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Georgia sees January tax collections increase, thanks to gas tax

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(The Center Square) — Georgia’s net tax collections in January increased, but a new finding from a business group shows waning enthusiasm for increased sales and concerns about inflation persist.

The more than $3 billion in collections increased by 2.1%, or $62.7 million, from last year when net collections were nearly $3 billion.

This fiscal year’s net tax revenues totaled more than $19.1 billion, increasing by 1.7% or $315.7 million over fiscal 2023. Officials said the increase was primarily driven by the state’s motor fuel excise tax collection, which Gov. Brian Kemp suspended for several months last year.

January’s gas tax collections totaled $179.7 million. However, officials said that without motor fuel taxes, revenues for the seven months through January were down 2.7% from last year.

According to state numbers, January’s gross sales and use tax collections exceeded $1.7 billion, increasing by 0.7% or $11.7 million, over last year. Net sales and use tax collections increased by 0.2% or $1.8 million.

However, a National Federation of Independent Business survey found small business owners’ anticipations for higher sales dropped last month, and 20% of business owners said inflation was the biggest problem their businesses faced. The group’s NFIB Small Business Optimism Index declined two points in January to 89.9, the 25th straight month below the 50-year average of 98.

“Despite Georgia’s economic well-being, small businesses are frustrated that it’s 2024, and they’re still dealing with sky-high inflation and a lack of qualified job applicants,” NFIB State Director Hunter Loggins said in a Tuesday statement. “Our members will be talking to their legislators about all this today as part of our annual Small Business Day at the Capitol.”

On Tuesday, WalletHub said the Atlanta area ranked 14th for cities with the biggest inflation problem. The Dallas region topped the list, edging out the Miami and New York City areas.