Is Governor Deal being a little too cautious in not eagerly supporting tax reform? Rex Sinquefield at Forbes.com thinks so. There were hearings in August about reducing the state income tax from 6% to 4%. No legislation moved forward beyond those discussions. In fact, Deal has not encouraged acting on that proposal. We agree with Sinquefield, that the Governor’s being way too cautious.
Georgians for Fair Taxation doesn’t want to simply lower Georgia’s state income tax, we want it to go to 0%, nada, zilch, zero. As Sinquefield points out, those states without income taxes have exhibited GDP growth of 62% over a decade. That’s 16 percentage points higher than those with higher taxes. GDP growth would mean more jobs for Georgians.
Reluctance to change doesn’t automatically reduce risk. Leadership is not simply doing whatever’s been done in the past; it is recognizing change and responding to it.
Elected officials are always concerned about jeopardizing the state’s revenue with any type of change to the tax code. Doing nothing is a strategy, but as the world economy changes more rapidly than ever before, the do-nothing approach is also riskier than ever. As Sinquefield points out, those states with no income tax actually grew their general tax revenue by 123% over 10 years while the average state took in 70% more and the highest income tax states fell way below the average. Also, states bordering Georgia are moving aggressively to reduce or eliminate their income taxes as well, if they haven’t done so already.
The elimination of the Georgia state income tax would put Georgia on an accelerated growth trajectory. Term limits rule out the possibility of Governor Deal’s running again after his current term ends in January 2019. If Georgia eliminated its income tax, Deal would achieve a memorable legacy with a truly lasting effect that would benefit all Georgians for many years to come. With some encouragement from voters, he could be motivated to act.
Georgians for Fair Taxation will continue to press for this reform. Your support will only add to the growing movement to make it happen and is always appreciated.
For Sinquefield’s full article, click here.