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State Rep. Carl Rogers endorses proposed tax plan
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ATLANTA — State Rep. Carl Rogers, R-Gainesville, has signed on as a co-sponsor of a proposed constitutional amendment that would mandate any surplus in state revenues be returned to taxpayers as an income tax credit.

"We have an obligation to be fiscally responsible in our handling of taxpayer dollars," Rogers said. "By taking a long-term approach to the elimination of the personal income tax through the use of excess revenues, we can ensure that we fund our priorities and reduce the tax burden on our citizens."

The proposal, which requires a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly, would, if approved, give voters a chance to amend the state constitution to provide limitations on how excess revenues could be spent.

The resolution sets no spending caps, but sets priorities for revenues in excess of state expenses.

The resolution sets a priority for education expenses in districts where student enrollment has increased. The amendment would also set a revenue shortfall reserve of 8 percent of the previous fiscal year spending.

Once those thresholds are met, any remaining excess revenues would be returned to taxpayers by increasing the personal income tax exemptions for Georgia income taxpayers.

"What we are advocating is a fundamental shift in the way we view surpluses," Rogers said. "Combining spending reform with tax relief in Georgia is long overdue."

The plan is one of several tax proposals being floated in this session of the legislature.

Gov. Sonny Perdue has proposed elimination of the state portion of ad valorem taxes on real or personal property. That proposal has passed the Senate and is awaiting action in the House.

The state Senate is advocating a plan in which property tax assessments would be held steady for a longer period of time.

House Speaker Glenn Richardson is proposing a constitutional amendment that would replace the property taxes used for schools with an increase in the statewide sales tax and would expand the list of services that are subject to sales tax.

Richardson’s proposal began as an effort to repeal all ad valorem taxes and replace them with a sales tax. That effort, once called the GREAT plan, has been scaled back and may have trouble gaining the needed two-thirds vote by both houses.

With little more than half of the session remaining, lawmakers must reach a consensus on which tax measures they will put before voters. It is highly unlikely that multiple constitutional amendments would be passed in an election year.

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