Georgia Midyear Budget by Governor Brian Kemp
The Georgia midyear budget includes a property tax cut of nearly $1 billion and reimburses the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) $1.1 billion it lost last year when the state suspended the motor fuel tax to mitigate the impact of high gas prices.
The fuel taxes pay for road projects, and the money will go towards keeping GDOT programs rolling. The $32.5 billion Georgia midyear budget, which runs through June 30, was passed by the House and Senate last week, and it builds on consecutive years of massive tax surpluses that the state has seen since the COVID-19 economic shutdown ended in the spring of 2020.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the spending plan provides homeowners with an extra one-time exemption on the value of their homes at tax time, which Kemp said in January would save those Georgians an average of $500. This will cost the state approximately $950 million.
Additionally, the Senate is expected to approve a separate $1 billion income tax rebate that Kemp has proposed, which would benefit many Georgians, including married couples who file jointly, who would receive a maximum of $500. Those who file as head of a household could receive up to $375, and single filers could receive up to $250.
The Georgia midyear budget also includes $50,000 in safety grants in each school, funding to help students who may have fallen behind academically during the COVID-19 pandemic, and more money in dozens of other areas, such as health care, rural workforce housing development, prisons, and public safety. Legislators have also added funding to give 54,000 state government pensioners one-time bonuses of $500.
The Georgia midyear budget includes $166.7 million to help fund large economic development projects in the state, including new Rivian and Hyundai electric-vehicle plants. However, the state isn’t spending all of its leftover tax revenue from last year, and it is expecting another surplus when this fiscal year ends on June 30.
Kemp noted that the economic outlook is uncertain, and he plans to talk with legislators about their priorities. He added that the state would not grow its government with billions of dollars in surplus but would focus on providing more services if unemployment rises and the economy sours. The state currently has a record amount of more than $5 billion in its rainy-day fund.