A study recently released by Georgia State University researchers raises questions as to whether House Speaker Glenn Richardson’s plan to do away with property taxes would raise enough to make up the $9 billion difference.

The speaker’s plan would eliminate sales tax exemptions and tax services performed by everyone from $500-an-hour attorneys to $15-an-hour barbers in order to generate $9 billion a year.

Researchers said an expanded sales tax could raise up to $9.3 billion a year, but only if the state eliminated virtually all exemptions—including a major exemption on the sale of raw materials to manufacturers—and taxed practically all services—including business-to-business transactions. The taxing of those business-to-business transactions is strongly opposed by businesses as well as conservative and liberal economic analysts.

The authors of the study contend their work is not specifically intended as an analysis of the speaker’s plan, which likely will get much attention during the 2008 legislative session.