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Topics coming up in the 2015 legislature: Budget
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Other topics coming up in the 2015 legislature

For every buzzword tossed about in recent years when talking about the economy, there is an equal and opposite epithet. And, sometimes, which is which depends on whom you’re asking.

Job creator versus job killer. Income inequality versus socialism. Economic development versus corporate welfare. Revenues versus taxes.

But the recession is now receding from view as the jobless rate falls at the local, state and national level.

Corporate profits are at record highs, productivity has soared and even wages are showing signs of trickling up.

Low inflation and a strong dollar against the euro, coupled with falling gas prices and rising home prices, means American families have more purchasing power than has been seen in years.

As a result, net tax collections for state government totaled $9.61 billion in December, an increase of nearly $517 million, or 5.7 percent, compared to the same time period during the previous fiscal year.

And that likely spells more funding for education and transportation projects in the next state budget, according to local state lawmakers, which could be a boon for Hall County.

The current fiscal year’s $20.8 billion budget includes about $800 million in construction projects and an increase of $300 million in education funding.

But as revenues increase, calls for lower taxes will grow louder.

The Republican-controlled legislature has talked about zeroing out the state income tax one day. We’ll see if there is any move to lower it this year after voters capped the rate at 6 percent in November.

But lowering the income tax would likely result in hikes in sales taxes, which can disproportionately impact low-income families.

Other topics coming up in the 2015 legislature

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