Gov. Kemp unveils tax break proposals, Abrams critical

Gov. Brian Kemp announced plans Thursday afternoon to give roughly $2 billion back to Georgia taxpayers thanks to a record budget surplus.

The state currently has about $5 billion in excess funds.

"I believe that isn't the government's money," said Gov. Kemp.  "It's yours and our job isn't to spend it all just because we can."

In a news conference at the state Capitol, Kemp outlined plans for another round of about $1 billion in income tax rebates, similar to those state lawmakers approved earlier this year: 

  • $250 for single filers
  • $375 for heads of household with dependents
  • $500 for joint filers

The governor also said he would like to allocate about $1 billion to give property owners a "Georgia Homeowner Rebate."  Homeowners would save between 15 and 25% on their property tax bill, which would average around $500.  The rebate would only be for those who receive a regular homestead exemption.  


The state would send the money to the local jurisdiction so that local governments and schools would not go without that money.

"As home prices skyrocket across the country, local property tax bills here in Georgia are hitting homeowners especially hard.  For families struggling to make ends meet, I know that higher bills in the mail can force cutting back on other household necessities.  For young Georgians just getting settled into their first home or parents who are sending their kids off to college, unforeseen jumps in property values and local tax bills over the last year only add to the uncertain times that we are in," Gov. Kemp said.  

Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is running against Kemp, proposed a similar income tax rebate last month, though her proposal would not have provided rebates to high income Georgians.  

"I will use our once-in-a-generation surplus to solve foundational challenges, not buy election year goodwill," Abrams said.  "It's why I have already proposed that we deliver stimulus checks to Georgians making $250,000 or less instead of paying off the property taxes of mansion owners and millionaires."


Abrams made those remarks during her "Georgia Thrives" economic address Tuesday night.  She called the $5 billion state surplus a "generational opportunity" to invest in Georgia and said she would like to use the money to expand Medicaid, increase workforce development, invest in rural broadband and grow small businesses.

Gov. Kemp would not say if he had plans for the other $3 billion or so in surplus funds.  

"We want to give you, the citizens, your money back, because it's going to be more than we just need to spend on wasteful projects.  This is one-time money.  If you build new government programs with one-time money, it's not going to be there the next year and she's not going to be able to pay for all the plans that she is putting out there without raising your taxes and that is a fact," said Kemp.

Abrams, however, insisted her plans will not require tax increases.

The earliest Georgians could see the governor's proposed tax breaks would be in early 2023, because the legislature must approve them first.