(The Center Square) — Georgia isn’t immune to the highest inflation in decades, and local pundits say the federal government is at least partly to blame.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 1.3% in June and 9.1% over the last 12 months. Both increases are seasonally adjusted.
“There is no doubt that the trillions of dollars of deficit spending from Washington D.C. over the last few years has contributed to the painful inflation Georgians are experiencing,” Tony West, deputy state director for the Americans for Prosperity–GA, told The Center Square. “State leaders should learn from this painful lesson, and resist the calls from some who call for huge spending programs after the recent announcement of a large budget surplus from the 2022 fiscal year.
“Leaders should be looking for ways to ease the tax burden on taxpayers to reduce the pain of higher prices directly linked to irresponsible government spending,” West added.
Meanwhile, Erik Randolph, the Georgia Center for Opportunity’s director of research, said the country might not have even reached peak inflation, and federal lawmakers should consider a new approach to fix inflation.
“This new inflation reading ranks among the worst monthly inflation rates in U.S. history, and the worst in recent history,” Randolph said in a statement. “We have to go back to March 1980 — the last year of the [President Jimmy] Carter administration — to find a higher monthly inflation rate.
“The bottom line is that we may not have reached peak inflation, and there’s no telling how long the price level crisis will persist,” Randolph added. “Meanwhile, the rhetoric from the White House and Congress will do little to rectify the situation. There needs to be new thinking within the Washington Beltway.”
Merchant Maverick recently ranked Georgia among the states most impacted by inflation. According to the finding, the Peach State experienced the fourth highest impact from inflation, trailing only Louisiana, Florida and Tennessee.
The National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Optimism Index, released on Tuesday, found small business expectations for future conditions hit an all-time low. More than a third of owners (34%) said inflation was the top problem in operating their business, NFIB said.
“Inflation and supply chain disruptions are taking a toll on small businesses everywhere, but Georgia has been fortunate to have strong leadership during this economic crisis,” NFIB’s Georgia state director Nathan Humphrey said in a statement. “Decisive measures such as suspending the state’s fuel tax have helped by relieving some of the financial pressure on our small businesses.”
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor