Ga. lawmakers propose replacing income tax with sales tax increase

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 4:42 PM
Last updated 10:12 PM
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ATLANTA — A handful of junior Republican legislators announced Wednesday that they will introduce legislation to replace the state’s income tax with an increase in the sales tax, including a broadening in the transactions subject to the tax.

They said taxing groceries could become part of their strategy, but they said the specifics – such as how high the sales tax would rise – would all be determined between now and when the General Assembly convenes again in January. Today is the final day of the 2013 session.

“That’s one of the reasons we’re introducing this on Day 40,” said principle sponsor Rep. Tom Kirby, R-Loganville. “… We start the discussion with the what and then bring the numbers in.”

Kirby is just completing his first, complete legislative session, and he was joined by Rep. David Stover, R-Newnan, who is the newest legislator after having won a special election this month. But Kirby said one-tenth of the House of Representatives are co-sponsoring his bill, including some in leadership positions.

He said he also has the blessings of Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer who introduced twin constitutional amendments last month to cap the income tax and to require that any increases in the sales tax go toward eliminating the income tax.

Other Georgia leaders have tried to get rid of the income tax, all arguing it would attract more employers. But none have figured out a political way to make the transition without some Georgians getting stuck with higher taxes.

Asked why their new initiative could succeed when others with greater stature failed, Kirby said timing is in their favor.

“The public is really ready for a serious tax transformation, not only at the state level but at the federal level,” he said, pointing to the support for GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain when he announced a similar plan as well as several Republicans who won election to Congress on platforms to replace the federal income tax with a national sales tax.

“It’s tough to run in a Republican primary and not be for it,” added co-sponsor Rep. Buzz Brockway, R-Lawrenceville.

Alan Essig, the executive director of the think tank Georgia Budget & Policy Foundation, says the transition could be jarring for individuals and the economy.

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CowetaFairtax 03/27/13 - 05:40 pm
Fairtax Co-Sponsor

Way to go Tom Kirby and David Stover!

nocnoc 03/27/13 - 05:44 pm
Just remember

Don't let them implement the higher sales taxes on the "promise" to repeal the State Income tax.

Make them have a ballot on a GA Constitution amendment to BAN a income tax and replace it with a Sales tax not to exceed a single digital percentage.

Otherwise some tax and spend types will sneak in another income "type" tax.

Sweet son
Sweet son 03/27/13 - 08:01 pm
Sounds like a good idea!!

With extra sales taxes applied to purchases it would make sure that those who don't see fit to file returns and those who claim so many exemptions that they don't have to pay anything would have to pay taxes on their purchases. That was a long sentence to say that dope dealers and others with illegal money transactions would have to pay into the system too!!! As Herman Cain says this should be applied on the Federal level too!

bclicious 03/27/13 - 08:58 pm
I am 100% for this!

This is an awesome idea. Perhaps if enough states do this; the federal government will one day follow suit.

GiantsAllDay 03/27/13 - 09:41 pm
If you work in SC and live

If you work in SC and live and make most of your purchases in GA, you are screwed.

Fiat_Lux 03/27/13 - 09:47 pm
There ought to be provisions

to protect the elderly and disabled if this gets implemented. It's a great move but people on fixed income, especially the ones who have paid taxes their whole lives and are living on non-taxed retirement income really get hurt when the price of everything in their lives jumps because of sales tax hikes.

Bodhisattva 03/28/13 - 04:35 am
A short drive to South Carolina.

It'll take a little more planning on shopping trips but that's no problem.

"But none have figured out a political way to make the transition without some Georgians getting stuck with higher taxes." Translated: Most Georgians will get stuck with higher taxes.

Riverman1 03/28/13 - 07:52 am
Let's go for it. Other states

Let's go for it. Other states make it work. Why not us?

seenitB4 03/28/13 - 08:17 am
Make it work

Yep....we need to pay as we go.....& make all pay some taxes.

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