Grocery tax hike dead

House Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter (R-Johns Creek) confirmed Tuesday that legislation to put the state’s 4 percent sales tax back on food is dead.

On Monday, House Republicans said they expected the bill would get a debate on the House floor, probably Thursday.

But once the proposal hit the AJC, all heck broke loose on blogs, on the radio, and elsewhere from Georgians objecting to the idea.

Under the plan, Georgians who file state income tax returns would have gotten a credit to make up for paying the grocery tax. Visitors to Georgians and illegal immigrants and others who don’t file state income tax returns would have paid the tax and not gotten the credit.

Still, it was politically a tough sell. One lawmaker said House Republican members were asked what they thought of the plan, and many didn’t like it.

“It certainly drew a lot of attention,” Burkhalter told the AJC Tuesday afternoon. 

“Many want to try to see a way to recapture lost revenue the state is not getting from transients and illegal immigrants,” he said. “We still need to find a way to have them pay taxes in this state.

“But this is not good policy to eliminate a long-standing exemption on food and we have no intention whatsoever of eliminating an exemption and thus raising any taxes.”

28 comments Add your comment

[...] at Gold Dome Live, my AJC colleague James Salzer has tripped over the corpse of a 4 percent sales tax on [...]


March 10th, 2009
4:48 pm

pls explain to me what the taxes are on all of my grocery purchases at Krogers weekly? I don’t understand….when the article sounds like we are not being taxed for groceries now..


March 10th, 2009
5:19 pm

Food-stamp-eligible groceries are exempt from the 4% state sales tax. The county/city/MARTA sales taxes still apply, which can be from zero to 4% (usually 2%).


March 10th, 2009
5:56 pm

No, Burkhalter, you do not need to seek any more taxes from anyone. You need to cut spending to meet your income, just like all of us do.


March 11th, 2009
5:51 am

The taxes you see on your grocery bill are on non-food items, like make up and toilet paper. The tax exemption is for food only, not all purchases made in a grocery store.


March 11th, 2009
7:09 am

what if the good old boys and the good old governor let us buy alcohol in stores on Sundays? and on sundays charge a higher tax? and let me and God tend to my morals. Think of all the money Ga would get when its own citizens who live close to the state lines stayed in Ga to buy booze on Sunday.

Your morning jolt | Political Insider

March 11th, 2009
7:18 am

[...] After 24 hours of exposure, the grocery tax hike dead. [...]


March 11th, 2009
7:31 am

So now we’re not so interested in throwing out illegal immigrants, we just want to tax them?


March 11th, 2009
7:56 am

If the illegals aren’t paying taxes, deport them. I use to work with an Indian who made a triple digit salary per year. He never became a citizen so he wouldn’t have to pay taxes. He now has cancer and is receiving benefits and care using the benefit money from the taxes the citizens paid. The same American citizen that he cheated out of the high paying job.


March 11th, 2009
8:11 am

This was to be “revenue neutral” for Georgians who filed state income tax returns and would get a credit based on dependents or save the receipts and add up the 4% taxes paid. Big waste of time. Never will get the correct amount back. Why fund the state treasury up front and try to get our money back in a year? The noble purpose was to tax transients and illegals. If 10% of our state legislators do not file or are late paying taxes, we should focus our efforts on those scofflaws.


March 11th, 2009
8:15 am

Why are they trying to tax the illegals. Put them out. Raid the construction and cleaning crews like they do the chicken plants. Pass a bill that puts a 50% tax on illegals bank accounts and other assets. This can help pay for the transportation back to wherever and put some money in the hands of the states.

signed a black democrat


March 11th, 2009
10:54 am

I need my money in 2009 not a credit to be applied on my taxes a year from now. Come tax time in 2010, regular folks are going to forget about this tax credit and that’s what they were really banking on. These old white Republicans lawmakers are a joke.

Drakie Jordan

March 11th, 2009
11:43 am

I need my money now as things are tight. I have scaled back on spending, and so should the state. I pay my taxes and so should the government officials, credits dont mean sqat when you dont benefit from them. Sell alcohol on sundays and let the citizens and their God worry about morals, the Governor should not place his personal values on others. And We pay our CEOs and CFOs too much money to do nothing.

Drakie Jordan

March 11th, 2009
11:43 am

Enter your comments here


March 11th, 2009
11:56 am

I don’t need to spend any more time collecting receipts and filling out more tax forms just for the government to take my money and then supposedly give it back to me a year later.

Forget taxing the illegals, KICK THEM OUT. Enforce the laws passed last year. If necessary, seize bank accounts and property to cover the cost of deporting them.


March 11th, 2009
1:05 pm


March 11th, 2009
1:11 pm

If I’m not mistaken there is still a 2% tax on food. To the Lawmakers and law enforcers in this country: Get off your dead asses, start enforcing the immigration laws, and throw the illegals out of the country. They are a drain on our healthcare system. Who in the world will remember to save all their grocery receipts to get the credit?? I vote for the FairTax. The present federal tax system with the IRS gestapo is so rediculously complicated, and intimidating, the CPA’s can’t figure the tax codes out.


March 11th, 2009
1:15 pm

Good!!!!! I prefer NOT to give goverment an interest free loan.


March 11th, 2009
1:58 pm

An ad is airing on TV to call a toll free number and they will allow you to pay only a portion of your past due taxes. If I pay the full amount of taxes I make, why is the government allowing the deadbeats who don’t pay the taxes they owe to get by with only paying a fraction of what they owe? Why don’t we all not pay taxes until we get an astronomical amount then pay only a fraction of what we owe? Why? Because the government will seize everything we have!


March 11th, 2009
2:07 pm

TO: MDer
“The taxes you see on your grocery bill are on non-food items, like make up and toilet paper. The tax exemption is for food only, not all purchases made in a grocery store.”

You could not be more wrong. As jabster states: “Food-stamp-eligible groceries are exempt from the 4% state sales tax. The county/city/MARTA sales taxes still apply, which can be from zero to 4% (usually 2%).”

Look at your Publix receipt. They break it out as food or non-food tax.


And to all you other posters, read the dang comments before you make false statements. You could just learn something.

Thanks, everyone!


March 11th, 2009
2:11 pm

Everyone pays taxes through the property tax.

People are ignorant of Economics…+


March 11th, 2009
2:49 pm

Publish the list of the sponsors of the tax bills and let’s make sure we give them a well-deserved vacation.


March 11th, 2009
3:10 pm

Amen to “The Catholic Hammer”! You are so correct. If people were aware, they would not have voted for Nobama.

You know, I used to ponder how in the world people could fall for an “antichrist” as discussed in prophetic literature. It just made no sense to me. Now, however, I can see how easily the masses can be mislead. Now, I am not saying that Nobama is the anitchrist, but I am also not going to be politically correct and add a meek disclaimer to anything I say about him. AWhat I am saying is that I have no way of knowing if he is the antichrist; no one can know that. We’ll just have to wait and see how things turn out. Hopefully, it will not be too late to recover.


March 11th, 2009
9:06 pm

Hey, Char: Citizen or not, if he earned that salary here in the U.S. – even if he worked for a foreign company – he paid tax here in the U.S.


March 11th, 2009
10:15 pm

Economics lesson

If you want to get rid of illegals…you must punish those that hire them…the illegals have little to lose the employers have much to lose…just like if you want to clean up prostitution you start plastering the “Johns” all over the news (demand dries up fast)……….Now, if you do want to get rid of the illegals you must replace them with other “legal” workers…that will probably be more problematic to fill those positions (have you ever seen how difficult the work is at a chicken processing plant – or – a carpet mill) this will result in an increased price for food (as most food/farm is processed by migrant and/or illegal workers)…equally inflationary will be the cost at restaurants (food prep and cleaning)…you get the picture……………but of course more “legal” people will be employed and able to pay more……………it’s pretty complicated…….this country has been built on the backs of immigrants who came here and were willing to work for less in order to get ahead…………..My family is from Italy, my grandparents came over in the early 1900’s and were called WOP’s (With Out Papers)…they did get there papers…today it takes a Harvard Law Degree to figure out the immigration code….and a bundle of cash.

My opinion, we gotta figure out how to make them legal…collect there tax money…and have them watch as there handsome children (Miguel and Fernanda) grow-up to marry Debbie and John….then we will ALL be American


March 12th, 2009
9:58 am

AFAN, it’s THEIR not THERE! Geesh.


March 12th, 2009
11:19 am

Thanks…I didn’t say that I had a Harvard Degree…I have a Georgia edgumacation


March 12th, 2009
3:55 pm

Oh, it makes sense now, AFAN. Please send your children to Georgia Tech.