Wednesday, at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s annual Eggs and Issues legislative preview event, Governor Brian Kemp touted Georgia’s “unprecedented economic success during a global pandemic” and highlighted several proposals his office would put forward during the 2022 legislative session.
The Governor announced his administration’s plans to provide a $1.6 billion tax refund to all Georgia taxpayers, introduce legislation to exempt retirement income for veterans residing in the Peach State, and ensure at least ninety percent of tuition for HOPE Scholarship recipients at all public post-secondary education institutions is covered by the scholarship program.
Below are excerpts from the Governor’s prepared remarks.
On his administration’s plan to provide a $250 refund to single tax filers and $500 to those filing jointly:
“At the state-level, that success has meant record revenues, and as Governor, I believe we should continue to fund our priorities as a state – education, healthcare, and public safety… but also be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
“Last fiscal year, because we kept Georgia open and fought alongside you all in this room to keep businesses and communities afloat, the state collected a record budget surplus. I believe that when government takes in more money than it needs, surplus funds should be sent back to the hardworking men and women who keep our state moving forward.
“Because that is your money. Not the governments.
“That is why my Amended FY22 budget proposal authorizes the Department of Revenue to provide $1.6 billion in refunds to every taxpayer in Georgia. Under my plan, every citizen filing their income taxes this April will receive a refund credit ranging from $250 for single filers to $500 for joint filers. As Georgians seek to recover from the economic impact of a global pandemic, we as state leaders should do everything we can to empower families to keep more of their money in their own wallets.”
On fulfilling his commitment to exempting military retirement income from state income tax:
“These men and women deserve more than our words of appreciation, even though we have many to give. They deserve action that shows our gratitude. One of the key points of my platform has been to enact a retirement-income exclusion for retired military.
“And thanks to the hard work of leaders under the Gold Dome these last few years – work that put our state in a position to invest in our citizens – I’m proud to announce that my team will introduce legislation this session to make this tax exclusion a reality for Georgia’s retired military!”
On raising HOPE Scholarship award rates to at least 90% in all public post-secondary education institutions:
“Additionally, we know the HOPE scholarship and grant programs have helped millions of Georgians afford their post-secondary educations, and as tuition has increased at some institutions, the program must keep pace.
“My budget proposal allocates an additional $25 million to fund growth in scholarship and grant needs and ensure that HOPE programs cover at least 90% of tuition at all Georgia public higher education institutions. For eight straight years, Georgia’s economy has been unmatched across the country and it’s our responsibility to develop a workforce that furthers that success.
“By cutting costs for students and their families, we can achieve that goal.”