ATLANTA - A state lawmaker wants to do away with the income tax, and raise the sales tax to make Georgia more competitive with other states in luring businesses.
State Rep. Tom Kirby said he's introducing what's called the Fair Tax Bill on Thursday, the last day of the current legislative session, to get the conversation started.
“This is going to be a very important tool to help us become competitive and stay competitive, and bring Georgia to the lead of attracting all these new businesses,” said Kirby, R-Loganville.
Florida to the south, Tennessee to the north, Texas to the west and several other states already have no income tax. That's why many Republicans are already behind the idea.
“Texas, every day, beats us on high tech, particularly biotech jobs. They can recruit those people to Texas saying, ‘Hey come to Texas, you don't pay income tax.’ How often do you hear about an athlete or somebody move to Florida simply because they don't have an income tax there?" said state Rep. Barry Flemming, from Augusta.
Supporters believe a consumption tax is more fair, because the more you buy, the more you pay. But many Democrats oppose it, saying it unfairly targets the poor and middle class. They believe those groups will end up spending most of their income buying goods at higher prices, while the rich can save, tax free.
“I call it the not very fair tax, because research has shown it puts an unfair burden on the middle class. Middle class will pay more. The wealthy will pay much, much less. I don't think it's fair at all. It's a misnomer as far as I’m concerned,” said state Sen. Vincent Fort, who represents Atlanta.
Kirby said he's still crunching the numbers but hopes to have the bill passed in 2014.