Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (right) traveled to his chief opponent’s hometown this week on April 26 to sign into law the recently approved income tax relief bill with large bipartisan majorities in the Georgia Legislative Assembly. The tax cut enacted by Governor Kemp will move Georgia from a progressive income tax with a top rate of 5.75% to a flat income tax of 4.99% by 2029.
“This is designed to put more money in the pockets of hard-working Georgians,” Governor Kemp told attendees of the bill-signing event, held at the White Diamond Grill in Bonaire, in Georgia.
“This is a historic moment in Georgia,” said Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (right), who chairs the Georgia Senate Finance Committee. “This is only the second reduction in the income tax rate since it was introduced in 1937. This is something to be proud of.
Congresswoman Nikema Williams (D), who is chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, responded to the bill’s signing by criticizing the tax relief enacted by Kemp:
“Brian Kemp’s move to a flat income tax is a boon to the wealthy and is consistent with his record of serving the wealthy and well-connected while leaving working Georgians behind by opposing expansion. of Medicaid and cutting funding for public schools,” Williams said.
Yet 84 of 99 Georgia House and Senate Democrats voted in favor of what their party chairman now calls “a boon to the rich.”
“Many of my caucus colleagues voted no on this bill, but once the bill is improved, many of us are voting yes to give Georgians back their hard-earned money,” House Minority Whip David said. Wilkerson (D), explaining why nearly every member of the Democratic House caucus voted in favor of the new flat tax.
To address revenue concerns, the phased reduction in state income tax will be based on meeting revenue triggers. Each year that state revenue collection increases by less than 3%, the reduction in the income tax rate will be halted.
Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee who is seeking Governor Kemp in November, won’t say whether she supports the state’s new income tax cut that nearly all Democratic lawmakers in Georgia voted for, or if she rather shares the opinion of the president of the Democratic Party of Georgia. . All of Georgia’s media was unable to get Abrams’ take on the recently enacted income tax cut. This author contacted the Abrams campaign to ask for their opinion on the matter. While her campaign acknowledged the question, Ms Abrams declined to answer.
Although Stacey Abrams won’t tell voters how she feels about the state income tax cut she and other Georgians just received, Abrams is trying to tie Governor Kemp to a tax hike. recently launched by US Senator Rick Scott (R-FL).
In a Tweeter Criticizing Senator Scott’s proposal, Abrams wrote, “US Senator Rick Scott leads GOP effort to take over Senate + promises to raise taxes on 40% of Georgians if successful.” My GOP opponent – Kemp or Perdue or? – welcome him and keep silence.
As Abrams tries to tie Kemp to a federal tax hike proposed by the junior senator from Florida, she decided she was going to keep quiet and didn’t need to tell voters what was going on. she was thinking of the recently approved income tax cut. .
It will be much stranger if Abrams, in his bid for state office, tries to tie Governor Kemp to a federal tax hike that no Republican besides Rick Scott currently supports. The Washington Post fact-checker recently gave Biden’s White House three Pinocchios for its attempt to cast Senator Scott’s proposal as an official Republican plan.
“Scott is a Republican, and he’s in Congress and part of the GOP leadership,” wrote Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post’s fact-checker. “But his snippet of the idea, as it stands, cannot be called a ‘Congress Republican’ plan. No legislation was drafted and no other Republican lawmakers announced support.
As Kessler pointed out, “not a single other Republican in Congress has passed Scott’s specific tax proposal.” If this is a bridge too far to tie all Republicans in Congress to Senator Scott’s proposal, as even the Washington Post has judged to be the case, then it is even more of a stretch to try to attack a state-level office holder on a federal senator’s proposal.
Given that Abrams thinks it makes sense to criticize Governor Kemp over a federal proposal by another state’s junior senator, which hasn’t even been introduced as legislation, Abrams’ campaign may be inclined to weigh in. on other federal tax proposals. When asked if Abrams supports Senate Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D) renewed efforts to raise taxes, Abrams’ campaign declined to comment. Abrams also declined to say whether she agreed with Schumer’s recent remark that repealing the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, the 2017 tax reform bill, is the only way to get inflation under control.
Does Abrams support or oppose the income tax cut Governor Kemp signed this week? Would Abrams have voted for the income tax cut if she was still in the Legislature like most Democratic state legislators? If she was already governor, would Abrams have signed or vetoed the income tax cut? If elected in November, will Abrams seek to repeal or maintain the income tax cut? No one knows the answers to these questions and Abrams doesn’t think she owes it to Georgia voters to tell them.
When she last ran for governor four years ago, Governor Nathan Deal signed income tax legislation into law. Abrams spoke out against that 2018 income tax cut, only to later clarify that she would not repeal it if elected governor.
As things stand, Stacey Abrams apparently thinks it’s fair to attack Governor Kemp over a federal proposal that isn’t supported by any other Republican lawmakers other than Rick Scott and, as such , is going nowhere. Meanwhile, Abrams remains silent on the tax hikes imposed by his party’s Senate leadership. Likewise, Abrams remains mum on whether she would maintain the state income tax cut recently enacted by Governor Kemp, or if she would try to repeal it if elected in November. If Abrams is this opaque about major policy decisions right now, some Georgia voters will likely wonder how transparent Abrams would be once in office.