Republican state lawmakers considering ways to reform Georgia’s tax code are looking at taxing groceries. A joint committee on tax reform discussed the idea Monday in preparation for the upcoming legislative session.
Lawmakers leading the charge on tax reform want to cut taxes, including an energy tax that manufacturers pay.
Republicans don’t plan to generate new revenue for the state through the proposed changes. And they say re-instating the grocery sales tax is the best way to offset the cuts.
Senate President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams says it’s fairer than other taxes.
“Everyone pays – people who come across the state line, tourists, illegals, anybody working for cash. They would all pay it and give the break to people paying [income] taxes, those that are taken out of their check once a week or at the end of the year,” he said to the committee.
But Democrats say a food tax would hurt lower-income residents. Sen. Steve Henson, a Tucker Democrat, says instead the committee should considering lifting current tax breaks.
“To look at all those $1.6 billion in tax subsidies or breaks in a true, critical analysis to see whether they create jobs would be the best way to fund an energy sales tax exemption,” he said.
Lawmakers also discussed raising the cigarette tax.
A special tax council recommended re-instating the grocery tax earlier this year, but lawmakers rejected the idea.
The 2012 legislative session begins January 9th.