“Medicaid members are best served when they have ready access to providers, insurers are eager to resolve their health care needs, and policymakers exercise strong oversight to ensure members’ health…
Georgians for a Healthy Future recently joined 2020 Georgia—a broad alliance of community leaders and organizations—as an alliance partner. While members of 2020 Georgia range from small, community-based nonprofits to large, statewide organizations, all share the common goal of a balanced approach to state budget and revenue solutions that meet the short and long-term needs of our state and its people. In advance of the first meeting of the 2010 Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians, which has a charge to study the tax system and report to the General Assembly in January 2011, 2020 Georgia released a fact sheet on why tax reform matters for Georgia. It is below in its entirety.
Why Tax Reform Matters
Georgia has long been a leader in creating a healthy environment for economic growth through innovative investments. These efforts have included universal pre-K and college scholarships; internationally-renowned seaport and air transportation infrastructure; health coverage for children through PeachCare for Kids; and 21st century post-secondary instruction and skills advancement through technical colleges, universities, and QuickStart.
But today times are tough. The economy is beginning to come out of a deep recession, unemployment is still far above normal levels, and hundreds of thousands of Georgia families struggle to make ends meet. Like other states, Georgia has seen an unprecedented drop in the revenues needed for the investments the state must make to stay on top.
Georgia’s crisis is compounded by having an outdated, flawed tax system.
Georgia’s tax structure dates to the 1930s, when the state’s economy was based on agriculture and manufacturing. Since then the makeup of the state’s economy has changed dramatically, and so have individual spending habits. Our tax system hasn’t kept pace. And a variety of tax breaks given without regard to their productivity, further weaken the system – and stifle investment in our future. As a result, revenue from the state’s income, sales, and business taxes has not kept pace with the overall growth of Georgia’s economy.
To make sure Georgia has the resources to support our quality of life and essential services, we must reform our tax system.
A growing share of the state’s economic activity is not subject to taxes. So what is taxed is taxed at a higher rate. By broadening the range of our major taxes (income, sales, and business) to better reflect today’s economy, we can create a system that grows with our economy and our needs.
The time for tax reform is now.
The legislature created the 2010 Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians to study the tax system and provide recommendations to the General Assembly in January 2011. By giving this process careful consideration, state leaders have the opportunity to design a tax system that will help Georgia meet its current challenges and ensure prosperity for future generations.
Georgia faces unprecedented economic challenges. But these challenges offer a unique opportunity to build an even stronger, more prosperous state. By investing in our families, in our resources, and in our existing assets, we can create the potential for the renewed prosperity of our state.
2020 Georgia is a broad alliance of community leaders and organizations. Our common goal is to promote a balanced approach to budget and revenue solutions that meet the short and long-term needs of our state and its people. Visit us at www.2020georgia.org.