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State tax revenues down slightly in November

ATLANTA – Georgia tax collections suffered a rare but slight decline last month, the state Department of Revenue reported Friday.

The state brought in almost $2.29 billion in tax receipts in November, down $2.4 million – or just 0.1% – from November of last year. November marked the first month in more than a year that tax revenues have gone down, as steady increases have allowed the state to build a $6.6 billion budget surplus.

The largest sources of tax revenue actually increased last month. Individual income taxes rose 4.6% over November of last year, as tax refunds issued by the revenue agency fell 23.2%.

Net sales taxes were up 9.8%, while typically volatile corporate income taxes jumped by 358.1%, as payments increased and refunds decreased.

The slight drop in overall tax collections despite the rise of revenue in various key categories can be attributed to the ongoing suspension of Georgia’s sales tax on gasoline and other motor fuels. As a result, motor fuels tax revenues fell by 99.4% in November compared to the same month a year ago.

That won’t continue to be the case for long. With pump prices continuing to drop, Gov. Brian Kemp announced Thursday that the gas tax suspension will be lifted after Jan. 10.

Instead, the governor said he will ask the General Assembly this winter to use part of the bulging surplus to provide an additional $1 billion in income tax relief for Georgians on top of the tax rebate the legislature approved this year.

Kemp also plans to propose a $1 billion reduction in property taxes at the local level.

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