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Georgia Republicans propose flat tax rate, $1B tax cut

Proposal authored by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Shaw Blackmon would reduce the state income tax rate and raise the standard tax deduction.

Published: March 1, 2022 6:33pm

Updated: March 1, 2022 11:59pm

(The Center Square) -

A group of Republican state lawmakers has introduced a plan to cut $1 billion in taxes for Georgia residents.

The proposal authored by House Ways & Means Chair Shaw Blackmon, R-Bonaire, would reduce the state income tax rate and raise the standard tax deduction.

"This will keep more money in our citizens' pockets, especially those that need it the most," Blackmon said Tuesday during a news briefing.

If the measure becomes law, it would be the third tax cut lawmakers have approved for Georgia taxpayers over the past five years.

The Legislature lowered the state's maximum income tax rate from 6% to 5.75% in 2018. Last year, it increased the standard tax deduction for low- and middle-income Georgians.

Under current law, single filers can deduct $4,600 from their taxes, married people filing separately can deduct $3,000 and married people filing together can deduct $6,000. Blackmon's proposal exempts up to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for married couples. It also changes the income tax rate to a single, flat rate of 5.25%.

Blackmon said a family of four would not pay state income tax on their first $30,000 of income and would see a $400 reduction in taxes for $50,000 of income under the proposal. He said the tax rate, standard deduction and other provisions in the plan could lead to about $1 billion in tax savings per year when the cut wnet into effect for calendar year 2024.

Georgia Budget Policy Institute Senior Policy Analyst Danny Kanso said implementing a flat tax rate is "dangerous." He said it would harm low- and middle-income earners and ease the tax burden of high-income earners.

"Lawmakers can improve the proposal and rebalance the tax code by rejecting the flat tax, eliminating and capping wasteful corporate subsidies offered through the tax code, such as the costly Film Tax Credit, pursuing commonsense revenue raisers – like lifting the tobacco tax to the national average – and adding a refundable Earned Income Tax Credit," Kanso said.

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