Calhoun Times

State finishes year with big tax revenue

- By Dave Williams

ATLANTA — Georgia hauled in $3.2 billion more in taxes during the last fiscal year – a period dominated by a worldwide pandemic – than it brought in during fiscal 2020, Gov. Brian Kemp reported Monday.

That represente­d a 13.5% increase in tax revenues during fiscal 2021, which ended June 30.

Kemp attributed the strong revenue numbers to his decision to reopen the state’s pandemic-stricken economy sooner than many other states while still protecting public health.

“Thanks to our work alongside the General Assembly to budget conservati­vely and protect both lives and livelihood­s throughout a global pandemic, Georgia remains on solid financial footing,” the governor said.

“The COVID-19 crisis highlighte­d the importance of states living within their means, and Georgia did so without widespread layoffs, tax hikes, furloughs or drastic cuts to essential services. … State leaders worked together to fund our priorities of education, health

care, and public safety – all while cutting taxes.”

Net tax receipts of $26.9 billion during fiscal 2021 leaves the state sitting on a large surplus that, along with $4.8 billion in federal COVID-19 relief, promises to make spending decisions easier for Kemp and his staff as they put together budget recommenda­tions for the next fiscal year.

That’s a far cry from last year, when the early stages of the pandemic forced Georgia businesses to close and lay off workers, sending tax collection­s plummeting. The budget the General Assembly adopted in June of last year imposed 10% spending cuts on state agencies across the board.

However, the reductions weren’t as steep as had been feared. With the impact of the pandemic on tax collection­s not as dire as had been expected, lawmakers were able to avoid furloughin­g teachers or state employees and plug gaps in state funding with federal dollars.

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