Think you’ll have trouble sleeping tonight? Here’s your copy of the 68-page, newly minted version of HB 387. It’s a regular bodice-ripper. Taxes fall, taxes rise. The drama of the deductions under a 4.5 percent income tax is riveting.
But wait, there’s more. We have here the revenue estimate that goes with the legislation. According to Georgia State University, the combination of tax cuts and new taxes could shrink state income by $7.2 million, or increase it by 10.8 million. Roughly a +/- 10% spread.
The data was released at the 4 p.m. meeting of the joint House-Senate committee that will make the only changes in the measure.
All eyes are on Senate Republicans, who will need to throw off some sign of acceptance before the House-Senate committee will vote on the measure.
Among those at this afternoon’s meeting was Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, who said this:
”We’ve had two caucus meetings lasting a total of five hours on this topic alone. We’re trying to vet every aspect of the proposed legislation. I think most people are comfortable with it.
“What I’ve cautioned all of our members is to not focus on a single item, but look at the totality of the bill – and determine whether what’s being proposed is better than what we have today. I think right now, most people are leaning in that direction, but we haven’t asked anybody. We haven’t had a vote or anything like that.”
Several Senate Republicans have mentioned the lack of data to go with the legislation. Said Rogers:
”I would dispute that a little bit. The tax council’s recommendations have been out there since the beginning of January. That’s all we’re dealing with here. Now, it’s a subset of those recommendations. But everything we’re talking about has been out for quite some time.”
This weekend, House Speaker David Ralston said that if Republicans truly believe in shifting toward a consumption tax, this was the time to do it. I asked Rogers if he agreed:
”I fully agree. If we believe that taxing consumption is a better way to collect taxes than collecting income — if we can’t take this small step, it’s hard to argue you’re for a consumption tax.”
Democrats have yet to say where they are on this. But we talked to one who noted that the state expects to raise $45 million or so by taxing the labor on car repairs.
About half of that, we’re informed, would be paid for by insurance companies. Look for their questions to head in the direction of whose insurance policies will take a hit.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider