January 27, 2013

Time to redo state tax code

Two years ago, the Georgia General Assembly had an opportunity to remake the state’s tax system to make it more fair, more transparent and more attractive to business. And they let it slip away.

A blue-ribbon panel had spent a year reviewing the state’s tax system and recommended a complete overhaul that would cut the state’s top income tax rate, increase the sales tax and end many special tax deductions and exemptions. Lawmakers found that plan too bold and did not enact it.

Last year, they took up tax reform again, making a number of small changes to the tax code, most notably phasing out the sales tax on energy used in manufacturing. But those changes amounted to nothing more than a random set of tweaks with no real vision behind them.

Lawmakers in other states may not be so timid.

In just the past few weeks, governors and top Legislative leaders in Louisiana, Nebraska, Kansas and North Carolina have set a goal of ending the income taxes in those states.

Ending those income taxes could provide a strong economic boost for those states. The Raleigh, N.C.,-based John W. Pope Civitas Insitute reports that states with no income taxes had higher economic growth over the past 20 years than states that taxed income.

Maybe some dramatic action by lawmakers in these states will spur Georgia legislators to take another crack at completely overhauling this state’s tax code. If they don’t, Georgia could become less competitive in its attempts to attract and keep businesses and high-earning individuals.

Tennessee and Florida do not tax incomes. If North Carolina ends its state income tax, Georgia would find itself surrounded on three sides by states with no income tax. That’s not an enviable place to be.

Text Only
  • Mark Millican: The birds hushed their singing

    For the uninitiated, that line is from what many consider the greatest rock song of all time, “Stairway to Heaven,” by Led Zeppelin.

    April 15, 2014

  • Misty Watson: When blood sugar drops, anger rises

    It wouldn’t have taken 107 married couples and 21 days to figure out that being hungry makes people angry.

    April 15, 2014

  • Working for the man

    You may be one of the many Americans who will rush to file their income taxes today. But you may not yet have earned enough money to pay all of the taxes that will be imposed on you this year.

    April 15, 2014

  • Letter: The glib tongue, the fake smile

    A recent Daily Citizen column by Walter Williams will both awaken and frighten any thinking person who claims even a smidgen of knowledge about — or belief in —  either the Bible, world history or current events.

    April 15, 2014

  • College soccer team would bring local talent together

    Dreams of combining the best soccer players from all local high schools into one team finally could come true.

    April 13, 2014

  • Letter: Primaries feature many choices

    Many people are confused this year about the May 20 Election Day. Unfortunately, very few voters in Whitfield County actually go to the polls for a primary election. But this means any increase in participation can have a significant impact.

    April 12, 2014

  • Letter: Hooper for Murray chief magistrate

    Thanks to all the wonderful people and friends who backed me for District 1 Murray County Board of Education. You sure showed a lot of support. Sorry I had to step down due to my and my wife’s health. I am a lot better now.

    April 12, 2014

  • Judicial dispute could have been avoided

    Judicial elections in Whitfield and Murray counties tend to be low key. In fact, we can’t recall the last time an incumbent judge on the Conasauga Superior Court, which cover the two counties, has even faced a challenger.

    April 12, 2014

  • Citizen of the Week: Jonathan Rose

    Running for exercise is a popular hobby among many local residents, but at least one racing enthusiast plans to take his fun a step further today.

    April 11, 2014

  • Community champions make world a better place

    We sometimes think a good community is one with attractive buildings, well-kept homes and beautiful parks. But buildings, homes and parks, no matter how attractive, don’t make a community. People do.

    April 10, 2014