HB 208: GA’s Largest Ever Proposed Tax Increase

As Jon reported, Rep. Tom Kirby introduced his “Georgia FairTax Bill,” H.B. 208, in the House Wednesday with visiting members from Georgians for Fair Taxation in attendance. The FairTax is meant to replace income taxes with consumption taxes. Putting aside Fairtax issues of regressivity, there’s a bigger problem with this bill. While it meets the “raise consumption taxes” test, it fails to actually eliminate the income tax.

That’s right: Rep. Kirby and his fellow Georgia GOP co-sponsors have put forth a bill to raise the Georgia sales tax to 7.5% while not dedicating a single section to repealing the state income tax. When you consider how much our sales tax brings in, this means Georgians would face a nearly $5 billion tax increase if H.B. 208 was signed into law as-is. Maybe keeping the income tax was in response to Charlie’s column on how high “FairTax” rates would have to be to still fund our state?

But now that some Georgia Republicans have filed a nearly $5 billion tax hike, it’s fair to say that there’s some room for compromise here. There are less dramatic options to raise enough annual revenue to fully fund K-12 education, expand Medicaid, and put some brand-new revenues behind transportation. Fully-funded schools, half a million more insured, and improved infrastructure – not bad at all for a fraction of the cost to taxpayers as Rep. Kirby’s bill!


  1. jmacs12000 says:

    Fundamental problem with our current government is all elected officials believe they are elected with the purpose of getting something for those that elected them. As long as that paradigm continues, creative minds will continue to try and shift the burden to “someone else”. In the meantime government will continue to grow with decreasing benefits to all.

  2. Newtster says:

    This column MUST be a joke. Apparently a random idiot, a Republican idiot no less, proposes a sales tax increase and the writer dutifully reports that fact. First of all, this is not even close to the largest tax increase ever proposed, that would be the T SPLOST at over $ 19 BILLION. Second, I presume the writer is serious when he reports that the 7.5 percent sales tax will not pass, but what is TOTALLY SICK is the next leap that since a $ 5 BILLION tax increase has been proposed, it should be palatable to “settle” for (politicians call this compromise) a tax increases of a smaller denomination, and that we should all be happy and celebrate that our profligate schools are fully funded, dead beats citizens who refuse to take care of themselves will have FREE health coverage and the politicians will have BILLIONS more to spread around to their cronies and their lobbyists in the road construction business. I don’t know Alex Rowell, but he is either a raging liberal Democrat or he has a diabolical sense of humor. Either way, this column needs to go away to a dark, hidden place.

  3. Pete Gibbons says:

    But it says in the bill summary;

    relating to revenue and taxation, so as to eliminate the state income tax;

      • Salmo says:

        Legislators file bills like this all the time. They’re either companion bills (one wouldn’t be voted on before the other has been passed) or they’re placemarkers to be re-introduced and voted on at some point in the future.

        Besides, if I’m not mistaken, wouldn’t any change in the state income tax require a constitutional amendment? If so, then that has to happen in a resolution (HR) rather than a bill (HB), so there’s no way Rep Kirby could have included language leading to an income tax repeal in HB 208.

        This is some pretty lame “gotcha” journalism. Call me when the bill actually makes it out of committee.

        • John Konop says:

          I am lost….you cannot eliminate income tax without a constructional amendment? Why would he not introduce that first with this as an alternative? Could it be the math does not work in his sales tax bill to replace income tax?

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