Friday Facts: August 18, 2023

It’s tax time for local governments across Georgia, the season when cities, counties and school boards review their updated tax digests and set their millage rates for the year.

That means it’s also grumbling time at kitchen tables across the state. And with the rapid rise in the values of most homes, there’s more grumbling than usual. 

While I know of no one who enjoys paying taxes, few, if any, taxes are reviled as much as the property tax. People feel their objections to it in their bones. That’s because no other tax has a basis that someone else simply invents. 

Bills to limit how local governments can levy property taxes are commonplace. (The state’s millage rate is currently zero.) Some might even bring relief. But as long as this fundamental flaw remains in the system, people will hate property taxes.

Please check out this week’s commentary on the debate around millage rates, property taxes and fairness. We also have the latest news and analysis from the last week, including:

– Details on just how much more you’re paying each month for normal household items because of inflation

– Georgia’s revenue data for the month of July

– The latest stories of waste, fraud and abuse in Georgia

Have a great weekend,

– Kyle Wingfield

We are excited to kick off the Georgia Freedom Series with Matthew Continetti, author of “The Right: The Hundred-Year War for American Conservatism,” on September 12. Continetti is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where his work is focused on American political thought and history, with a particular focus on the development of the Republican Party and the American conservative movement in the 20th century.

We know it will be an interesting and informative luncheon at a beautiful venue with excellent food. Get your tickets today.

On October 12, we are hosting the Georgia Housing Summit, where experts explore new approaches to harness innovation and entrepreneurship, and ensure housing is attainable for all Georgians. This is a half-day event, filled with practical information on a variety of topics.

And if you buy your tickets now, you can save 25% with our early-bird discounts that run until September 1.

Friday’s Freshest

Some Georgians still have time to stop higher property taxes

From Walker County to Dougherty County and points in between, we have an update on the latest discussions and decisions on local millage rates. 

Janitors, email scams and interest-free loans took Georgia taxpayers to the cleaners

A new audit revealed that city of East Point employees in 2011 fell for an email scam that cost taxpayers nearly $1 million. That story, and more, in our latest recap of waste, fraud and abuse in Georgia. 

Republicans’ unearned victory lap on school choice

A tweet from the Republican State Leadership Committee claims that Republicans in Georgia “have made school choice a top priority” just months after 16 House Republicans helped kill a school choice proposal. 

Vogtle Unit 3 is first new nuclear power plant to open in decades

Georgia Power recently announced that the third nuclear reactor at its Plant Vogtle near Augusta had begun commercial operation.

Has the Hollywood strike impacted Georgia?

The ripple effects of strikes by Hollywood writers and actors have reached Georgia, but just how far-reaching are they? 

The Latest


State senators asked to fix contentious issue over local sales tax money

The mayor of Tifton asked Georgia lawmakers to fix a system of distributing local sales tax dollars that favors counties at the expense of cities. Under current state law, cities and counties that can’t agree on how to allocate local sales tax revenues between them must submit to an arbitration process that skews toward counties.

Hyundai, Georgia Ports Authority celebrate arrival of first shipment for Metaplant

The first shipment of equipment for Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America (HMGMA) arrived this week at the Port of Savannah. HMGMA and the Georgia Ports Authority held a ceremony to commemorate another significant step in the journey of the largest economic development in state history.

State motor fuel taxes behind healthy July revenue report

State tax collections posted a double-digit increase last month compared to July of last year, mostly driven by gasoline and other motor fuel taxes. Tax receipts in July — the first month of fiscal 2024 — rose by 13.1% over July 2022, the Georgia Department of Revenue reported. Of $289.3 million in additional revenues, $179.5 million was due to the reinstatement of the state tax on motor fuels.


Data shows rising number of teachers in the state

Georgia had a total of 123,210 teachers in 2022-23. This is an increase of 1,711 teachers from the previous school year’s count of 121,499 teachers. Enrollment for the current school year as of March 2023 was 1,744,877 students. This marks an increase of 8,718 students from March 2022 when students enrolled reached 1,736,159 students. 

State superintendent seeks students for Student Advisory Council

State School Superintendent Richard Woods is looking for students in grades 10-12 to serve on his 2023-2024 Student Advisory Council. These students will meet with Superintendent Woods to discuss the impact of state policies in the classroom and other education-related issues, and will serve as the Superintendent’s ambassadors to their respective schools.

South Georgia school tried instating no talking policy for students

A South Georgia school reversed a controversial policy that said students were not allowed to talk during their lunch hour or even when they changed classes. If kids were caught talking, they were sent to in-school suspension.

Government accountability

Trump indicted out of Georgia probe into alleged efforts to overturn 2020 election

Former President Trump was indicted out of the years-long criminal investigation led by state prosecutors in Georgia into his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the state. 

Rivian EV plant bonds get final go-ahead

Superior Court Judge Brenda Trammell has signed an order validating bonds financing a $5 billion Rivian electric vehicle manufacturing plant. This follows the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision last month not to hear an appeal of the bond validation case brought by a group of local residents.


Marietta stops developer from building new homes

The Marietta City Council rejected a developer’s request to build eight single-family detached houses near Marietta High School after neighbors complained about the potential development.

Rising property taxes are a housing market killer

Americans are pouring out of cities with high property taxes and relocating to places in search of lower rates as they try to reduce hidden costs of homeownership. That’s according to a new analysis published by Laffer Associates and the Committee to Unleash Prosperity.


Rome Braves ditching nickname; ask for public input

Atlanta Braves High-A minor league affiliate team in Rome announced its plans to move away from the iconic tomahawk logo and Braves moniker to “a team name that resonates with our diverse fanbase and embodies the spirit of Rome.” The team is now asking for the public’s input for its new identity.

Americans spending more than $700 more per month over past two years

Americans are spending $709 more per month on everyday goods and services than they did two years ago, according to Moody’s Analytics. Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi said that despite the jarring increase in cost, inflation is moderating, with just a 0.2% increase from June to July.

Cherokee the fastest-growing county in Atlanta region

Cherokee County had the highest percentage growth rate of the 11 counties in the metro Atlanta region from last April to this April, a new report from the Atlanta Regional Commission shows. Between April 2022 and April 2023, Cherokee County grew by 2.5%.

Quotes of the Week

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

“We are like books. Most people only see the cover, the majority only read the introduction, many people believe the critics. Few will know our content.” – Emile Zola

“Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.” – Primo Levy

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