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Revenues flat as refunds flow out
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March revenues came in at a positive 1.1 percent on a gain of $12.6 million for the month.

The level of refunds going out could have had some effect on the individual income tax category which showed an increase of only $300,000 or 0.1 percent. Individual taxes only collected net $422,610 for the month. Individual withholding payments were up for March by $37.1 million or 4.5 percent. Individual refunds were up $55.4 million or 11.8 percent.

Net state sales taxes only showed a negative 0.2 percent over March 2012, bringing in $427,402 for the month. Combined with the negative month motor fuel taxes showed, it was dismal month, not considering the level of refunds that went out. Motor fuel excise taxes were down 15.7 percent and sales taxes -17.1 percent, for an overall decrease of 16.5 percent for the month. Motor fuel taxes’ decreases for the month were tied to the higher than normal tax collections for March 2012.

Corporate income tax collections continued to look better, showing a 4.4 percent increase. Corporate income payments were up $4.5 million, or 6.6 percent. Corporate refunds were down $13.5 million. Tobacco and alcohol taxes were negative at -10.9 percent and -4.6 percent, respectively.

Total revenues for March were $1.17 billion.

Third FY quarter holding up for now
Everything considered, the nine-month total for state revenues is still looking pretty positive, with an overall 5.2 percent gain, or $607.1 million, on $12.3 billion in revenues. Year to date, individual income taxes stand at a gain of 5.9 percent, or $352.8 million. Net state sales taxes show a 2.6 percent increase or a gain of $104.0 million. Motor fuel taxes are still suffering from the effects of high prices this quarter, showing a negative 3.9 percent, or $29.3 million, under the same nine months of 2012.

Corporate income taxes have been the only true bright spot in revenues this year, showing a gain of $135.5 million or 37.7 percent YTD. Tobacco taxes are negative for the year so far at -2.4 percent, but alcoholic beverages are up 1.3 percent YTD.

So the 5.2 percent meets revenue projections but April, May and June will “tell the tale.” So, if you’re looking for “big picture” news, this quarter is the 11th consecutive positive revenue growth quarter.

Legislative review - week 2
Juvenile Justice reform
The General Assembly passed a juvenile justice reform bill, HB 242, sponsored by the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform, which developed the reform of the adult criminal justice reform last session.  The bill focuses on evidence-based practices as well as reserving beds in detention facilities for the most dangerous offenders. The council incorporated reforms that have been proven to reduce recidivism amongst juvenile offenders in other states to insure a more effective juvenile justice system for Georgia. The governor proposed and the Legislature agreed to appropriate $5 million for Juvenile Justice Incentive Funding grants which will be awarded to local jurisdictions for local programs.

Update to tax credit for donations to student scholarship organizations
HB 283 is a comprehensive education bill that expands the distribution and reporting requirements that apply to tax credits for donations to student scholarship organizations (SSOs). The bill creates more accountability and transparency to target some who have tried to exploit the system.

HB 283 also increases the tax credit from $50 million to $58 million, and removes the provision that allows the credit to fluctuate with the consumer price index. The tax credit for donations to SSOs helps children who lack financial flexibility in school choice choose what learning environment is best for them.

The bill includes changes to QBE funding, charter system funding, and accountability recommended by the Education Committee. It also establishes an ongoing cap on new extra revenues earned by systems declaring “charter system” status.

If you would like additional information regarding a specific piece of legislation, you may access the Georgia General Assembly Web site at

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