July 20, 2024 2:02 am
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Georgia is Likely to End Year With Multi-Billion Dollar Surplus

Credit: iStock

Reinette LeJeune

Georgia closed out fiscal 2022 last month with a massive budget surplus fueled by the significant increase in tax revenue. During the full fiscal year, which ended June 30th, the state brought in $33.09 billion in tax receipts, an increase of 23 percent over the fiscal 2021 year, as Georgia’s economy continued to rebound from the pandemic. In June, the state Department of Revenue collected $2.85 billion in taxes, an increase of 14.2 percent since June of last year.

Over the course of June, individual income taxes rose by 14 percent, with payments up by 6 percent and refunds down by 32 percent. Likewise, corporate income taxes rose by 47.2 percent, with both payments and refunds having risen substantially. Due to Governor Kemp’s decision to suspend collections of the state sales tax on gasoline, gas tax revenues plummeted by 99.5 percent last month.

As gas prices began rising in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, by March the General Assembly made the decision to suspend collections of fuel taxes as they were approaching record highs. Governor Kemp has since extended the sales tax holiday twice, with the most recent extension set to expire in mid-August. Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams, has continued to call on Kemp to extend the gas tax holiday through the end of the year, a move he could make without legislative approval as long as lawmakers later ratify the decision.

State officials originally planned to spend more than $54 billion in the just-ended budget year – this includes federal money, lottery proceeds, and other fees and taxes the state agencies collect. That number was later boosted by lawmakers by $4.5 billion during a mid-year budget revision that included bonus payments and pay raises for state employees and teachers. Currently, that number will still fall under the total revenue for the year. Final numbers won’t be clear until the state closes its books on the budget year, usually taking place around Labor Day.

Georgia Supreme Court justices appear skeptical of Athens DA’s claim of open records exemption

In an upcoming ruling, Georgia’s Supreme Court will weigh in on a claim brought by Athens-Clarke District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez, arguing that top prosecutors are exempt from the state’s open records laws. The case involves assertions that the trial court overlooked a constitutional provision in denying Gonzalez’s motion to dismiss an open records complaint, mirroring similar immunity arguments made by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in a separate case related to the 2020 presidential election interference.

CNN sets first Biden-Trump presidential debate for June 27 in Atlanta

CNN announced today that it will host a debate between President Joe Biden and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the network’s Atlanta studios on June 27, with no audience present. Both candidates have agreed to participate, marking a pivotal moment in the lead-up to the November election as they engage in direct exchanges over key issues.

Georgia public colleges to expand admissions testing requirements for fall 2026

Georgia colleges are reverting to requiring standardized test scores for all new applicants, signaling a shift from pandemic-era policies. Beginning in fall 2026, institutions including Augusta University, The University of Georgia, and Georgia Tech will mandate SAT or ACT scores, a decision unanimously approved by the Georgia Board of Regents.