There is a 127-page bill, House Bill 385, moving through the Georgia Legislature that would, if passed, shift the tax burden drastically on to the backs of consumers. In its opening paragraphs it states that the purpose of the bill is to “implement the recommendations of the 2010 Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians.” ... At least one member of the committee said the bill doesn’t look anything like what they recommended. ...
Needless to say, the bottom line of this bill is to tax everything consumers buy. Name something, anything, from Internet and phone and cable services to haircuts. From landscaping fees to cigarettes (at a higher rate) to auto repair to vehicle sales between individuals. We would pay more tax at the gasoline pump and the grocery store. We would pay a tax on dry cleaning, housekeeping services, tailor, watch repair, garbage pickup, shoe repair and on memberships from health clubs to credit cards. Buy software, ringtones or videos over the Internet, pay a tax. Board your pet or visit the veterinarian, pay a tax. And guess what, it even taxes the water coming into our homes. About the only thing this bill won’t tax is the air we breathe.
There also are various and sundry exemptions that will disappear over time.
All is not gloom, at least for businesses. Georgia is going out of its way to be business friendly. The corporate tax rate will drop to 4 percent by 2014. If a business is being taxed for an out-of-state location, it can write off that amount on its Georgia tax return.
Collecting taxes from an entire new slew of businesses will be expensive and enforcement will be difficult. And while the tax commission said its proposal was revenue neutral, this monstrosity sure doesn’t feel neutral. As Roy Fickling, a member of the tax commission, said, just because exemptions are given doesn’t mean the cost goes away. Somebody’s going to pay — and by design, that would be Georgia consumers.