breaks). Its no different then watching able bodied people wait for that monthly check.

The problem: The middle class is stuck between the two paying for fat cats and lazy buns.

I think the answer is fewer tax breaks for corporate america and cutting government waste.

Amercian people are getting the wool pulled over their eyes. In the 70’s, the taxes on rich and wealthy was near or oer 70%. Now the republicans and those that they support are crying about a rate going from 36 to 39 percent.

God help us all…and the middle class hard working Americans who will continue to slide into poorville!

TnGelding

December 6th, 2010
9:42 am

Didn’t we just discuss this below?

We have to remove as many taxes as possible from businesses to become more competeive in the global marketplace. And of course we need to freeze or reduce government spending at all levels.

Read my lips: no new taxes.

Read my epitath: no investment in infrastructure or R & D
We’ve become a second rate country due to visionaries like me

Jeff

December 6th, 2010
9:53 am

It’s time to tax the churches.

Petermac50

December 6th, 2010
9:58 am

Businesses don’t pay taxes. How hard is that for people to understand. Any taxes businesses do pay are of course passed on to the consumer who purchases the products or services of that business. Georgia should become a TAX FREE zone for all business. Can you imagine the boom of new and expanding business in this state if our elected officials decided to encourage business instead of punishing them with taxes and regulations?

Car Freak

December 6th, 2010
9:59 am

I find it disturbing that the car dealers association should push for sales tax on person to person sales. Even more disturbing that some are entertaining this idea. About 20 or so years ago Zell Miller did the same thing and the Courts made Georgia issue refunds on the fiasco because it was a form of double taxation and against the Georgia Constitution. When a dealer takes in a trade they are allowed to issue a sales tax credit for the trade, thus they are required to charge a sales tax when they resale the vehicle. Sales tax credits are not allowed on person to person trades or sales, thus a sale tax can’t be charged either as the sales tax was charge whenever the vehicle was purchased at the retail level from a business entity.

The auto dealers of Georgia have already been enjoying an exemption from inventory or property tax for the last 15 or so years. And Georgia has refuse to make dealers accountable for the outrageous dealer fees charged (most states limit these fees to $199 and make the dealer publish the fees upfront where in Georgia the fee averages almost $700 and is hid in the paperwork of the deal). Since many dealers claim this is a “state fee” and “required by state law” (which is a lie), maybe the state should require the dealers to pay an additional “processing fee”.

Realist

December 6th, 2010
10:18 am

Greg – Corporate welfare has nothing to do with the Free Market. Much like everyone else, you are confusing crony capialism with Free Market capitalism. They are not the same. In a truly free market property rights are repected and enforced by law, companies must compete for the voluntary payment of monies for goods or services and government HAS NO ROLE other than to prosecute force or fraud (and outstanding scholarly studies have been written discussing a full privatization of current government “justice” system mechanisms as well.

I am not naive enough to believe that the current crop of corporate criminals can be turned lose with the current system of wealth transfer to business now in place. I am talking about a system that restores freedom and power to the consumer as opposed to its current power base in the political system.

Baker

December 6th, 2010
10:18 am

Special interest tax breaks should absolutely be done away with, except that some other state won’t do away with theirs and we’re at a competitive disadvantage. To that end, just keep giving exemptions and evetually isn’t everyone exempted and then you just have a tax cut.

Seriously though, these breaks are how politicians wield the sword that is govt influence. Get rid of the exemptions, you clear up a lot of the ethics woes. There would be a lot less to buy them off for.

Patrick

December 6th, 2010
10:29 am

If businesses are just going to pass the taxes onto consumers, why tax them at all? And since churches cannot pass the taxes, we not start taxing them?

robin hood

December 6th, 2010
10:48 am

of course, we can keep giving these tax exemptions to these businesses, and then keep cutting the budget for education. Once the education budget is cut way past the bone, there won’t be any incentives for any new businesses to come to Georgia since our education system is so poor. Then where will these businesses be?

TnGelding

December 6th, 2010
11:02 am

Jeff

December 6th, 2010
9:53 am

And munies!

I don’t think we can be accused of not spending enough on education. Why are we spending hundreds of millions of dollars to bus the chlldren to schools that cost fortunes to operate and maintain when we can bring the best educators in th world into our homes?

Red

December 6th, 2010
11:19 am

I find it odd that conservatives that despise liberals using government to control the economy have no issue with using government to control the economy. They say it is not permissible for liberals to do so but they themselves offer tax breaks to companies thus shifting the tax burden to the individual.

The businesses rebuttal says this helps create jobs. Funny, when liberals say that, conservatives start throwing tantrums and say tax money to individuals or no taxes at all is what spurs economic growth. Conservatives find themselves becoming hypocritical on the argument. In this economy, businesses find themselves protecting the bottom line. Until the individual feels comfortable enough in spending again, any extra money coming into businesses’ hands will just remain there. Common sense tells you that a business will not just start hiring people left and right with this extra money when no one is buying their products. Why hire people if your business is not selling what it makes or does? Are people truly this stupid to think a business would just feel warm and fuzzy and charitable to hire people or build new plants or buildings when their stock on the shelves is not moving?

Rework the tax code. Get rid of these perks. Stop buying trees in central Georgia with my money as well. Cut these breaks and shift the breaks back to my hands. I will help move the stock on the shelves and thus spur movement in the economy that will drive jobs.

E.K.P.

December 6th, 2010
11:19 am

Tax will never be fair unless everyone pays the same rate! Eliminate income tax there is no way it will ever be equitable. Put a sales tax on all transactions (products and services) with the following exceptions; food sold in grocery stores, wholesale clubs, coops, etc. (not deli’s or resturants, medical care (prevenative and corrective) and prescription medications, and the purchase of a personal residence (must be owner occupied 48 weeks each calander year.

Bwana

December 6th, 2010
11:31 am

…but if the businesses doin’t get these tax breaks, they can’t afford to hire anyone new…like that’s what the business owners do with all that money they are saving. They get a bigger car, or truck, or plane or boat or vacation home etc., etc., etc., I don’t think that trickle down theory holds much water these days as unemployment is hovering around 10%. It won’t go below 8% until the real estate business picks up again.

jimbob

December 6th, 2010
11:31 am

All taxes have a special interest: those being taxed and those collecting the tax. So, taxes are the cost of living in a free society, not to mention having better roads and educated citizenry, however short we may achieve both. That some get excluded from normal taxation usually means they can afford lobbyists who have one objective: get something for their client that public discourse would otherwise forbid. So, keep giving tax breaks to woo away companies from other states (thereby creating a problem there) who will be here long enough for the tax avoidance to make sense. As for taxing churches, I suggest you bring that idea up at your church’s next open forum. Talk about damnation.

HTH

December 6th, 2010
12:02 pm

I think with all of the declining values. That county taxes need to be reassesed. Back to the levels they were. Long ago.

Reality

December 6th, 2010
12:25 pm

We should totally scrap all tax breaks. There are too many from decades ago that should not apply. And, there are too many that serve some “special” interest of a politican.

Once the State of Georgia becomes solvent again – and by that I mean that we don’t have to cut education or cut other programs – then tax breaks could be considered.

For whatever illogical reasons, republicans don’t understand that to balance the budgets of the governments, you have to have income (taxes) PLUS you have to decrease spending.

say what?

December 6th, 2010
1:20 pm

Wow, people in support of tax breaks for businesses are only cutting off their own air supply. Bush tax breaks have been in place this ENTIRE recession, yet businesses continue to NOT hire Americans. the banks were bailed out, and now they sit on $9Trillion cash. If there was a flat tax on every thing consumed, middle class gets the shaft and are moved further down the class totem pole. See the richer (your business owners and millionaires) will only move to other countries, purchase luxury goods in other countries just to escape the “fair tax’. BUt we (the middle class) will then encourage our children to join the military to protect the good ole USA. These businesses are not willing to pay their fair share, unwilling to hire Americans at a living wage, but we are willing to send our children out to war to protect THEIR interest. Once you next-door conservatives understand that your conservative is not the same as the “conservative” of people with money, power, and prestige- the free market will right itself. To the rich and powerful, you living in a $300K home, with a nice 401K are no different than the able-bodied adult living on the streets. We only make them richer by supporting their daily radio diatribes against our self interest.

TnGelding

December 6th, 2010
3:22 pm

This latest crisis was not caused by the Bush era tax rates but the collapse of the housing industry and the intertwined mortgage-backed-securities that were sold worldwide. The tax rates did contribute to the huge deficits that grew even larger with Obama trying to end a recession and prevent a depression, which he did. But the failure to resolve the issue of letting the tax rates expire has given big business the cover to postpone hiring. Why not just prepare for the worst case scenario nad put some folks back to work?

I like user fees in place of taxes locally. Why should I be able to drop my garbage off at the dump for nothing? Or put my child on a big yellow bus before daylight (and then wonder why they are traumatized)? We had to buy bus tickets in Oak Ridge.