On Monday, the Governor’s Office announced that tax collections in July 2016 were up from July of the previous year. Net tax collections totaled $1.61 billion, an increase of 1.7 percent. Despite the overall increase, there were significant declines in individual income tax revenue, which was down by 7 percent, and corporate income tax revenue, which was down over 70 percent. Hold the pitchforks though. The large decline in collections is not due to preferential treatment for the wealthy and business interests. New fraud detection measures from the Department of Revenue delayed tax refunds this year, so many taxpayers and businesses are just now receiving the wages and incomes withheld by the state government last year. The refunds cancelled out most of the state’s incoming revenue.
July 2016 marks the one-year anniversary of HB 170 going into effect. HB 170 was the $900 million transportation funding bill passed by the General Assembly in 2015. It raised the gas tax by six cents a gallon, cut the tax break for electric vehicles, and imposed a new $5 fee on hotel rooms. This July we saw a $146.1 million in gas tax collections, a $56 million increase from last year. This is probably because Georgians spent more time on the roads this summer. A gallon of gas was roughly 70 cents cheaper than it was last July.
Sales tax collections increased by $11.9 million and title ad valorem collections increased by $15.6 million. Motor vehicle tag and title fee collections decreased by $2.9 million.