Georgia’s Kemp seeks tax breaks, refuting Abrams on economy


Georgia Governor Brian Kemp speaks on the economy July 29, 2022 in McDonough, Georgia. The Republican incumbent is offering additional state income tax refunds and property tax relief as part of his re-election campaign. (AP Photo/Megan Varner, File)


Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp will unveil his first major policy proposals of his re-election bid on Thursday, promising another state income tax refund and renewed tax relief long-dormant state landlord while taking on Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams over who is best for the state’s economy. .

After Abrams argued this week that “avaricious” Republicans are denying basic services and ignoring inequality in pursuit of low spending and tax cuts for the wealthy, Kemp has begun to swing against Abrams as it was celebrating record economic development figures on Wednesday.

“If anyone wants to suggest that we’re not providing jobs and opportunities to everyone in this state, they should get the facts straight before they comment on things they just don’t understand,” Kemp said. .

Abrams is looking to gain ground against an incumbent Republican she is trailing in the polls in a crucial swing state. The challenger argues that not only Kemp’s fiscal policies, but also his support for abortion restrictions, loose gun laws and even tighter controls on what is taught in schools threaten growth. a state economy of $683 billion.

Kemp is sticking to the script Georgia Republicans have followed in 20 years in office. He will tell voters on Thursday that if they re-elect him he will seek a second round of income tax refunds like the $1.1 billion in payments issued this year, according to a Kemp campaign official familiar with the plans that spoke on condition of anonymity. This year’s payments gave dual-income households $500, single adults with dependents $375 and single adults $250.

The governor will also seek to revive property tax relief that succumbed in 2009 amid the state’s fiscal crisis caused by the Great Recession, the official said while previewing Kemp’s announcement. The tax break, created by Democrat Roy Barnes in 1999, cost the state $428 million in its final year in 2008, saving homeowners $200 to $300 on tax bills.

Kemp said Wednesday he wanted to “help Georgians fight more against 40-year-old high inflation and the extremely high costs our citizens are facing,” focusing on the unpopularity of Democratic President Joe Biden.

Kemp can dole out cash because Georgia’s coffers are big. The state posted a surplus of about $5 billion in the year that ended June 30, with more than $2 billion in surplus still accumulated from the previous year.

The governor also repeatedly renewed five-month gasoline tax relief. His administration plans to dip into the surplus to channel the money into road building in place of the $750 million already lost in fuel taxes. Kemp also signed a state income tax cut that begins in 2024 and could potentially cut taxes by more than $2 billion.

Abrams has already called for another round of income tax refunds. She also called on Kemp to suspend the gas tax until the end of 2022 and pledged not to try to roll back the income tax cut, even as she criticizes the benefits for people. rich.

“While Brian Kemp follows Stacey Abrams’ lead in calling for tax cuts, he still pursues an extreme and dangerous agenda that threatens Georgian families and puts our economy at risk,” the spokesperson said. Abrams, Alex Floyd.

Kemp accuses Abrams of supporting his policies only because they are popular.

“She criticized all of these things before she came out and supports them now,” he said.

Abrams criticized the property tax relief in a speech Tuesday, calling it “paying property taxes for mansion owners and millionaires.” The Census Bureau says 66% of Georgians own homes, but Abrams focuses on housing affordability and the Kemp administration’s stuttered payment of federal COVID-19 assistance to renters.

Kemp used incumbent power to crush Republican challenger David Perdue, delivering benefits and legislative achievements ahead of the May primary. But he would have to wait until after any reelection for legislative approval of his new plans, barring a special session during the election season.

The governor would build on the record $21.2 billion in state-induced business investment in Georgia last year, with companies pledging to create 51,000 jobs. Georgia also has a record unemployment rate.

Abrams says many, especially in rural Georgia, are missing out. She notes that Georgia’s income ranking has fallen over two decades of Republican rule.

“Most Georgian families are doing everything right,” Abrams said Tuesday, arguing for more state investment in education and health care to boost everyone. “They work full time. They put a little aside when they can despite the price increase. Yet middle-class families are struggling.

Kemp argues that only Democrats are to blame for the economic instability.

“The only reason Georgians are worried about falling into poverty in rural Georgia right now is because Stacey Abrams helped Joe Biden get elected president,” he said Wednesday, “and we’ve had high inflation for 40 years and whatever they’re buying – whether it’s butter, eggs, milk, meat or any other protein, it’s astronomical right now.


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Lynn A. Saleh