While extensive ‘reform’ of Georgia’s tax code next year is not likely, House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Rep. Jay Powell, R-Camilla, says a group of legislators will examine the state’s revenue sources later this year to determine if the system can be made fairer and more reliable as the state continues to emerge from the multi-year economic downturn that began in 2007.
Speaking to attendees of the Georgia Paper & Forest Products Association Annual Conference on June 23, Powell noted that a major focus of the review of the state’s tax system will be an examination of numerous tax exemptions and tax credits spread throughout the state’s tax code.
“Tax exemptions and credits need to be reviewed from time to time to make sure that they are having the desired effect, like creating jobs or aiding in capital formation,” said Powell. “In the past, exemptions and credits were just continued year after year with no assessment of their true benefits.”
Noting the need to quantify the benefits of tax exemptions and credits on the state’s budget, Powell cautioned that he and his colleagues do not need to be making major changes in the tax system that might drive people away from the state.
Powell said that, in his opinion, Georgia already has a balanced tax system and he has no intention to undertake significant ‘reform’ in the Ways & Means Committee, which he chairs.
Powell also stressed that the Governor and legislative leaders will not do anything to jeopardize the state’s ‘Triple-A’ bond rating, a grade used to set an interest rate for the state when it sells revenue bonds for capital projects and other uses. Georgia is one of 10 states that enjoy the coveted ‘Triple-A’ rating.
The Georgia Forestry Association will continue to monitor and report on the progress of this issue. Contact Matt Hestad, director of communications and public relations, for more information.