Sen. John F. Kennedy: Income Tax Reductions Make History in Georgia

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

The last time the state of Georgia saw an income tax percentage reduction Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president, Ed Rivers was Governor of Georgia and the average cost of a house in the United States was around $4,100. That year was 1937, at the tail end of the Great Depression and just before the start of the Second World War. Last week, the state of Georgia made a historic change to the individual and corporate income tax rate by reducing it from the current top rate of 6 percent to 5.75 in 2019 and 5.5 percent in 2020, pending the General Assembly’s approval, and doubles the standard deduction for filers of all statuses.

For citizens in not only middle Georgia, but throughout the state, this is a monumental change. For example, families of four whose household income is $50,000 per year could see a 16 percent decrease in their tax burden. And families of four making an annual household income of $30,000 would see a 32 percent reduction in their state income taxes. This means more Georgians will have money in their pockets to spend on the things they want and enjoy. This further boosts our economy by encouraging us to put our money into our local businesses and industries and overall adding to the prosperity our state has seen over the past few years.

I know some may wonder about the reduction to the overall budget this income tax deduction could cause. We’ve seen various fiscal notes and heard countless testimony and the general consensus is that this cut will allow us to still have the funds to allocate to the various agencies that use taxpayer dollars to operate. In simpler terms, this cut will still allow us to pass a balanced budget, which is our only constitutionally required duty. This is made possible by the leadership we saw at the federal level through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. If less of your money is taken by the federal government, we can do the same down here. It’s a win-win for everyone and I hope that our economic growth will continue as a result.

These provisions are expected to save Georgians more than $5 billion over the next five years, and we are still expected to see our state’s budget grow. You elected me into office to represent your interests at the state level by promoting a fiscally conservative agenda and reducing taxes and I believe HB 918 leads us in the right direction. I make a promise to you that I will evaluate the economic impact of this legislation as certain provisions in it become law. This is just the start of what we can do if we work together for all Georgians. I look forward to doing that for years to come.