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Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 9:48am

Tax Code Overhaul Closer

Overhauling Georgia’s tax system is the aim of a bill Governor Sonny Perdue signed today. It establishes a tax reform council that he’ll sit on.

The council made up mostly of economists and business leaders will put recommendations on how to change the state’s current tax system in legislators’ hands by next session.

Sarah Beth Gehl with the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute says a rewrite is needed.

"Our tax system has been in place for decades," says Gehl. "The income tax was put in place 1930’s, the sales tax in the 1950’s and they really no longer reflect the economy we have here in Georgia."

Jeffrey Humphreys is one of four economists who will sit on the panel; he says his top priority will be to stabilize the revenue stream.

"What we have right now is a revenue flow that exaggerates the peaks and valleys of the business cycle," says Humphreys," and that makes it very difficult to budget effectively because we do not have a steady state economy."

Humphreys says broadening the sales tax to include groceries and more services would help, while giving tax relief in other areas.

Whatever recommendations the entire council comes up with… they’ll go nearly unchanged to the house and senate floor for an up or down vote.

The law was written that way to ensure some legislative action is taken on the council’s work.

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