Elena Parent

A state tax study group’s recommended changes to the Georgia tax system may not find much traction this year in the state Legislature, Rep. Elena Parent said.

“I don’t know how much is actually going to proceed this year,” the District 81 lawmaker told members of the Brookhaven Community Connection during its monthly meeting March 8.

The study group has recommended a series of changes supporters say will modernize Georgia’s tax laws. Recommended changes include adding some “consumption” taxes and cutting corporate and income taxes. The commission recommended, among other things, imposing sales taxes on groceries and taxing car sales between individuals.

Parent, a Democrat who represents portions of north DeKalb, including Chamblee, Doraville and portions of Brookhaven, said “all kinds of special interest groups” now realize they might have to pay or collect taxes under the commission’s proposals. Those groups include organizations such as the Girl Scouts and Little League and service providers such as pet groomers, she said.

“Eventually, the Legislature will have to [create] more of a consumption tax base,” she said, “but it’s going to be little bit of a slow process. … Something will happen, but it probably won’t be this year.”

“What are people going say is the big accomplishment this year?” Parent asked. “The governor is going say we saved the HOPE scholarship program.”

Lawmakers have agreed to cut the amount paid to some HOPE recipients in order to keep the lottery-funded program from running out of money. A recent version of the modified program said HOPE would pay 90 percent of the costs of tuition for students with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and full tuition for the top two students from each high school and students with a 3.7 grade point average and an SAT score of 1200 or higher. The present program pays the full cost for students with a 3.0 grade point average.

The plan also would eliminate any HOPE money to pay for students’ books and would reduce commissions to HOPE retailers and bonuses for state lottery officials.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.