ATLANTA – Georgia hauled in $3.2 billion more in taxes during the last fiscal year – a period dominated by a worldwide pandemic – than it brought in during fiscal 2020, Gov. Brian Kemp reported Monday.
That represented a 13.5% increase in tax revenues during fiscal 2021, which ended June 30.
Kemp attributed the strong revenue numbers to his decision to reopen the state’s pandemic-stricken economy sooner than many other states while still protecting public health.
“Thanks to our work alongside the General Assembly to budget conservatively and protect both lives and livelihoods throughout a global pandemic, Georgia remains on solid financial footing,” the governor said.
“The COVID-19 crisis highlighted the importance of states living within their means, and Georgia did so without widespread layoffs, tax hikes, furloughs or drastic cuts to essential services. … State leaders worked together to fund our priorities of education, health care, and public safety – all while cutting taxes.”
Net tax receipts of $26.9 billion during fiscal 2021 leaves the state sitting on a large surplus that, along with $4.8 billion in federal COVID-19 relief, promises to make spending decisions easier for Kemp and his staff as they put together budget recommendations for the next fiscal year.
That’s a far cry from last year, when the early stages of the pandemic forced Georgia businesses to close and lay off workers, sending tax collections plummeting. The budget the General Assembly adopted in June of last year imposed 10% spending cuts on state agencies across the board.
However, the reductions weren’t as steep as had been feared. With the impact of the pandemic on tax collections not as dire as had been expected, lawmakers were able to avoid furloughing teachers or state employees and plug gaps in state funding with federal dollars.