Americans for Tax Reform, the Washington-based group led by Grover Norquist, on Monday declared that the proposed rewrite of the state tax code issued by a select committee would amount to a tax increase.
The group declared that passage would amount to a violation of the no-tax pledge signed by 55 public officials in Georgia, “including Governor Nathan Deal, House Speaker David Ralston, and Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers.”
The heart and soul of the reform proposal is a renewed sales tax on groceries, offset by decreases in the state corporate and personal income tax rates. See the details here.
From my AJC colleague James Salzer on the topic:
Georgians could pay more in taxes this year if lawmakers adopt new recommendations to rewrite the state’s tax code, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of the proposal.
That’s because an increase in sales taxes on everything from groceries to water, higher cigarette taxes and some phone taxes recommended by a state tax council may kick in before Georgians begin feeling the full impact of reductions in the state’s income tax rates.
ATR’s judgment won’t make passage any easier. The statement from Norquist:
“In its current form, last week’s tax reform proposal should be a non-starter for fiscal conservatives in the Georgia Legislature. While tax reform is indeed a laudable goal, it should not be presented in a way that increases the net burden on taxpayers and raises even more money for state government. Unfortunately, this report recommends just that.
“A significant reduction in marginal tax rates is long overdue in Georgia, which is wedged between two states – Tennessee and Florida – that levy no personal income tax at all. But if the goal is to use such reductions to mask bigger tax increases on groceries, tobacco, and a variety of services, it is not even worthy of a conversation.
“This is akin to shards of glass in a delicious crème brûlée. It is a bit of desirable tax reform ruined by an overall tax hike. Thankfully, Taxpayer Protection Pledge signers run state government in Georgia. Because they have taken tax increases definitively off the table, I am confident that we can move past this initial foray into tax reform and begin a serious conversation about reducing the size and scope of state government in Atlanta.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider