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Georgia again reports decreased tax collections in June

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(The Center Square) — Georgia reported decreased monthly tax collections for the fourth consecutive month.

Georgia’s net tax collections of more than $2.8 billion in June decreased 0.4%, or $10.9 million, compared to a year ago. The Peach State reported decreased tax collections in March, April and May.

However, year-to-date net tax collections of more than $33.1 billion for fiscal 2023 are up 0.1%, or $40.3 million, from fiscal 2022. The state’s 2024 fiscal year started July 1.

“Entering FY 2024, Georgia stands at a key inflection point with more resources on-hand than ever before and a state government that is failing to meet the needs of Georgians,” Georgia Budget and Policy Institute Senior Fiscal Analyst Danny Kanso said in a statement. “State leaders have an obligation to respond to long-standing deficits across public education, access to health care and economic mobility, yet they are actively choosing to leave billions on the table to accrue increasingly large reserves for no clear purpose.

“Despite the massive amount of cash on hand, our leaders continue to stand by as conditions worsen across state government, with record employee turnover and understaffing in critical areas such as human services,” Kanso added. “In the absence of a strategy to deploy these funds, a decade-plus of austerity still looms over state agencies and core functions of government. State leaders must take advantage of this historic opportunity and do far more to realize the promise of opportunity and prosperity for all Georgia families.”

Meanwhile, the head of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation said Georgia is benefiting from “temporarily inflated revenues.”

“All things considered, Georgia’s fiscal 2023 revenues were very strong. The total was basically flat from 2022, but that was a record-breaking year and most observers expected a significant decline,” Kyle Wingfield, president and CEO of GPPF, said in a statement to The Center Square. “On top of that, this year’s flat figure doesn’t account for the lengthy suspension of the motor fuel tax that lowered revenues by almost $765 million. So overall, these are strong numbers.

“That being said, there are reasons for caution. Revenues drifted downward during the last four months of the year, particularly in the personal income tax category,” Wingfield added. “And here again, the motor fuel tax suspension looms large: In June, excluding the motor fuel tax which was suspended a year ago, revenues were down by about 7 percent. So while a third straight year of surpluses may renew the debate about expanding state spending, it’s far from clear that we can continue this pace. It appears these are still temporarily inflated revenues, and shouldn’t be used to create long-term obligations for taxpayers.”

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