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Friday, August 11, 2017

NOTES FROM THE SENATE, AUGUST 11, 2017

JULY REVENUES TRACK FIRST GEORGIA SPACE LAUNCH

State revenues blasted off in July, the first month of the 2018 Fiscal Year, something like the first launch from the Camden County Space launch pad. An overall growth in revenues of 7.1% led the way in a month that historically has been sluggish. State revenues exceed the FY 2018 budget by $74.4 million after one month.

STRONG INCOME TAX MONTH
Individual Income Taxes increased some $80.9 million totaling a 10.4% increase. Within that category, Individual Income Tax Refunds were down $15.5 million or -15.2%. Withholding Tax payments were up $64.9 million or 7.7%. That is always a good measurement of economic growth since it is tied to payroll growth.
Net Sales Taxes were up 5.1% or $24.7 million and Corporate collections were up $13.0 million, mostly from a reduction of $13.5 million in corporate refunds.
Tobacco taxes were up 10.8% and alcoholic beverages declined slightly -0.8%, but those two categories only amount to 2.2% of total revenues. Title Ad Valorem Taxes declined -11.0%

FUEL TAXES SLIP
Motor Fuel Taxes declined slightly in July -0.1%. Highway Impact Fees also declined -38.5% or $429,000. Hotel/motel Fees increased 2.2% or $322,000. Altogether, all Transportation Fees and excise taxes declined by $198,000.

ALL IN ALL - A STRONG START TO FY 2018
Looking back 12 months, the state's revenues are growing at a 4.9% rate. Updating Georgia's comparison to other states revenue numbers using a 12 month trailing average:

Through July
Georgia
4.9%
Texas
2.5%
Alabama
3.0%
Kentucky
1.3%

Through June
Florida
4.5%
Tennessee
3.9%
Mississippi
-0.4%

We do not have June or July numbers for South Carolina (3.2% through May) or North Carolina (2.6% through May).

SENATE DISTRICT 4 COMMUNITIES ELIGIBLE FOR ARTS GRANTS
Every county in the Fourth Senatorial District is eligible to apply for a "Vibrant Communities" Grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts. The "Vibrant Communities" Grant is funded by the Legislature and is specifically intended for small communities to support their efforts to deliver arts programming.

GRANTS UP TO $5000
The grants require a 50% cash match and grants are limited to $5,000 but no less than $1,000. Timing is essential for these grants as applications must be submitted by Aug. 31,
2017.

These arts grants can be used for projects such as: theater, dance or music performances, art exhibits, workshops, readings, murals, sculpture, in-school student programs, arts festivals, and transportation and admission for field trips.

The applying group can be a 501 (c) 3 IRS organization registered with the Secretary of State or a local government, public library, school or college. Fourth Senatorial District counties that are eligible include Bulloch, Candler, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans and Tattnall. Projects must be completed by June 1, 2018.

Full transcripts of bills may be found at http://www.legis.ga.gov/en-US/default.aspx . Simply type the bill number into the box at the top left-hand corner of the screen and specify if it is in the House or the Senate. The FY 2018 budget (H.B. 44) may be found at http://www.senate.ga.gov/sbeo/en-US/AppropriationsDocuments.aspx. As always, I welcome any questions you may have.

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