State lawmakers rapidly advanced a major tax package in recent days that lacks one of the strongest tools to support working families in Georgia and cut taxes from the bottom up: the Georgia Work Credit. The tax proposal, House Bill 918, includes four elements: a cut in the top personal income tax rate, a cut in the corporate income tax rate, a sales tax exemption for jet fuel and a doubling of the standard deduction. A full analysis of the bill, courtesy of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, is available online.
Although this legislation’s signature feature is a cut in the top personal income and corporate tax rate, HB 918 also delivers a modest benefit to working families with low and moderate incomes. This outcome was made possible by advocates and legislative champions who fought to ensure that everyday working families didn’t get a tax hike to pay for wealthier Georgians’ tax cut.
Nevertheless, HB 918 omits the Georgia Work Credit, a policy with longstanding bipartisan support and extensive research showing a range of benefits for families and communities. This tax package could have been a golden opportunity for lawmakers to target an evidence-based tax cut to lift working families into the middle class and bolster local economies. Instead, state lawmakers left a premier tool to support working families on the table.
Omitting the Georgia Work Credit from HB 918 represents an enormous missed opportunity for state lawmakers to give an economic boost to more than a million low- and moderate-income families. Fortunately, momentum continues to build in the Gold Dome for this successful and evidence-based policy, especially as 29 other states including South Carolina now offer similar policies for their working families. If state lawmakers refocus on helping folks climb the economic ladder, Georgia may yet be the next state to offer a bottom-up tax cut for working families.