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Friday, July 12, 2019

NOTES FROM THE SENATE, JULY 12, 2019

YEAR-END REVENUES MOSTLY POSITIVE

June marks the end of the state's 12 month fiscal year. June's report showed a gain of 7.4%, an increase of $146.04 million for the month. After a topsy turvy year of up and down revenue reports, June's report pushed the total revenue increase to over one billion dollars on total revenues of $22.7 billion.

JUNE REVENUES GOOD BUT SPOTTY

Individual Income Taxes in June were very good at 10.2% increase showing refunds down $71.9 million while estimated payments increased $10.3 million and Individual Non- Resident payments increased $24.6 million. Withholding payments decreased $23 million. Corporate Taxes continued an excellent year increasing $43.1 million in June.

SALES TAXES CONTINUE STRONG REPORT

Net Sales taxes wound up an excellent year with a 4.0% increase totaling $20.4 million. Title Ad Valorem Taxes showed -$10.8 million while Title Tag and Fees were negative -$4.1 million. Tobacco Taxes were down $-9.1 while alcoholic beverages were positive 5.3%.

MOTOR FUEL TAXES/FEES INCREASE 2.4%

The fuel elements increased $4.2 million with impact fees slightly negative.

NAIL-BITING YEAR ENDS WELL

In the old time radio show, the announcer would ask threatening questions and query, "Who Knows?" and answer the rhetorical question, "The Shadow Knows!" Well, if there is any expert who can explain completely the last 12 months of Georgia's revenue record and provide an analysis that makes sense, I will certainly tip my hat to him.

Georgia's revenues have run the gamut the past 12 months. We saw three months come in negative. We had one tremendously negative month and then in April had a blockbuster month that wiped away all our cares...

FY 2019- ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL?

The numbers for FY 2019 are excellent:
Total Revenues $23.7 Billion
Percentage Increase 4.8%
Net Increase $1.086 Billion

FY 2019- INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAXES UP 4.6%

This category is probably the one category that causes some concern. The increase of 4.6% is a positive increase but does not demonstrate vibrant growth. Of course, given the fact that state withholding rates now reflect a reduction in the state income tax rate, maybe that increase should be celebrated.

VERY POSITIVE NUMBERS

FY 2019 will be remembered for some excellent category increases. Here are some of those:
Corporate Income Returns 26.6% Increase $266.9 Million
Net Sales Taxes 5.3% Increase $313.7 Million
Alcoholic Beverages 1.6% Increase $3.0 Million

SOME "NOT SO GOOD" FY 2019 NUMBERS

Title Ad Valorem Taxes -5.6% Decrease -$51.2 Million
Tag, Title and Fees -2.6% Decrease -$10.4 Million
Tobacco Taxes -0.7% Decrease -$1.5 Million

FY 2019- FUEL TAXES/FEES BREAK TWO BILLION

Total Revenues $2.033 Billion
Increase $42.7 Million
2.1%

So, in this time of a booming economy, low unemployment, solid job growth and growing income, you would expect state revenues to grow satisfactorily and that appears to be precisely where we are.

Yes, revenue reports are boring and probably you, my faithful reader, roll your eyes when I publish this information. But when you read of another state having financial difficulties or failing to make budget or failing to pass a budget, you can be thankful to live in Georgia and for the smooth process we have had in serving citizens through the state budget.
But the budget depends on tax collections and it is the state's responsibility to collect and report to you. So, it's important, I think, to share this information with you, even if it is just a "thumbs up or thumbs down "takeaway for you.

The FY 2020 budget (H.B. 31) 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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