Middle-income Georgians are still waiting for their Governor to decide whether to increase their property taxes and use the revenue to slash capital gains taxes for the rich. Legislation making both of these changes (HB 481 and HB 261) continues to sit on Governor Sonny Perdue's's desk even as it's roundly criticized by opinion leaders, including the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Macon Telegraph.
The editorial boards of both papers cite ITEP's recent report on the legislation. The analysis describes the impact across income groups of eliminating a property tax relief program in combination with cutting taxes on capital gains income. The Atlanta Journal Constitution points out, "So who will see a boon from a capital gains tax break? A very wealthy few. People in the top 10 percent of the income spectrum own about 70 percent of taxable stocks. In its analysis of the capital gains tax break, the Washington-based Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy concluded that 77 percent of the tax cut would go to the very richest 1 percent of Georgians."
Sadly, bad news for the Georgia economy may be what it takes to convince the Governor that tax cuts for the rich, even if they are partially offset by tax increases on somebody else, are simply unaffordable. As Charles Richardson at the Macon Telegraph writes, "There is more bad news on the economic front. On May 7, the governor should get the revenue report for April. It is not expected to be good. March's numbers were down 14 percent. However, that dark cloud may hold a silver lining. The dismal income report may spur Gov. Perdue to veto HB 481 and HB 261. That would be fiscally prudent, and move the state closer to fiscal responsibility and away from ideological, get-out-the-vote rhetoric that is leading us to disaster."