Political Insider

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GOP gov candidate vows to eliminate income tax for military

Republican Michael Williams said he would eliminate the state income tax for active duty and retired military members if he was elected governor, a move that his campaign estimated would cost at least $200 million.

“While we may receive positive lip service, we know the establishment of both parties will fight this at every turn," Williams said. "Eliminating Georgia’s income tax for everyone is a top priority for my campaign. A sensible place to start is with military pay."

The proposal is not likely to get very far during next year's legislative session. House and Senate leaders couldn't broker an agreement on tax cuts last year, and Gov. Nathan Deal urged candidates running to succeed him to resist the "temptation" of broader changes to the tax system that could jeopardize the state's revenue base.

Williams campaign manager Seth Weathers said the tax cuts would cost between $200 million to $300 million and that "simply freezing the budget" would help pay for the cost.

But it's not as simple as that. Our AJC colleague James Salzer reports that the state takes in an extra $700 million to $900 million in tax collections every year, but much of that increase is taken up by growing enrollment in K-12 schools and universities, the rising cost of Medicaid and increased costs to the state's pension system.

As a result, Deal's office recently warned state agencies , there's little room left for discretionary spending in the state's budget.

Insider's note: This item was ripped from the Morning Jolt.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.