To boost jobs, Ralston eyes tax reform for Georgia

Such was the state of Georgia’s economy this year that it was held up simultaneously as a sign of strength worthy of Nathan Deal’s re-election and as a sign of weakness demanding his defeat.

In the end, voters returned Deal to the governor’s mansion with almost the same vote of confidence (52.8 percent) as when they first elected him in 2010 (53 percent).

Still, no serious person would claim Georgia is hitting on all cylinders economically. The one word you can count on hearing more than “transportation” in the coming legislative session is spelled J-O-B-S.

With that in mind, I asked House Speaker David Ralston earlier this month what he foresaw in the way of proposals to boost the economy and job creation.

“When we passed the tax reform package here back in 2012, I said at that time that I did not view that as an ending, but just as a significant first step,” Ralston said in his office at the Capitol. “And that’s a discussion that I think we always need to have, and that’s a discussion that is ongoing.

“I know there are members of the House that have worked tirelessly looking at ideas, gathering data, doing economic analysis, to see what the next step might be and when would be the appropriate time to take it. And I support those efforts. I think you may well see some progress toward that next step this next session.”

As Georgia competes with neighbors and other rival states, our comparatively high top income-tax rate, for companies as well as individuals, is an area for improvement.

The 2012 reform package was more modest than the broader overhaul sought a year earlier, when revenues were still falling. The 2011 attempt was sunk not only by a slow move toward consensus on a plan (a cautionary tale for this year’s transportation effort) but by strategic sniping about the specifics by those who didn’t want reform in the first place (ditto).

Ralston indicated he won’t rush things this time, either.

“Obviously, when you talk tax reform, as we found out when we went through the other process … you have budget ramifications,” he noted. “And you have to weigh those in the mix.

“You look at the experience of other states. I know a lot people point to North Carolina, and they point to Oklahoma, and they point to maybe other states that have recently done some fairly comprehensive tax reform. But if you really research the experience of those states, it was not painless. And there are trade-offs.”

Still, he concluded, his support isn’t the question. “I think the question is timing. If it’s 2015 or ‘16, I think you’re going to see us go back and visit that in a meaningful way.”

Might we see a combination of tax reform with a transportation package? Maybe, Ralston allowed, with this caveat:

“We need to move on transportation sooner rather than later, whatever it is that we do. Tax reform … took us three sessions last time, from the creation of the tax reform council through getting it passed. And I’m not really sure that we have the luxury of waiting three years to address our transportation issues.”

Reader Comments 0

64 comments
BertLoftman
BertLoftman

Ending the state income tax would be the best reform.  We could join Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and others who have proved the benefits of this.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Georgia competes for economic growth and jobs not just with surrounding states but also with other countries.

And Obozo has constantly worked to make doing business in the US harder and more expensive.  His Obozocare mandates, higher taxes, regulatory orgy, higher energy prices, and constant business bashing are holding down growth.

Our Economy will continue to limp along until Obozo and his ilk are out of power.

Not that people who don't plan on working for a living care.

lvg
lvg

Deficits do not matter when Repubs are in charge. Good example is budget bill Cons just passed with huge increase in defense spending.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@blah blah blah @lvg Not really....Republicans make a big deal of deficits etc etc


But they don't live up to that. because they know their voters are suckers.


Democrats don't mind spending either but at least they attempt to pay for it with taxes


Republicans just run up the bill



ODDOWL
ODDOWL

If one tax cut for the rich, corporations and the corporate bosses doesn't spur any job growth, then give them another one and another one...  Apparently Republicans are ignorant of the fact that the consumers are tapped out, no money to buy anything with... Tax cuts on the rich, corporations and the corporate bosses will not put one dime into the pockets of the cash strapped consumers...  There is only one way to create jobs in Georgia's stagnated economy... Nathan Deal and the Republican controlled state legislature must pass a massive economic stimulus and jobs creation bill...  When consumers have money in their pockets, they spend like drunken sailors...

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

I would also like to note that Bush's economic growth came at a time of a major terrorist attack with two resulting wars and the giant bill that came due for jimmy carters and bill clintons ridiculous Community Reinvestment Act.



Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@IReportYouWhine The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission formed by the US Congress in 2009 to investigate the causes of the 2008 financial crisis, concluded "the CRA was not a significant factor in subprime lending or the crisis".[110] Ben Bernanke, then Chairman of the Federal Reserve, wrote that experience and research contradict "the charge that CRA was at the root of, or otherwise contributed in any substantive way to, the current mortgage difficulties."


You do realize the CRA had little to do with the Housing bubble in 2008.


Of course you didnt.


Very very few of the loans that went bad were due to the CRA.


Most of the bad loans were because bankers got greedy and there were no regulations in place...So they made bad decisions and the taxpayers got stuck bailing them out.


And it seems as Mrs Warren points out we are headed down that road again.


But you keep thinking it was the big bad government forcing banks to lend to "those" people.


It fits your narrow world view 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@IReportYouWhine I would also like to note that Bush's economic growth


When was that....Before or after he sent us into a recession ?


with two resulting wars 


One of which was totally by choice. What a disaster that was. 

Starik
Starik

@IReportYouWhine Wars do grow the economy; lots of additional spending. When you cut taxes at the same time, though...

Smokeyone
Smokeyone

In my opinion, tax reform and transportation planning are inextricably entwined with each other at this point in time. I'm not sure they can do one without the other. But Ralston is right on transportation, time is ticking.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

"luxury of waiting three years to address transportation".   Oh, he's saying it's only three years?  From what? The last time they kicked the can away from themselves to the regions/ T-SPLOST fiasco?  It's been longer than three years from when real action was done. 


Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@LogicalDude Read the quote again. He's saying tax reform took three years last time, and could take that long this time -- and we can't afford to wait that long to do transportation in conjunction with it.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

The last time we had any meaningful economic growth in AmeRica was the last time we had low tax rates.


Any questions?

JamVet
JamVet

@IReportYouWhine 

Sure, why do you lie so much? (i.e, show your work to intelligently support that wildly inane claim and prevarication.)

The last time we had large, sustained economic growth, taxes were much higher.

Simplistic and mindless sloganeering will never change that meaningful fact..


MANGLER
MANGLER

@IReportYouWhine Yep.  Like after the Civil War.  And after the World Wars.  And the 90's.  All times with low taxes ... er, um, wait.

Claver
Claver

@IReportYouWhine Yes, which tax rates are you looking at?  Capital gains tax rate, top marginal tax rate, or something different?

Nobody_Knows
Nobody_Knows

@Kyle_Wingfield @HeadleyLamar


One can intelligently argue the internet boom (and bust) ie the Clinton years was going to happen regardless.  Not to say the capital gains rates didn't play a role but lets be honest here.


Same can be said about the Bush years and the tax breaks at that time.  Construction and real estate boom and bust was going to happen to some degree or another when looking at the interest rates, fancy new ways to do mortgages as well as Wall St and their derivative games. 

If it was all about the tax cuts (you didn't way it was) then we wouldn't have had a sitting President saying "this sucker could go down" when the bottom was falling out of the real estate market and the direct and indirect impact on other industries.  

Tax rates didn't change for several years after that calamity.  

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Nobody_Knows I was responding to Headley's simplistic and factually incorrect timeline of the cause and effect.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Nobody_Knows @Kyle_Wingfield @HeadleyLamar Correct.


And Kyle is correct my argument is overly simplistic.


But we are told to accept as gospel that lower taxes ( especially on the wealthy or corporations ) is always a good thing.


Isnt that a bit simplistic as well. Its just as easy as I did above to argue the opposite.

Nobody_Knows
Nobody_Knows

@Kyle_Wingfield @Nobody_Knows


Got ya.  Thanks.

Many people in my opinion like to over simplify things and by mere coincidence it is usually to bolster their point of view. 

On the other hand it is sometimes difficult to communicate an idea without a lengthy comment. 



IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

@Tiberius-Constitutionus @IReportYouWhine Results of the President's tax relief were swift.  The economy returned to growth in the fourth quarter of 2001 and continued to grow for 24 consecutive quarters.  The economy grew at a rapid pace of 7.5 percent above inflation during the third quarter of 2003 – the highest since 1984.  The President's tax relief reduced the marginal effective tax rate on new investment, which encourages additional investment and, in the long-term, higher wages for workers.


http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/infocus/bushrecord/factsheets/taxrelief.html

Robtown
Robtown

Hmmm... I see a healthy amount of skepticism coming from both sides... Could it be we're all tired of hearing the same old song, because we all know the ending by now?


Big bidness will get many goodies, middle class will get a lump of coal... just like always...

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

This crap don't work.  GA has been giving away the farm for over a decade to businesses in the form of handouts promising jobs and yet we are last in the country.  The GOP are saps.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

“When we passed the tax reform package here back in 2012, I said at that time that I did not view that as an ending, but just as a significant first step,”


Wanna see the next few steps ?


Look at Kansas. This is going to be a disaster.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@HeadleyLamar As I told Finn, there's a right way to do things and a wrong way.

I'll go ahead and assume you think Georgia legislators will always do it the wrong way. And I'll go ahead and say it doesn't have to be that way.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@HeadleyLamar "And there are right things to do and wrong things to do."

True. But you won't be surprised to learn we disagree about whether tax reform is a "wrong thing to do."

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Kyle_Wingfield @HeadleyLamar As I told Finn, there's a right way to do things and a wrong way.


And there are right things to do and wrong things to do.


If your doing the wrong thing it doesn't matter how "right" you do it.

MANGLER
MANGLER

Pay for bridges by lowering the tax rates on the highest earners!  Because math.

Oh, and continue eviscerating the public school budget.  Because, well, why not.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@MANGLER "Pay for bridges by lowering the tax rates on the highest earners!"

That sounds awfully clever unless you have been paying attention to what they've been discussing.

More likely they'll pay for bridges by raising the gas tax. And then apart from that, there'll be some kind of adjustment of the income tax vs. the sales tax.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@RoadScholar If the income/sales swap is revenue neutral, it's not a net zero. Even if the swap means a slight decrease in taxes, that doesn't necessarily mean it's a net zero.

As you ought to appreciate, what matters to the transportation budget is what happens to the funds constitutionally tied to GDOT.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@Kyle_Wingfield @MANGLER For a net 0 in tax increases? In a state that has cut muscle from the education budget and still can't agree on transportation funding?

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

@Kyle_Wingfield @MANGLER  -- " And then apart from that, there'll be some kind of adjustment of the income tax vs. the sales tax"


Which in laymen terms means, "Bend Over Middle Class - We've Got A Surprise For You".

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@Kyle_Wingfield @RoadScholar Like increasing the sales tax for low wage earners that do not make enough to pay income taxes? Oh that's right they are freeloaders unlike Big Business with record profits getting tax breaks?