ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News was inside Gov. Brian Kemp’s ceremonial office Wednesday as he signed a bill that will return some of a record budget surplus back to Georgia taxpayers.
That surplus happened because the pandemic recession wasn’t as deep as lawmakers originally feared and those deep austerity cuts made in 2020 weren’t needed.
GOP lawmakers told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot that they made it their goal to return some of that money to taxpayers.
“HB 1302 is a fulfillment of our belief that when government take in more money than it needs, surplus funds should be sent back to the taxpayers,” said state Rep. Josh Bonner, R-Fayetteville.
Kemp made the refund part of his agenda in January when Elliot talked with him after the Chamber of Commerce’s eggs and issues breakfast.
“We’re simply giving the money back to the people who paid the taxes,” Kemp said.
The refund comes with a big price tag, a $1.6 billion hit on the state’s budget.
“You know, I think it’s another misguided initiative from the governor,” said state Rep. James Beverly, D-Macon.
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The bill passed the General Assembly with widespread bipartisan support, but many Democrats still questioned the huge price tag and wondered if at least some of that money could be directed to some of their legislative priorities including expanding Medicaid.
“It’s misguided because there are 500,000 Georgians right now who don’t have health insurance. We can cover the coverage gap right now with that money,” Beverly said.
This is the breakdown of what Georgia taxpayers could see back:
- Single, Married Filing Separate - $250.00
- Head of Household - $375.00
- Married Filing Joint - $500.00
Taxpayers who have already filed their taxes for 2021 will not need to adjust their tax returns. Those eligible taxpayers will receive their refund in the manner they indicated on their tax return (paper check or direct deposit).
The Department of Revenue says it will try to include the refund with other refund amounts due from 2021 tax returns. For taxpayers whose 2021 returns were already processed, the Department of Revenue will issue a separate refund.
The Georgia Department of Revenue has more information on their website.
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