Groups urge Perdue to veto bill eliminating state tax rebate for the poor

A group of advocates for the poor and elderly, including the American Association of Retired Persons, this morning called on Gov. Sonny Perdue to veto legislation that would eliminate income tax rebates of $26 to $52 that go to low-income Georgians.

“Let’s correct this inequity,” said AARP lobbyist Kathy Floyd at a press conference at the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

About 1 million Georgians with income below $20,000 a year receive state income tax credits. The credits were designed about 20 years ago to reimburse the poor for the state sales taxes they pay over the course of a year.

About two-thirds of those have no taxable income after deductions and get a check. Seniors can get $52 a year; non-seniors can get $26.

“In its current form, it offsets a small portion of the sales tax liability for low-income Georgians,” Floyd said.

However, during legislative debate, Rep. David Knight (R-Griffin), the bill’s sponsored, called it, “In its basic form, redistribution of wealth.”

Legislation passed during the waning minutes of the 2010 session eliminates the checks for Georgians who have no taxable income. If signed by Perdue, the legislation would save the state, and cost those receiving the checks, about $22 million a year.

Perdue does not say whether he will sign or veto legislation in advance.

After the bill passed last month, House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), said, “I think it’’s a very fair piece of legislation. As we move forward with what we’re having to do on the budget in this state, we’ve had to look at all kinds of things that we had to just say no to.”

A supporter of the bill, Rep. James Mills (R-Gainesville) said during debate, “If you don’t  pay taxes, why should you be getting a refund back?”

Floyd said the state allows corporations in Georgia to get similar refundable tax credits when they owe no corporate income taxes. She also noted that the legislature, during the 2010 session, passed a bill to eliminate retirement income taxes on middle-income and wealthy seniors. That proposal, which Perdue has pushed for years, would save those seniors and cost the state $150 million a year.

Herbert Wester, 66, a retired concrete worker who attended the press conference, said the $52 a year he receives from the tax credit helps him pay doctor bills and utilities.

“It helps. I can’t understand why you want to cut it out,” Wester said. “We’re on a fixed income man. For some people it may not be a lot. But for some people, it is a lot.”

Another recipient at the press conference, Myrtis Robinson, 57,  said, “People don’t understand that every little bit helps.”

57 comments Add your comment


May 11th, 2010
12:15 pm

I don’t understand how House Speaker David Ralston can say that the legislators had to look at all kinds of things to say no to, when they said “no” to save $22 million dollars in credits to low income families, but “yes” to lose $150 million from retirement income taxes on middle-income and wealthy seniors. I think this man needs to go back to math class.


May 11th, 2010
12:27 pm

Yes, I don’t understand it either. People don’t understand every little bit doled out puts the state in a bigger hole.

The Cynical White Boy

May 11th, 2010
1:02 pm

My blood pressure went up when I read that the AARP lobbyist WHINED the words: “Lets correct this inequality”.


Middle Class taxpayers are relived of ONE, just ONE, bailout in this modern age of Oh-Blah-Blah benefits and bailouts for all “poor” and non-taxpaying citizens (and illegals)….and along comes a lobbyist who WHINES that it is wrong?

I’m sure all you dues-paying AARP members love that!

Anonymous Howard

May 11th, 2010
1:09 pm

“However, during legislative debate, Rep. David Knight (R-Griffin), the bill’s sponsored, called it, ‘In its basic form, redistribution of wealth.’”

Uh… taxes, in their basic form, are redistribution of wealth. A sales tax rebate is a way to UNDO that redistribution for those who can least afford it.

“A supporter of the bill, Rep. James Mills (R-Gainesville) said during debate, ‘If you don’t pay taxes, why should you be getting a refund back?’”

Uh… the recipients DO pay taxes: sales taxes.

This credit was intended to lower the amount of taxes paid by the poorest Georgians, so Republicans who are “for” lower taxes are against it. Meanwhile, identical tax credits for corporations and wealthy Georgians are A-OK!


May 11th, 2010
1:34 pm

I am continually amazed at those persons who complain about “redistribution of wealth”. Their only complaint is that poor people get the redistribution. When it is someone wealthy (oh, it will trickle down) or a corporation who gets the redistribution its called “fairness”.
Some of you are right – there are a lot of posters here who really, seriously need basic math lessons.


May 11th, 2010
1:34 pm

Just another example of how Repubs take care of the rich at the expense of the poor.


May 11th, 2010
1:40 pm

This is Exactly Why “the Rich keep getting Richer and the Poor keep getting Poorer”.


May 11th, 2010
1:48 pm

Tax breaks for corporations and wealthy seniors who already pay a large % of taxes can produce more tax revenue by spending and new investment. Tax rebates for people who do not pay taxes will eventually bankrupt a society. Ask Greece.


May 11th, 2010
1:48 pm

The GOP wackos don’t know what they vote for and don’t care!

Thomas Paine

May 11th, 2010
2:48 pm

The so-called “poor” are draining this state, like tapeworms. They need to be accountable for their actions and unproductive nature. Responsible citizens are sick of footing the bill for the ignorant, lazy and uneducated !

Bill from Cobb

May 11th, 2010
3:13 pm

Do the poor live in Georgia? Then they should pay also. Lets stop with this wealth envy thing. Everyone born into this country has the ability to do well. Some choose to work while others choose not too. Lets stop punishing people based on income.


May 11th, 2010
3:14 pm

Why the focus on the fact that the recipients have no taxable INCOME? Aren’t these SALES TAX rebates and not INCOME TAX rebates? 20K a year is not enough money to live a comfortable life, I don’t care who you are. If qualifying recipients purchase goods with income that’s not taxable and are assessed a sales tax on those goods, what’s wrong with a rebate of that sales tax?

I would address Thomas Paine’s simple-minded remark, but I don’t have the time…

The Snark

May 11th, 2010
4:00 pm

The wealth is “redistributed” when the poor pay first pay sales tax, not when they get their little $26-52 tax rebate in April. The anti-tax crowd should be all in favor of this. Unfortunately, the anti-tax crowd appears to include a lot of people who have a knee-jerk reaction against anything intended to assist the poor. So, they scream and rant about the sales tax rebate without bothering to think through what it really is and how it really works.

Bill Mack

May 11th, 2010
6:17 pm

Yet more evidence: Liberalism is a mental illness


May 11th, 2010
6:18 pm

I have to laugh at Jeff’s comment. Giving tax breaks to corporations and wealthy seniors does not ensure more tax revenue through spending and new investment, and certainly not $150 million worth within a year. Corporations will increase executive bonuses, and seniors will keep a portion of the savings in their bank accounts. Fact is, lower income people are far more likely to spend every dime of their measly tax credit on day to day expenses, which means a higher percentage of that money would be funneled back into our economy. I’m not necessarily in favor of giving money to people who do not pay in, but if the legislator really wanted to deal with the budget crisis responsibly, they would not have eliminated the retirement income tax.

A Realist

May 11th, 2010
6:26 pm

Well folks, he’ll probably do it……why?…..more people approval for “His” highway project.


May 11th, 2010
8:26 pm

Okay, so yes, this is a subsidy to low-income people. I personally think that’s fine. However, let’s not forget that cutting taxes on wealthy seniors ALSO decreases the state’s take. So while we’re cutting some budget money by hurting poor seniors who need the money, we’re also cutting our revenue by giving tax breaks to wealthy seniors who don’t need them. See anything wrong with this, if not morally, but financially? When our politicians argue for this on “fiscal responsibility” grounds and then turn around and cut taxes for the wealthy, it’s hypocrisy.

Sweetie Davis

May 11th, 2010
9:32 pm

What I really don’t understand is Bonuses for Bailouts. It’s mind boggling how the GOP had a problem with receiving stimulus funds but not Bailouts. Who in the world is voting for these people?


May 12th, 2010
5:06 am

for all of you that have a problem with the poor…go back into the history books of this country to find out how they received the title of poor. because your forefathers saw fit to keep “the poor’, which i’m sure most of you are referring to african-americans, poor by not providing education, putting in place economic situations that did not allow for all races in this country to prosper and in this modern day this country continue to have those that beleive that the poor are “ignorant, lazy,uneducated…@thomas paine…exactly how your racists ancestors wanted it…now you complain about the outcome of closing african americans out of jobs, out of education and working them to death to build this country and you still feel they don’t deserve anything!!!!

what is $ 26 – 56 dollars! i hope none of you go to church – but it doesn’t matter…in the name of your churches your supported the hatred of african americans and other races…my saving grace is that one day you will pay for your ignorance and prejudice.

evil NEVER wins…good always conquers, so i have no worries that the meek shall inheirit the earth – if there is anything left after the greedy finishes raping and maiming it!

you’ve gotten away with tax breaks in the past….let it go – your time is up…if you paid attention to those that you systematically have kept down, if you had been fair in education and job hiring none of us would be in this situation….why don’t you change so everything else can!

So Sorry

May 12th, 2010
5:34 am

SO, if I have 2 TV sets I should give on of them away to a person that does not have one. Yes, Karl Marx is so very proud of you socialists that want me to give all my money to the poor. If they made poor decisions in their life that resulted in them being poor that is not my problem. That is their problem and I am not buying into their problems so do NOT try to make it my fault. It is called responsility for their actions. Oh, that’s right. Dypocrites call it the moral thing. I call it stupid. NOT MY PROBLEM THAT YOU ARE POOR. Socialist pieces of #@*$^*&#@^.

Thomas Paine

May 12th, 2010
7:10 am

Ignorance and poverty is perpetuated through breeding. If anything, the “poor” should be financially rewarded for not reproducing.

Middle Class Georgian

May 12th, 2010
7:30 am

By most statistics, I am “middle class” financially. I have relatives, friends and neighbors who make a lot less than I do, many receiving some sort of government assistance, yet have the latest giant screen TVs, high speed cable, multiple cell phones and regularly do things like eating out or go to the movies, things that are considered an occasional treat in my household. I have to live within a strict budget and try to work overtime when its available, to attain any extras.

Where are my perks?

What politician is looking out for this middle class Georgian?

Stand Waitie

May 12th, 2010
7:39 am

I agree with Rep. Mills, if you don’t pay taxes why should you get a tax refund? There are too many of these now, both at the state and federal levels.

President Obama

May 12th, 2010
7:55 am

Perpetuating poverty and ignorance and expanding government programs creates a permanent, growing voter base for the Democrat Party.


May 12th, 2010
7:57 am

Well,blacks produce blacks and whites produce white, Duh! not much one can do about that. I would not call a 66year old unproductive. Would it be ok with the whiney heartless people if the rebate to the poor be eliminated as well as the rebate to the rich old people?


May 12th, 2010
8:04 am

Curiously, in a supposed anti-incumbent year, most of the departing are not retiring but seeking higher office. We may recycle more than we replace. The bad news is that a frustrating 114 seats still have but one contestant. Two of them aren’t even incumbents, meaning they will affect state policy without being vetted by voters. And I have to think that we’d be better off if many had run instead for the Legislature — and cut down on the number running unopposed. Georgia’s problems are numerous. They aren’t going away. There’s too much stale thinking at the Capitol, on both sides of the aisle. New voices would be welcome.

Monroe Burbank

May 12th, 2010
10:04 am

Conservatives are for lower taxes. Here’s a program that essentially lowers taxes on poor people. And they’re against it? I can’t figure these people out to save my life.

Thomas Paine blogged “Ignorance…is perpetuated through breeding.” AMEN, brother. There is no better example of that than here in the red state of Georgia. GA conservatives are the perfect example of this point. God, what an ignorant bunch.

One more thing – seniors have had an lifetime to plan for their golden years. If they didn’t plan properly, and the poor things are having trouble making ends meet, why do I have to pick up the slack?

Conservative mindset really boggles my mind.

Paddy O

May 12th, 2010
10:05 am

The EIC, or this Georgia version, is a prime socialist action (ie, income redistribution). It does not matter if you are poor, you should not receive a payment from any government in excess of what you have paid in. Want a fair income tax? Try this: All citizens over 18 pay a minimum of 2.5% of their income as income tax. Also, all adults receive a standard deduction of 25,000; plus there is a 20% exemption on all income, and all income is treated the same. Finally, each child under 18 will be provided a $10,000 standard deduction. Finally, on income over the standard deductions and exemptions, you pay 17% of your salary, if it over the 2.5%. If you & your spouse earn $100,000 and have 2 kids, you will pay at least $5000 in income tax. However, your taxable income would be $30,000; of which, 17% is $5100. That would be your federal income tax. State tax should be similar; except the tax rate would most likely be 10%. This would be a true fair tax.

Paddy O

May 12th, 2010
10:06 am

Monroe – it pays poor people in excess of what they paid into the state treasury – you think that is fair, ethical or American?

Paddy O

May 12th, 2010
10:08 am

Also, Monroe – the elimination of income tax on wealthy retirees is NOT conservative – it is pandering on part of a “wealthy man” oriented Georgia Republican party – it is immoral and corrupt. About what you would expect from this bunch of state Republicans.

Paddy O

May 12th, 2010
10:10 am

Thomas Paine – it would benefit the government long term if is offered vasectomy & hysterectomy services free of charge to the poor. Abortion has done an amazing job of reducing crime nationwide, but there are still too many impoverished citizens engaging in recreational fornication – a one way ticket to governmental dependence.

Van Jones

May 12th, 2010
10:43 am

The main “inequity” is that EVERYONE who earns income does not pay the exact same percentage. Period.


May 12th, 2010
10:57 am

AJC get your headlines straight. Maybe cal it “Elimination of Redistribution of Wealth” or maybe “People who pay no taxes get less money from those who pay taxes”


May 12th, 2010
1:49 pm


The AJC continually day after day pursues a culture of Race baiting, class warfare and irresponsible reporting ( if it can be called that). I will not allow myself to think that there are actually people out in Atlanta who harbor such ill will towards each other and even more so to the least of these among us. Call it socialism redistribution of wealth whatever, most good southern folks call it compassion.

I choose to believe that there is a system of bloggers employed by the AJC to write these horrible comments in an effort to get more activity on their site i.e. increase the number of clicks and amount of time spent on So please take these comments with a grain of salt Atlanta, GA is not full of class hating, racist, Corporate KKK members as the current discussion ( and almost every discussion on would have you believe.

I also know enough about life, Georgia and Atlanta to believe some of these comments are true and that is scary. Growing up in south GA I encountered racism / classism at an early age. Ironically enough the KKK and hate mongers stayed away from the minorities. They knew who we were we knew who they were, we knew what they were capable of and they knew what we were capable of. And my family was middle class, 2 – parent household, as were many of my friends, (don’t believe the stats about black men not being there a lot of the are were and will be in the future.) We (african American community in SE GA) were outnumbered by “poor” whites. But in Atlanta everyone acts like they harbor no ill will but get online and let the hatred fly. Some of these comments are eligible for prosecution under the hate crime statue!

A lot of things are wrong in this world, country, state but one thing that will not fix it is business as usually. Be it modern day slavery of black men with corrupt laws and enforcement coupled with slave labor ridden private controlled for profit prison systems. Or the vilianization of the Mexican immigration after we destabilize their country and in actuality stole their land from them at the same time “American” were stealing slaves from african, india and china. Business as usual from the same politician sometimes in the same family with the same mindset, that has not worked in three centuries. We have to have a positive outlook on life and how we approach the problems we face no matter what they are, for a time is coming when we will have to make an account. To our maker, to our family to our fellow man to ourself.

In His service!


May 12th, 2010
2:41 pm


Your knowledge of history is a bit lacking.

Mexico lost its land holdings militarily to the United States, and signed treaties as such. It was not “stolen”.

Americans were not “stealing” slaves from Africa. It was Africans being captured by other Africans, then sold to slavers from France, Spain, Portugal, England and other countries; resettling them to the New World for agricultural purposes.

America has it warts for sure, but its still the greatest nation on earth for opportunity and freedom. I don’t see Americans trying to leave.

Some are quick to blame America first.


May 12th, 2010
2:52 pm

The State should tax those who can afford it, not those who can’t. I believe that’s what is meant by “inequity”. Take $52 from the poorest people in the state, but provide 8 times that amount in tax cuts to those in the middle income bracket. Do you really think that is equitable?

Bob LeBlah

May 12th, 2010
3:10 pm

Hey Libtards, those individuals aren’t paying anything in. Why should they get money out. That’s called welfare.


May 12th, 2010
3:13 pm

What part of “rebates on SALES taxes” don’t you like Paddy O not understand? EVERYONE pays sales taxes, and just because Rep. James Mills is ignorant of that fact doesn’t mean you have to be!

Bob LeBlah

May 12th, 2010
3:14 pm

Oh look an excuse maker. Hey Derek, if you were outnumbered by poor whites then I guess you don’t need affirmative action any more. Black men stay with the women they impregnate? Where did you get your statistics from?


May 12th, 2010
4:14 pm

Can’t support the AARP on this one. Every dollar refunded to the “Poor” is money which others must pay to the state. While $26 or so may not seem like much, do the math! This may be the only time the “Poor” will feel what others have experienced for decades…

Anonymous Taxpayer

May 12th, 2010
4:15 pm

I have to assume that Monroe Burbank is not a senior and hasn’t lived long enough to experience the “stuff” that can happen to a person despite all their careful planning for their “golden years’ if there is such a thing anymore. Besides, with his comment about not having any sympathy for seniors, he sounds like a conservative because conservatives are only interested in their own pocketbook.


May 12th, 2010
4:31 pm

Shouldn’t we be seeking solutions to avoid the circumstances that Greece finds itself in? No I forgot we prefer to bash each other, based on who has or does not have $$$$$. There is more valuable achievements than CA$H and maybe we should try discovering these GEMS.


May 12th, 2010
4:50 pm

Poor “Monroe Burbank”…assuming those who work hard for their employed lifetime have the foresight to see the bumps and dips in the future so they can plan for it. As one of those who “prepared”, I can tell you this legislation is a slap in the face to all of us who also prepared. Why should I have to pay for someone else to receive…purely by their circumstance…a refund? Suggestion…why not issue a voucher redeemable for commodity food and/or existing services? These are things already paid for and of no further cost to the taxpayer. What a thought…a ‘win-win’ situation!

Richard A. Duncan

May 12th, 2010
5:18 pm

We should be taxing those individuals and businesses that make $500,000 or more per year. This will only increase the homeless.


May 12th, 2010
5:39 pm

VERITAS: History is in the hands of the pressman/publisher, explore some alternative history books, out of the mainstream you will be suprised.

Bob LeBlah: my statistics… 31 years as an American of Slave dissent, growing up in a 2 parent household and my circle of friends THROUGHOUT my years it has been 60/40 (60% without 2 parent households and 40% with)

Argue all you want but without positive attitudes nothing will change!!!


May 12th, 2010
5:50 pm

alternative history books…ROFL…like the ones with Adam and Eve and men living the same time as dinosaurs…and the earth is 6000 (+/- a few)? So thats what you call them, “alternative history books”…I’m still laughing about that one (it must be the governments fault huh)

Tired of BS

May 12th, 2010
5:51 pm

I am so tired of the bs the liberals are throwing out. We are in tough times, rich and poor. Some people who are rich on paper are stuggling to keep their business afloat so that they don’t have to let people go in this economy. EVERYONE is going to have to sacrifice. You pain in the neck bedwetters throw around how the poor, the elderly, and the children are all suffering right now. If that’s the case, maybe the P-B-O can come up with some of that funny money we’ve printed to keep paying for the car, house, cell phone, utilities, the DSL, EFT,. medicaid, and ghetto talons for all those suffering people. I’m tapped out. Even working 2 jobs I’m broke. ,

Mike Petit

May 12th, 2010
5:56 pm

Dear Governor Perdue,
We need your help ! Please veto HB1069.

T Knight

May 12th, 2010
6:03 pm

I am not without compassion, however I am of the opinion that too many have been sucking on the government teet for far too long. In this respect Rep. Mills is right.
Something needs to be done to keep this nation afloat. Our president has no clue what he’s doing, yet there are always an abundance of people in need to stand around with their hand out.
Where is the common sense?


May 12th, 2010
7:49 pm

Derek, you must reside in Negro Fantasy Land ! What you describe doesn’t exist ! Alternative history books? Like all Blacks are descended from African kings & queens? Like Africans had the knowledge of flight 5,000 years, before Whitey came along and destroyed this knowledge? Minister FaraKKKan would be proud !

Jane Galvin

May 12th, 2010
9:00 pm

There are far too many people in this country living on the breadline, going without essentials and just merely surving while watching billions poured into overseas projects.
Yes help your own first and create a balanced society and narrow the gap between the haves and have nots most of whom work hard to exist. This tax refund is a blessing and we are thankful for it.

Middle Class White Boy

May 13th, 2010
4:28 am

I am amazed by all of the rhetoric. If most people would actually think what taxes are, they would understand economics! IF the so-called have nots would seek a better position in life, of which I can attest to. 1-parent home, GED, etc, YOU ARE responsible for your OWN position in life! NO matter who you are! If you are not satisfied with your current position, re: financally, spiritually, socially, etc, this country has EVERY program available to you. NO “name calling” finger pointing, or excuses. People are in their current position because they CHOOSE to be!!! Thank You!


May 13th, 2010
7:10 am

We work our whole life… and still have to pay taxes when everything is paid for that we earned.. and we get no breaks local or state.We have given our 100%.

Bob Walters

May 14th, 2010
2:55 am

About time state legislators stood up for those that pay taxes vs those that live off handouts. What we need is a regressive tax system where those that don’t measure up, are taxed more heavily. That would provide an incentive for lazy slackers to get off their butts and get a job. Yes and that includes all you lazy people living off unemployment, that have nothing better to do all day than check the mailbox for you next government handout. You should be ashamed!


May 14th, 2010
6:11 am

Bob Walters, why should I be ashamed for working 40 years paying taxes and yes paying unemployment taxes? I wish I was still bringing home the %900.00 per week, but no, when your company lays off 60% of the workerd the day after the election of what we have now as our ruler. Our company said for them to survive, they had to be ahead of the reat of the country and try to get money owed to them before the president destroyed this country. I can not fault them for being smart. You had better open your eyes because you ain’t seen nothing yet. When the president signs the bills for wall street, that is going to kill all of the small business growth.You need to find someother problem to hook you grips onto the back of, because this one is going to take you for a ride, you are not going to want. Don’t go saying that we do not pay unemployment tax on our checks, I have been on both sided of payroll, The worker pays..


May 14th, 2010
1:00 pm

Derek= you must have race on the brain. Your facts are wrong. It was black africans that brought the first aferican slaves to this country, If you claim to be african American, your own people did it to themselves. Why can you and your people just be Americans. If you would not start off with race, you could have a different way of thinking.
The white people do not make the black people do things to be in jail for. They do it to themselves. They make up their mind to do something against the law, we do not hold a gun to them and make them steal, rob, kill, or whatever.I think prison should be equal for all. They should all be chanegangs working on the roads, captial death sentence should be carried out faster, and when you do something to someone, you should have to do justice to that person.
As for as helping someone out with what you call compasion, we call taking from someone that hasmworked for it to give to someone that just wants everything for free.. If someone is unable to take care of themselves that is different. But when you thing you deserve something from someone just because of your color, That is just wrong and will never be right.
As for as the illeagles, what part of the word do you not understand. We are not wanting to keep the people out. Just come into the country leagle. If you have a problem with someone having to have a picture ID. if it was for something you want for free, or cheep, or for food, or anything else you would not have any problem getting a free picture ID. It is just the idea of having to have it to do something that if you raise hell enough about maybe you want have to show it.You don’t want to have to be IDed, but if someone was giving away money, I bet everyone of you would have it to receive the money. This country is changing.. You think the bed of roses is fixing to blowm for you. I hate to tell you that bed of roses is a thin layer covering a big bed of poison ivey. With all the stuff that obama is doing, race is not going to be your problem. It is going to hit us all equal. Why do you think obama has congress doing all their voting after midnight. Cardcheck, Cap& trade, and others, you had better catch up with what they are doing to this country. the obamacare bill is going to destroy this country. Yea I know, I am a racist, bigot, teaparty, terriost and all that. BUT, I do read the bills, I keep up with what is going on in Wash. I have read to obamacare bill, all 442,875 words of it. so call mewhat youwant, you are the rasist for your own kind, you are the bigot of your own kind, you are not going to help your kind untill you stop blaming someone else and figure out where you went wrong with your way of thinking.


May 17th, 2010
4:08 pm

How does that trickle down effect work? Oh yeah, corporations keep their money and ship jobs over seas for cheaper labor.