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Bulloch Opinions

State Sen. Jack Hill: State Revenues Chugging Along

March revenues came in at a steady 2.2% net gain for the month, exclusive of the new fuel tax revenues which boosted the overall increase to 6.8%. The State took in a total of $1.53 billion for the month with an overall gain of $98.2 million including fuel taxes. The Individual Income Tax category showed a 12.3% increase as the state continued to catch up on refunds which had been slowed down in February for fraud alerts. Withholding payments were up $102.4 million, or 10.7%, and Refunds were up, understandably, $43.8 million or 8.6%.Net Sales Tax collections were up 4.6%. Corporate Income Taxes were negative at 22.7% with corporate refunds up for the month $43.1 million. Title Ad Valorem Taxes were up 18.3% and tobacco taxes were up 22.1%. Alcoholic beverage taxes gained 10.9%.Motor Fuel Taxes took in a total of $52.1 million consistent with collections the past 4 months. Highway Impact fees took in $1.34 million and Hotel/Motel fees $13.39 million. These three fuel HB 170 categories took in a total of $66.9 million for the month including the 1 cent fuel sales tax transferred from the treasury.
As we see some other states suffer through revenue or budget issues like Kentucky, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Mississippi, Georgia continues its positive pace showing strong gains in revenues as we meet the important budget contingencies like transportation infrastructure. Through three-fourths of the Fiscal Year, Georgia’s state revenues have increased 10.3% and the 12 month trailing average for net revenues is at 6.4%. At the end of March with only 3 months to go, state revenues are exceeding the amount budgeted by some $537.9 million!Year-to-Date, total state revenues exceed $15.2 billion with an overall gain of $1.42 billion inclusive of transportation fees.Individual Income Taxes, Georgia’s major source of revenue, shows a 9.9% increase or $691.8 million. Net Sales Taxes are somewhat flat at 0.4% and Corporate Income Taxes are also flat at -0.1%.Title Ad Valorem Taxes are up 15%. Tobacco and Alcoholic Beverages taxes are up 3.2% and 3.4 % respectively.
Even though there was a one month delay in showing receipts from HB 170, the revenues from the bill have come in at about the rate expected. Excise Taxes show YTD a total of $454.3 million, Impact Fees show $10.2 million and Hotel/Motel Fees total $105.9 million, for a total of $570.5 million for the 9 months.
Following the appropriation of $758.7 million in new transportation funding from HB 170 in the 2016 Amended Budget, the FY 2017 General Budget likewise will appropriate some $1.66 billion for transportation construction and maintenance of Georgia’s highways and transportation infrastructure. About $655 million of the transportation appropriation is derived from a combination of the fuel excise tax converted in HB 170 and Impact Fees and Hotel/Motel Fees. Also included in the new transportation funds is about $180 million being transferred from the state treasury coming from the 1 cent sales tax on fuel that will now go to transportation instead of into the general budget. Here is how the Appropriations Bill proposes to spend these new funds in DOT:
  • Capital Construction Projects-$475.0 million
  • Capital Maintenance Projects- $68.1 million
  • Construction Administration- $12.6 million
  • Departmental Administration- $8.4 million
  • Intermodal- $1.5 million
  • Local Maintenance and Improvement Grants- $41.0 million
  • Planning- $224,432
  • Routine Maintenance- $204.7 million
  • Traffic Management and Control- $3.7 million
Including the new HB 170 funds above, FY 2017 budgets a total of $1.660 billion DOT funds along with $54.4 million in state funds for a total of $1.714 billion. Also, there is $100 million in bonds for the second year for statewide bridge repairs, along with a state-owned rail line improvement package totaling $8.3 million.
Full transcripts of bills may be found at Simply type the bill number into the box at the top left-hand corner of the screen and specify if it is in the House or the Senate. The FY 2017 budget (H.B. 751) may be found at As always, I welcome any questions you may have.
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