Georgia’s personal state income tax rate at 6 percent is now the highest in the Southeastern United States. Is that a competitive disadvantage when Florida and Tennessee collect no personal income taxes and every other state that surrounds Georgia is also lower?
What are the proper roles for personal, corporate and sales taxes in a state economy? How to keep Georgia’s economy competitive in the taxes environment was a focus at the fifth annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.
Tax Foundation economist Liz Malm said sales of goods are decreasing as a percentage of Georgia’s overall economy and sales of services are increasing. Georgia, however, has not adjusted its taxation strategies to acknowledge this change in the state’s economy. Malm’s recommendations included a broader overall tax base with lower rates and, specifically, taxing all end consumer services, taxing groceries with built-in protection for low-income earners and exemptions for business-to-business services.
The conference also heard from former North Carolina state Senator Thom Goolsby who championed the state’s personal income tax rate cut. The Legislative Policy Forum is a partnership project of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Conservative Policy Leadership Institute. The Forum was held on Friday, September 19, in Atlanta.
(Article and video production by Mike Klein)
I wanted to publicly say how much I appreciate Georgia Public Policy Foundation. For those of you that will be entering the Legislature or are relatively new you may not quite yet appreciate how much we rely on Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s research and work. As you know we’re a citizen’s legislature. We have very little staff. They have been an invaluable, invaluable resource to us. To put this [Forum] on and the regular programs that they do throughout the year make us better at what we do. (At the 2012 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.)