Category: Taxes

By Dave Emanuel The highest-paid elected official in Georgia’s most populous county is Fulton Tax Commissioner, Arthur Ferdinand. According to a report in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ferdinand earned approximately $390,000 in 2016, “a total that included $210,281 in $1 fees for collecting taxes in Johns Creek, Sandy Springs and Atlanta.” Ferdinand’s gig has the stamp of approval from the Fulton County Commission, which has repeatedly authorized him to personally collect a $1 fee for each city land parcel for which he collects property taxes. The arrangement is bizarre, but what is even more ludicrous is that Ferdinand uses county resources to collect those property taxes. When given authority to collect taxes for the recently incorporated city of South Fulton, his… View Article

Georgia Needs an Earnest Effort at Tax Reform

By Benita M. Dodd Nearly a decade ago, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue created the Georgia Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness, “to examine the tax code of Georgia, review it for fairness, and then recommend a new tax structure that would be as growth-friendly and as job-friendly as we could make it.” Among the guiding principles was “a shift in emphasis from taxing income and investments to an emphasis in taxing consumption, where a wide range of personal choices can be made,” wrote the council chairman, A.D. Frazier. The goal was to lower the rate to 4 percent by 2014 and broaden the tax base. Among the council’s 2011 recommendations were that the state reduce and sunset numerous… View Article

Gwinnett Transit Vote a Mixed Bag

By Benita Dodd Before Gwinnett County voters even decide whether their transit plan leaves the station, it will cost taxpayers almost $770,000. That’s the cost of holding the election on March 19 instead of during last November’s general election. Such special elections are notorious for low turnout, bringing out the diehards on either side of an issue. They’re a waste of taxpayer money, a way for politicians to limit opposing voices, and they deserve to be outlawed. At the polls, Gwinnett’s voters face an especially vague referendum question – another practice long overdue for legislative change: “Gwinnett County has executed a contract for the provision of transit services, dated as of August 2, 2018. Shall this contract be approved? YES… View Article

2018 Victories: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

By Kyle Wingfield As 2018 dashes away like Donner and Blitzen, many Georgians will remember it as a year of major political transition. But 2018 also brought some substantial improvements to Georgians’ lives through better policy, much of it championed by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. The year began with a bit of a hangover from 2017: The tax reform that Congress passed late last year, though beneficial for your federal tax bill, threatened to raise your state taxes if unaddressed. Thankfully, legislators didn’t drop the ball. They set in motion a series of changes that will shield more of Georgians’ income from the state income tax and, for the first time in our state’s history, lower the top marginal… View Article

Georgia’s Economic Freedom: Mostly Better

GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release October 31, 2018 Contact: Benita Dodd, Georgia Public Policy Foundation benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org | (404) 256-4050  Georgia’s Economic Freedom: Mostly Better Atlanta — Georgia’s national ranking in the Economic Freedom of North America is unchanged over last year, at No. 7 in the 2018 report released by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and Canada’s Fraser Institute. This year, Florida overtook New Hampshire to achieve the No. 1 spot for overall economic freedom among all the states. They are followed in rank by Texas, Tennessee, South Dakota, Virginia and Georgia, respectively. For the fourth year in a row, New York was ranked least free (50th), followed by Kentucky (49th), West Virginia (48th), California (47th)… View Article
By Jeffrey Dorfman A U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month means even companies without a physical presence in a state can be required to collect sales taxes if states so choose. The ruling, in South Dakota v. Wayfair, levels the playing field between online and brick-and-mortar retailers but comes with a bad side effect: an effective tax increase. Consumers will pay a little more in taxes, and state and local governments that receive that money will spend more. Neither is a good thing. The amount of money at stake is not huge, but it’s not trivial. Online sales represent about 9 percent of total retail. However, many e-commerce transactions are with stores that already have a physical presence in that… View Article

Tax Season is Easier This Year

By Brandon Arnold and Benita M. Dodd Tax season is a traditionally dreadful time of year for Americans. Nobody likes having to account for how much the Internal Revenue Service is reaching into our pockets. But this year, Americans across the country and in Georgia can take a breath of relief, knowing the benefits they’ve already started to experience because of tax reform are only going to get better. The federal tax law cut rates at every level of the income ladder, and in January the tax withholding calculations were adjusted so Americans started seeing those tax cuts show up in their take-home pay. Paychecks are larger. Companies across the country have issued bonuses for their workers. People have more… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Georgia ranks an impressive No. 7 out of all 50 states in the 2017 Economic Freedom of North America report, released this week by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation in conjunction with Canada’s Fraser Institute. Georgia scored a total of 7.5 out of 10 in rankings on government spending, taxation and labor market restrictions. Based on 2015 data (the latest available), the Fraser Institute’s 13th annual report measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of states/provinces in the United States, Canada and Mexico support economic freedom. At the top in the United States is New Hampshire, scoring 8.3 out of 10. Ahead of Georgia were Florida and Texas (tied for No. 2, scoring 8.1),… View Article
By Adam N. Michel Tax reform is long overdue. The current tax code is suffocating job creation and holding down wages at home. At the same time, it’s giving American businesses far too many reasons to move overseas. Washington has not significantly changed the federal tax system in more than 30 years. Meanwhile, our major foreign competitors – friendly and otherwise – have made their tax schemes far more business- and worker-friendly. As a result, American businesses face one of the highest corporate income tax rates in the world – a rate that crimps their ability to pay higher wages and create more jobs. The good news is that lawmakers in Washington are mounting a serious effort to remedy that… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd With politics and the weather in unusual and untimely states of flux in 2017, the 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum was undoubtedly one of the most difficult to organize since the Georgia Public Policy Foundation established the event in 2010. Happily, the annual Forum produced some remarkable, practical solutions to policy challenges in Georgia. About 150 attendees attended the daylong session October 13 in Atlanta, learning from speakers about tax, health care and education reforms specific to Georgia. The morning keynote speaker, chief economist Jonathan Williams of the American Legislative Exchange Council, shared his optimism about the GOP framework proposed for federal tax reform, noting that it has been more than 30 years since President Reagan… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has been a catalyst for common sense proposals—and elected officials are listening and reacting.

U.S. Senator Bill Frist more quotes