In Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, Georgia collected $33.4 billion in state and local taxes. While this is an impressive sum of money, it tells us little about whether or not the average Georgia taxpayer can afford this level of taxation.
As shown in Chart 1, Georgia’s state and local tax burden (tax collections divided by personal income) was the ninth lowest in the nation for FY 2013 at 8.9 percent—this is -13 percent below the national average of 10.3 percent. As shown in Chart 2, Georgia’s tax burden has increased over time by 49 percent to 8.9 percent in FY 2013 from 6 percent in FY 1950.
Georgia’s low state and local tax burden is not driven by any particular element in their tax code as their tax burdens are all are at or below the national average, especially the property tax (2.8 percent, 31st highest), corporate income tax (0.21 percent, 40th highest), and all other taxes (1.2 percent, 49th highest).
Of course, the tax burdens for local government can vary just as much as they do among the 50 states. As such, we have also calculated the local government tax burden for every county in Georgia—this includes every taxing jurisdiction within the geographic county borders whether it is a city, a special district, or county government itself.
The Georgia counties with the highest local government tax burden include: Hancock County, GA (8.1 percent), Heard County, GA (8.1 percent), and Rabun County, GA (8 percent). The Georgia counties with the lowest local government tax burden include: Chattahoochee County, GA (0.6 percent), Worth County, GA (2.6 percent), and Harris County, GA (2.6 percent).
J. Scott Moody has over 18 years as a public policy economist with a specialty in tax policy and has over 180 publications. He has worked for numerous national and state-based think tanks such as Federalism In Action, Tax Foundation, Heritage Foundation, and The Maine Heritage Policy Center.