ATLANTA – Georgia tax collections rose by 1.1% last month compared to August of last year but only because the state wasn’t collecting the sales tax on gasoline and other motor fuels a year ago.
Not counting the $181.6 million in fuel taxes that came in last month, tax receipts for August were down by 4.8% compared to August of last year, the Georgia Department of Revenue announced late Friday.
Individual income taxes declined by 5.2%, a drop-off driven by an increase in refunds issued by the revenue agency combined with a decrease in payments.
Net sales tax receipts decreased by 10.1% in August. Typically more volatile corporate income taxes fell by 103%. As with individual income tax revenues, the decline resulted from the state issuing more refunds while receiving less in payments.
Tax collections in Georgia now have declined in four of the last five months. Then-state economist Jeffrey Dorfman predicted last January that Georgia tax revenues were likely to drop this year because last year’s huge increase in capital gains tax payments was unlikely to be repeated.
However. the state finished fiscal 2023 at the end of June with an estimated budget surplus of nearly $4.8 billion built up during the last three years. With that much black ink, Gov. Brian Kemp is allowing state agencies to request 3% spending increases in both their fiscal 2024 midyear and fiscal 2025 budgets.
Kemp also suspended the gasoline tax again last week, citing rising prices at the pump. That loss in tax receipts will be reflected in next month’s revenue report.
This story available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, an initiative of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.