I’m a fiscal conservative. So when I hear about the possibility of collecting more revenue for the government without raising taxes, I get a bit excited. We are squeezed for cash in Georgia, even though it seems that we have afforded to spend money on things such as boat ramps and horse parks. Still, the budget is a major issue and narrowing a budget gap is crucial to the health of the state.
So how does Georgia get money without raising taxes, levies, fees, fines, etc.? Enter Rep. Larry O’Neal and Rep. David Knight. The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee have introduced legislation that would allow the state to identify businesses that have local licenses to operate but do not pay sales taxes to the state.
It’s a simple-sounding prospect that O’Neal said he believes could conservatively return $100 million to state coffers “and it could be two to three times that. That’s my estimation.”…Sales taxes would not be raised under this plan.
O’Neal and Knight got the idea to plug the holes in tax collection from an ongoing pilot project in Hall County that found
“nearly 1,000 businesses in that single North Georgia county that did not have sales tax numbers, meaning those businesses were not properly collecting or reporting sales tax collections to the state. Another 600-plus businesses were found not to have a license from the county or local government.”
Efficiency in government is huge. Collecting taxes that are already levied just makes sense. Why we haven’t done this already is beyond me, but, much like the Little Dutch Boy, Georgia needs to plug up the holes in the budget. Every dollar needs to be accounted for. This seemingly simple legislation should make sure that sales taxes are collected and render more revenue for the state.