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Georgia's April Tax Revenue Down $1 Billion As Coronavirus' Economic Toll Continues

State lawmakers will grapple with a state budget for next fiscal year that will see steep cuts because of the coronavirus.
State lawmakers will grapple with a state budget for next fiscal year that will see steep cuts because of the coronavirus.

Georgia's tax collections for the month of April were down more than $1 billion from last year, signaling a budgetary shortfall that could force state agencies to slash already lean budgets by more than 10% for the next fiscal year.

Gov. Brian Kemp's office said the state's net tax collections totaled about $1.84 billion, 36% lower than April 2019's $2.87 billion.

The year-to-date tax collections are $19.23 billion dollars to cover an amended fiscal year budget that ends June 30 of $27.3 billion dollars. Last year, the year-to-date tax collections were $19.91 billion.

The House and Senate Appropriations chairmen instructed state agency heads to prepare budget proposals with cuts of 14% from their original fiscal year 2020 budget as a worst-case scenario for the state's economy that has been wrecked by increasing unemployment and a shuttered economy during the height of state restrictions.

RELATED: Kemp Warns Of 'Brutal' Budget Cuts, Defends Coronavirus Response

Individual income tax collection drove most of the downturn, coming in nearly three quarters of a billion dollars under last year's collections, as well as drops in sales tax and corporate income tax collections.  

In an interview with GPB News last week, Kemp said the upcoming budget process would be "brutal" and that no agency would be spared from cuts in spending.

 "Now this is going to be a brutal budget environment that we're in," he said. "In Georgia, we have a constitutional amendment that says we have to balance our budget, so we can't spend more than we take in. So these cuts are going to the bone unless something happens with federal funding."

The House appropriations committee is holding a virtual meeting Thursday morning to begin the process of hashing out a spending plan before lawmakers eventually return to the Captiol to finish the 2020 legislative session.

That meeting will be livestreamed here

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