Coronavirus sends state tax revenues reeling  

By Dave Williams
Bureau Chief
Capitol Beat News Service

ATLANTA – As expected, the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic sent state revenues plunging last month.
The Georgia Department of Revenue collected nearly $1.84 billion in April, a 35.9% drop compared to April of last year. Tax revenues for the first 10 months of this fiscal year are 3.4% below the comparable year-to-date total for fiscal 2019.
Revenue agency officials attributed the sagging revenues in part to the coronavirus-related decision to postpone state tax payment deadlines from April 15 until July 15.
Individual income tax collections last month fell by $732 million, or 46.2%. Both tax payments and refunds issued decreased sharply.
Net sales tax collections also declined by 14.3% as Georgia’s economy shut down, with businesses closing and laying off employees.
Corporate income taxes were down 70.6% last month, driven largely by a 78.3% decrease in tax return payments.
Members of the Georgia House Appropriations Committee will be confronted with those dismal revenue numbers when they meet Thursday for the first time since the 2020 General Assembly was suspended in mid-March because of COVID-19.
The state is facing an estimated budget shortfall for fiscal 2021 of $3 billion to $4 billion. Working with state Senate budget writers, the House panel will have to find ways to cut spending across the board by 14%, far deeper than the 6% reductions Gov. Brian Kemp ordered last summer to address slow revenue growth that was plaguing the state well before the coronavirus pandemic began.

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