Gov. Kemp announces refunds

Kemp Vows To Return Portion of Budget Surplus to Georgians

Explainer
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
POLITICS & POLICY
TAXES,MONEY & GOVERNMENT
3 min read
483 words
Tammy Joyner
Aug 14, 2022

The Gist

That new sofa or those new set of tools you’ve been eyeing may soon be within your household budget’s reach.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced last week $2 billion in homeowner and income tax rebates for Georgians next year to help offset continuing hikes in food, gas and inflation. 

The rebates are expected to come from an unprecedented budgetary surplus - the result of a thriving economy and federal stimulus money.

What’s happening

The Peach state ended its fiscal year in June with a $5 billion surplus. That’s in addition to the $2.3 billion reported in the previous year. Georgia also has a $4.3 billion rainy-day fund.

So Georgia is swimming in cash and state officials are trying to figure out what to do with it.

Illustration of Georgia's $5B budget surplus by Brittney Phan for State Affairs.
Click image to read: "Georgia’s Record $5B Budget Surplus Sets Up High Stakes Legislative Session" (Credit: Brittney Phan for State Affairs)

Why it matters 

Under Kemp’s proposed rebate, a single filer can expect a total of $750 in tax and homeowner rebates. A head of household will get a total of about $875 from the two rebates and the average married couple filing jointly will get about $1,000, according to officials. 

“Georgians have been through some challenging times in the past couple of years,” Kemp said last week at a news conference at the Capitol. “The state now has a record budget surplus but I believe that isn’t the government’s money, it’s yours.” 

Kemp said the rebates would “build upon” a previous giveback distributed earlier this year from last year’s $2.3 billion surplus, which is mostly federal COVID-19 relief money.

In March, the governor signed a bill to give $1.1 billion in state income refunds to Georgians - roughly between $250 and  $500 to people who filed tax returns for 2020 and 2021.

A State Affairs’ analysis done in June found that Georgia’s extra money could go toward hiring more K-12 teachers, fixing roads or filling taxpayers’ wallets.

Gov. Brian Kemp signing the FY-2023 state budget on May 12, 2022. (Credit: Office of Gov. Brian Kemp)
Click the image to read about what $5 billion in surplus could pay for in Georgia's state budget. (Credit: Office of Gov. Brian Kemp)

What’s next?

The windfall isn’t a given. It’s contingent on Kemp being re-elected in November. Then, the General Assembly must approve the plan when it convenes early next year. Kemp then would need to sign the plan into law. 

Kemp unveiled his plan days after Democratic gubernatorial challenger Stacey Abrams announced her economic plan.  Abrams has said the surplus should go to education, roads, law enforcement, small business financing and rural communities. She has proposed using $1 billion of the surplus to expand Medicaid and give raises to teachers, state police and prison guards.

Join the Conversation

What would you like to know about tax refunds and Georgia’s budget surplus? Let us know on TWITTER or FACEBOOK. Email: tammy@stateaffairs.com or reach out on Twitter: @lvjoyner.

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