ATLANTA — The Republican-controlled Georgia House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a $1 billion state income tax cut despite objections from Democrats that most of the benefits would go to high-income taxpayers while some Georgians would pay more.
The bill, which passed 115 to 52 and is now moving to the state Senate, would reduce Georgia’s income tax rate from 5.75% to 5.25%.
While removing the standard deduction, the legislation would increase the standard exemption from the current $2,700 to $12,000 for single filers and from $7,400 to $24,000 for married couples filing jointly.
‘A family of four won’t pay a penny in state income tax on their first $30,000 of income,’ said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Shaw Blackmon, lead sponsor of the bill, to the legislators of the House during a brief debate.
Blackmon, R-Bonaire, said the same family of four with an annual income of $50,000 would receive a tax cut of more than $400.
“[This] will make us more competitive for workers at all income levels,” he said.
But Rep. Matthew Wilson, D-Brookhaven, cited a Georgia Budget and Policy Institute analysis that said the bill would raise taxes for about 10% of taxpayers, while $620 million on the tax cut for $1 billion would only benefit the top 20%. taxpayers.
“We are effectively raising taxes on the working poor,” he said.
Rep. Jasmine Clark, D-Lilburn, said the sponsors of the legislation failed to explain which state services would have to be cut so the state could afford to cut $1 billion in tax revenue.
“We’re going to have to cut education, health care…mental health,” she said.
Wilson accused Republican leaders of playing politics with the issue by pushing the bill through the House just a week after introducing it.
“This bill was rushed through in an election year because it looks good on a [campaign] mail,” he said. “But it’s not a good policy.”
The legislation would come into effect in the 2024 tax year.
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.