Thursday, March 18, 2010

Georgia tax tinkering

If the recently introduced House Bill 1405 is passed by the Georgia General Assembly, a new commission adopted by the state may lead to a “total overhaul” of Georgia’s tax system. Here’s the story from yesterday’s Augusta Chronicle:
ATLANTA -- A bill introduced this week with the support of Senate and House leaders sets the framework for a systematic study of Georgia's tax system this summer and fall by a blue-ribbon committee and creates an extraordinary mechanism for submitting any recommendations it may produce to next year's Legislature.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston have a morning news conference planned at the Capitol to outline their thinking for the proposal.

House Bill 1405 makes no mention of the state's current budget problems but potentially provides a path lawmakers can travel if they wish to make fundamental, long-term changes and gives them a fall-guy to blame (a blue-ribbon commission) if the political fallout is too hot.

The bill, first of all, creates an entity to be known as the 2010 Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians. Its job is to conduct a thorough study of the current revenue structure and to report its findings to the speaker of the House and the lieutenant governor no later than Jan. 10, 2011.

Click here to read the full story. State Rep. Larry O’Neal says the proposal would not affect local taxes. That being said, I think the commission would have the authority under the current wording of the bill to review property taxes because those are part of the state’s total revenue structure.


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