By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Are revenues bottoming out?
Placeholder Image

The Department of Revenue reported a decrease of nearly $87 million, or -5.8 percent, in monthly net revenue collections compared to those reported in December 2008. With January marking the halfway point for fiscal year 2010, Georgia’s overall total revenue collection shortfall now stands at $1.148 billion, or -13.7 percent.  

December numbers
For the first time in many months, individual income taxes actually increased by some $47.3 million, or 6.3 percent. State sales tax revenues were down by 20.2 percent, and corporate income taxes declined 23.1 percent. Motor fuel taxes overall declined 15.5 percent, although excise taxes continue to be positive.  

Year-to-date revenue– after 6 months:
Individual income taxes are down $493million, or -11.5 percent.
Net sales and use tax collections stand at minus $449 million, or -16.2 percent.
Corporate income tax collections show a negative $87.6 million, or -24.4 percent.
Total motor fuel tax collections have declined by $73 million, or -15.5 percent although excise taxes (by the gallon) are slightly positive at 2.1 percent.  

As I mentioned in a previous column, Georgia’s current estimated shortfall is $1.26 billion, which means the state has budgeted $1.26 billion more than it expects to raise in taxes and fees. As of December, Georgia has now surpassed the $1.5 billion shortfall mark, which is what policy makers and department heads are budgeting to. This figure, though, presupposes that revenues will not decline any more over the balance of the fiscal year — what are the odds?  

Reserve fund status
Currently, the state has $271 million in reserves that have not been committed in the FY10 budget. Excluding the midyear adjustment of $167.7 million, this is the equivalent of about two days of state operations. In FY09 the state had 19 days of operations in reserves and in FY08, 31 days.

The governor’s teacher pay initiative
Gov. Sonny Perdue, during his final State of the State Address, expressed his plans to introduce legislation this session which would give current teachers the option of entering into a performance-based pay structure and require it of new hires. The specific details of his proposal are not entirely clear or complete at this time and once the legislation is filed, we will review for this column.

Bills introduced
in the Senate last week
SB 308:  The “Common Sense Lawful Carry Act,” introduced by Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, would clearly define carry areas and grant individual business and private property owners the right to choose whether or not to permit lawfully carried weapons in/on their establishment. This legislation also would transfer all rules, regulations and licensing to the Secretary of State’s office.   
SB 309: Would allow individuals to purchase health care plans across state lines. Health insurance policies which have been approved for sale in other states would be made available for all Georgia residents.    
SB 298: Would require all high school students to be certified in basic first aid as a condition of their graduation.   
SB 306: Would prohibit the use of cell phones or texting devices while operating a vehicle. Hands free devices would be allowed.  
SB 305: Increases the percentage of design-build construction projects the Department of Transportation can award in a fiscal year from 15 percent to 30 percent.

I may be reached at
234 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334
(404) 656-5038 (phone)
(404) 657-7094 (fax)
E-mail at
Or call toll-free at
1-800-367-3334 day or night
 Reidsville office: (912) 557-3811