A closer look at Georgia's money - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

A closer look at Georgia's money

July 13, 2006

Camilla - - Think you're paying too much in property taxes? You're not alone. Lawmakers gathered today in Camilla to see what can be done to make sure you don't pay more than your fair share.

Seven members of the Georgia House, three Senators, and a slew of city and county leaders from across the state. They're meeting to figure out how much money Georgia takes in from local and state government and how to make the most of it. State Representative Richard Royal hosted the meeting.

"There's been a lot of conversation in past years about replacing the property tax for education with a sales tax. That will be part of our study. We're going to have an all inclusive study."

They're studying everything from property taxes, personal income taxes, to general sales tax. Valdosta city manager Larry Hanson says an additional statewide penny sales tax can be beneficial.

"What it would allow us to do is to roll back or cut other taxes that people like less like property taxes."

He made a presentation to the group about local governments and how cities bring in their revenues.

"Most cities have a very diverse revenue stream. They're not very heavy in one area and in fact no city would want to be very high in property taxes, that's a disincentive for economic devlopment."

So as the committee reviews the Georgia Tax Code and suggests revisions, they want to make sure it's helpful for the majority.

"Anytime you change the tax code you shift the tax burden from one class of tax payers to another so we got to be real careful to make sure we don't have unintended consequences."

 Something they're working carefully to do.

Atlanta currently has a Municipal Option Sales Tax or MOST tax to help with the city's renovations to the water and sewer system. That's the penny sales tax Larry Hanson says more cities in Georgia can benefit from.

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