The Tag Tax . . .

As mentioned by Erick in this post, the General Assembly is considering scrapping the tag tax.  Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter takes a look at the issue in this AJC opinion piece:

Estimates are it would take about $500 million to eliminate the tag tax on personal vehicles. There are more than 8 million vehicles taxed each year in Georgia, and most of the revenue goes to counties, cities and schools. A House study committee will review the details of such an idea when it meets this summer. It will recommend whether to cut the tax in one year, phase it out or do nothing.

One thing is certain. If the state eliminates this tax, it must be done in a way that doesn’t harm cities, counties or school boards. To prevent local governments from taking a financial hit, we would reimburse local car tag revenue with state surpluses. That’s exactly what the Legislature did a few years ago when it enacted a homestead exemption on residential property. We used state surpluses to reimburse local governments for the tax credit.

I’m no budget guru, but relying on state surpluses to make up for the losses at the local level concerns me.  At some point we’ll again face lean budget times, and those surpluses aren’t going to be there.  That being said, I certainly hope the study committee can find a way to make this work – it will make my birthday much more pleasant. 


  1. Bill Simon says:

    Apparently, this op-ed piece was written by someone other than Mark Burkhalter because all Burkhalter knows how to do is operate off of what his “gut” tells him to do.

  2. UGA Wins 2005 says:

    Another example of those smart guys (sarc) at the state knowing what is best for the local governments and trying to dictate every step. If the local governments want to get rid of the tag tax, they can do it tomorrow. And if the voters think its a great idea, they should convey that to their county commissioners.

    How ludicrous an idea can you get? Sucking up the surplus like this is foolish and dangerous.

  3. Bull Moose says:

    This is just pie in the sky thinking until we can figure out how local governments can make up the difference from the ad valorem taxes… Millner tried this a few years back and it went no where… I think it’s just a gimmick…

  4. JP says:

    This is dubious, I’m with Jason on this one. The surpluses won’t always be there, just look at what’s happened on the Federal level as an example.

  5. Demonbeck says:

    Virginia did it recently, didn’t they? Anyone recall how they went about it?

    Maybe we ought to cut the tax for autos worth less than a certain amount. Would be a good starting point at least.

  6. Bill Simon says:

    What’s this, Demon? You’re actually asking a question that might take research to back-up an idea?

    I’m surprised you just didn’t say “Well, look, the state of Virginia hasn’t declared bankruptcy yet, so it must have worked-out well up there…” 😉

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