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Could Georgia eliminate its income tax?

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(The Center Square) — While Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a measure this week to speed up a decrease in the state’s personal income tax rate, Lt. Governor Burt Jones says he wants to eliminate the income tax.

“I have long been a proponent of eliminating our state income tax, and I am glad to see us taking more steps in that direction,” Jones, a Republican, said in a statement in response to Kemp’s signing of House Bill 1015, which lowers the individual income tax rate from 5.49% to 5.39% for the tax year starting Jan. 1, 2024. It also continues to decrease until the rate hits 4.99%.

“The signing of this legislation provides much-needed tax relief at a time when families and businesses continue to confront the burden of rising costs and skyrocketing inflation that those in DC have placed on them,” Jones added. “I commend Governor Kemp for his willingness to cut taxes, and I look forward to working with the Governor and the General Assembly to eventually eliminate the state income tax in Georgia.”

An analysis from The Buckeye Institute, a Columbus, Ohio-based think tank, found an incremental personal income tax cut to 3.99% by 2030 would generate more jobs and economic growth.

Mychal Walker, chairman of the National Federation of Independent Business Georgia Leadership Council and managing director of Walker Agency LLC in Duluth, said lowering taxes helps small businesses, particularly as costs continue to rise.

“Running a small business is never easy, but rising prices make it even harder,” Walker said in a statement. “HB 1015 will help small businesses like mine by relieving some [of] our financial pressure.”

However, not everyone was enamored with the idea.

“We imagine Lt. Gov. Burt Jones would love nothing more than to defund state government — likely starting with the special prosecutor, considering his current legal jeopardy,” Democratic Party of Georgia spokesperson Dave Hoffman told The Center Square via email. “Georgians who are eligible for assistance that this administration can’t or won’t provide disagree with his analysis.”