Tax Policy and Reform

Tax Policy and Reform

The Andrew Young School of Policy Studies has nationally recognized faculty in state and local tax policy and our faculty and research associates have worked on tax reform efforts in Georgia, around the country, and around the world. Our faculty and research associates have also published widely in the area of tax policy and reform.

Notable Reports

Georgia's Taxes: A Summary of Major State and Local Taxes (2017)

Tax Handbook 23rd Edition, Jan. 12, 2017, Robert Buschman
A handbook on taxation that provides a quick overview of all state and local taxes in Georgia.

    Georgia's TANF Leavers 2009-15: How Are They Faring?

    CSLF Report, Publication No. 38, Feb. 13, 2018, Fred Brooks, Anna Chaney and Sara Mack
    This report presents major findings from 87 face-to-face interviews conducted between February and July 2016 with people who left the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in Georgia. The study examined the lives of ex-recipients who left TANF between 2009 and 2015. The personal interviews include questions about: their experience with the TANF program, employment, income, housing, child well-being, participant health, food security, transportation and debt.

      Analysis of Georgia's Title Ad Valorem Tax 2013-2016

      FRC Report, Publication No. 295, Sept. 26, 2017, Laura Wheeler
      In 2013, Georgia implemented the title ad valorem tax, or TAVT, leveling significant implications for vehicle taxation. Notably, the new system replaced the previous sales tax ad valorem system with a one-time tax on new purchases, leases, and out-of-state vehicle registration. This report analyzes the impact of the transition to TAVT and provides a five-year outlook for TAVT revenues for each of Georgia’s 159 counties.

      A Brief History of the Property Tax in Georgia

      FRC Report, Publication No. 293, April 25, 2017, David Sjoquist
      This is an update to a 2008 Fiscal Research Center report about the development of Georgia’s property tax system, which dates back to 1852. This report begins by describing the tax system that existed prior to 1852 and discussing why that system was replaced. It then describes how that tax system evolved to what is now in place in Georgia, pointing out significant changes made over the past 165 years.

      The Fiscal Architecture of Georgia

      FRC Report, Publication No. 292. Jan. 12, 2017, Rahul Pathak and Sally Wallace
      Economic and demographic factors have important implications for public finances in Georgia. This report provides detailed information on major economic and demographic changes in Georgia and their impact on the fiscal health of the state.

      Georgia's Taxes: A Summary of Major State and Local Taxes (2017)

      Tax Handbook 23rd Edition, Jan. 12, 2017, Robert Buschman
      A handbook on taxation that provides a quick overview of all state and local taxes in Georgia.

        The Impact of Interstate Mobility on the Effectiveness of Property Tax Reduction in Georgia

        CSLF Report, Publication No. 30, Oct. 11, 2016, Andrew Feltenstein, Mark Rider, David L. Sjoquist and John Winters
        In 2008, Georgia policymakers considered eliminating school property taxes on homesteaded properties and replacing the lost revenue with additional sales tax revenue. Although it did not pass, it came close. This study looks at the economic effects of this proposal using a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model combined with a microsimulation model. Ultimately, the authors discover that citizens would be worse off after the reform.

        Age-Based Property Tax Exemptions in Georgia

        CSLF Report, Publication No. 29, Sept. 27, 2016, H. Spencer Banzhaf, Ryan Mickey, Carlianne Patrick
        Many local jurisdictions across the United States, including a number in Georgia, offer property tax exemptions to older Americans. These age-based exemptions can vary widely and be controversial. This new report attempts to inform such debates by describing the prevalence of age-based exemptions across Georgia's local governments, as well as offering a way to determine the financial impact on local budgets.

        Modeling Georgia Fundamental Tax Reform Using REMI

        FRC Report, Publication No. 288, Aug. 30, 2016, Peter Bluestone
        The study uses Regional Economic Models, Inc., or REMI, to examine the effects of tax reform on different sectors of the state economy, including labor force participation, savings and investments, and consumer spending, among others. The report finds that fundamental tax reform -- using the REMI model -- has a modest effect on the areas studied.

        Georgia's Property Taxes by the Numbers

        FRC Report, Publication No. 281, March 8, 2016, David Sjoquist and Nicholas Warner
        As an update to a 2008 Fiscal Research Center publication, this report considers the growth in the property tax base and revenue from 1980 through 2014, how the tax base varies across counties, how the composition of the tax base has changed over time, property taxes by type of government, and how the level and growth of property taxes in Georgia compares to other states.

        A Description of the Film Tax Credit and Film Industry in Georgia

        FRC Report, Publication No. 280. Feb. 23, 2016, Oronde Small and Laura Wheeler
        In a new brief, researchers provide a detailed description of Georgia's film tax credit, a review of the incentive's significant features compared to those offered by other states, and a snapshot of the industry in Georgia compared to the rest of the nation.

        State Tax Reform Efforts: 2010-2015

        CSLF Report, Publication No. 22, Jan. 26, 2016, Rahul Pathak, Carolyn Bourdeaux, Sally Wallace, Sarah Larson
        This report documents comprehensive tax reform efforts of select states from 2010 to 2015, showing what changes have been contemplated, which actually passed, and potential lessons from states' tax reforms during this period.

        Georgia's Taxes: A Summary of Major State and Local Taxes (2016)

        Tax Handbook 22nd Edition, Jan. 11, 2016, Robert Buschman
        A handbook on taxation that provides a quick overview of all state and local taxes in Georgia.

        Georgia's Rankings Among the States: Budget, Taxes and Other Indicators (2016)

        FRC Report, Jan. 11, 2016, Mels de Zeeuw and William Serrano-Franklin
        This 2016 guide is an update to an earlier version published in the summer of 2015. It includes a collection of metrics and state rankings that compare Georgia to other states. Several comparisons focus on total state or local government revenue and expenditures, but the guide also includes measures that compare either expenditures or state characteristics within specific functional areas, such as education, health and transportation.

          The Homestead Option Sales Tax: Lessons Learned from DeKalb and Rockdale Counties

          CSLF Report, Publication No. 20, Nov. 17, 2015, Mels de Zeeuw and Laura Wheeler
          This brief examines the Homestead Option Sales Tax (HOST), as implemented in DeKalb and Rockdale counties. It describes the effects of municipal incorporation on HOST revenues and capital outlays; the interactions with state and local taxes; the effect of HOST on lower-income vs. higher-income residents, as well as homeowners and renters; and the lessons learned about this system of property tax relief.

          Georgia's Incredible Shrinking Sales Tax Base

          FRC Report, Publication No. 273, Oct. 6, 2015, Robert Buschman
          This report explores what might explain the dramatic shortfall in Georgia's sales tax revenues in recent years, and their failure to recover from the 2001 and 2007-09 recessions, along with personal income and the overall economy.

          Georgia Tax Credits (2015)

          FRC Report, Publication No. 272, Sept. 22, 2015, Sherman A. Cooper and Laura Wheeler
          This 2015 compendium details Georgia business and personal credits allowed against the state's corporate and individual income tax. Economic development, housing and environmental tax credits are among those included.

          Willing to Pay: Charter Schools' Impact on Georgia Property Values

          FRC Report, Publication No. 271, Aug. 18, 2015, Carlianne Patrick
          This report looks at whether homebuyers are willing to pay a premium for access to charter schools in Georgia. The research looks at 13 charter schools with enrollment priority zones, and it finds that on average home sale prices are 7 to 13 percent higher in the zone with the greatest chance for enrollment. The report also gives an overview of features and structure of charter schools in Georgia.

          Georgia's Ranking Among the States: Budget, Taxes and Other Indicators

          CSLF Report, Publication No. 15, June 16, 2015, Elton Davis
          This 2015 guide includes a collection of metrics and state rankings that compare Georgia to other states across the nation. Several of the comparisons focus on total state or local government revenue and expenditures, but the report also includes measures that compare either expenditures or state characteristics within specific functional areas, such as education, health and transportation.

          Financing Georgia's Future III

          FRC Report, Publication No. 270, June 2015, Jeremy Alexander and Sally Wallace
          This analysis highlights the major state and local revenue sources from 1998-2012, including specific data surrounding recent recessions. The report's thorough look at trends in Georgia's state and local finances also serves as a foundation for discussion on government finance in the state.

          Georgia's Revenue and Expenditure Portfolio in Brief, FY 1995 - FY 2012

          CSLF/FRC Report, CSLF Publication No. 13, May 5, 2015, Elton Davis, XiXi Lin and Carolyn Bourdeaux
          This joint brief provides an update to the Fiscal Research Center’s report “Georgia’s Revenue and Expenditure Portfolio in Brief, 1989 - 2010," with an overview and analysis of changes in Georgia’s state and local expenditure and revenue portfolios and rankings between fiscal years 1995 and 2012.

          Georgia's Tax Credit for Zero- and Low-Emission Vehicles

          FRC Policy Brief, Publication No. 276, April 28, 2015, Mels de Zeeuw and Laura Wheeler
          This joint brief provides a retrospective look at Georgia's experience with tax credits for zero- and low-emission vehicles and the overall affect these credits have had on state revenue.

          A Multiregional Model of Growth Oriented State Tax Reforms: An Application to Georgia and Five Comparison States

          FRC Report, Publication No. 269, April 21, 2015, Jeffrey Condon, Andrew Feltenstein, Florenz Plassman, Mark Rider and David L. Sjoquist
          This report analyzes the effects of three revenue neutral tax reform scenarios on Georgia and neighboring states using a dynamic scoring model -- created by the authors -- known as a “Computable General Equilibrium" (CGE) model.

          Dynamic Revenue Analysis: Experience of the States

          CSLF Report, Publication No. 11, April 21, 2015, Peter Bluestone and Carolyn Bourdeaux
          In partnership with the Fiscal Research Center, CSLF examines the research on the impact of tax changes on a state’s economy and the results of efforts in seven states to dynamically model tax reforms.

          Georgia's Taxes: A Summary of Major State and Local Taxes (2015)

          Tax Handbook 21st Edition, Jan. 9, 2015, Robert Buschman, Richard Hawkins
          A handbook on taxation that provides a quick overview of all state and local taxes in Georgia.

            Replacing the Income Tax with Increased Sales Taxes: What Do We Know?

            Policy Memorandum, June 10, 2014, David L. Sjoquist
            This policy memorandum considers the issue of replacing Georgia income taxes with increased sales taxes.

            Tax Allocation Districts: How They Work

            Presentation, April 16, 2014, David Sjoquist
            A presentation to the DeKalb County School District meeting in Georgia.

            Analysis of Alternative Consumption Tax Structures for Georgia

            Policy Memorandum, February 10, 2014, Robert Buschman
            This analysis has been prepared at the request of the Georgia Senate Research Office, in support of the Senate Fair Tax Study Committee's consideration of consumption-based taxation as an alternative to current state income taxes.

            Analysis of Partial Income Tax Replacement with Increased State Sales Tax

            Policy Memorandum, February 10, 2014, Robert Buschman
            This analysis estimates state sales tax rates necessary to offset varying amounts of personal income tax marginal rate cuts on a static, revenue-neutral basis.

            Inquiry from Chairman Hill, Senate Fair Tax Study Committee, Regarding Taxable Consumption of Households at Different Income Levels and Other Matters

            Policy Memorandum, February 10, 2014, Robert Buschman
            In follow-up to the analysis of alternative consumption tax structures for Georgia, presented to the committee on September 20, Sen. Hill asked for additional information to address certain related questions, which are restated/summarized as follows.

            Georgia's Taxes: A Summary of Major State and Local Government Taxes, 20th Edition

            Tax Handbook 20th Edition, January 14, 2014, Carolyn Bourdeaux, Richard Hawkins
            A handbook on taxation that provides a quick overview of all state and local taxes in Georgia. FRC Publication A (20).

              Fiscal Architecture of the District of Columbia

              Presentation, November 01, 2013, Sally Wallace
              A presentation to the Annual National Tax Association conference in Tampa, Florida, summarizing economic/demographic trends, the impact of Washington, D.C., revenue, and suggested options related to trends and impacts.

              Reduced Form Hedonics: Rosen's First State and Difference-Differences as 'Sufficient Statistics'

              Presentation, November 01, 2013, Spencer Banzhaf
              A presentation to the annual National Tax Association Conference in Tampa Florida.

              An Analysis of the District of Columbia's Property Tax Assessment Limitation

              Presentation, November 01, 2013, David L. Sjoquist
              A presentation to the annual National Tax Association Conference in Tampa, Florida, as part of a session called "Papers from the DC Tax Revision Commission."

              The Incentives Created by the Tax-Benefit System Facing Low-Income Families in Georgia - Brief

              FRC Brief 258, February 20, 2013, Chelsea Coleman, Kendon Darlington, Mark Rider, Morgan Sinclair
              This brief describes the incentives created by the major taxes and public assistance programs facing low-income families in Georgia.

              The Incentives Created by the Tax-Benefit System Facing Low-Income Families in Georgia

              FRC Report 258, February 11, 2013, Chelsea Coleman, Kendon Darlington, Mark Rider, Morgan Sinclair
              This report describes the incentives created by the major taxes and public assistance programs facing low-income families in Georgia.

              Georgia's Revenue and Expenditure Portfolio in Brief, 1989-2010

              FRC Brief 254, January 11, 2013, Carolyn Bourdeaux, Sungman Jun, Nicholas Warner, Sandy Zook
              This brief uses Census data to examine how Georgia ranks in terms of spending and revenue by functions and objects and examines how Georgia's portfolio has changed over time compared to national peers.

              Property Tax and Education: Have We Reached the Limit?

              FRC Report 255, January 11, 2013, Sohani Fatehin, David L. Sjoquist
              This report explores changes over the past decade in property taxes used to fund K-12 education and discusses the future of the property tax for education.

              School Facility Funding in Georgia and the Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST)

              FRC Report 250, October 13, 2012, Eric J. Brunner, Nicholas Warner
              This report reviews Georgia's system of school facility finance, emphasizing the role of the Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST).

              School Facility Funding in Georgia and the Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) - Brief

              FRC Brief 250, October 13, 2012, Eric J. Brunner, Nicholas Warner
              This brief reviews Georgia's system of school facility finance, emphasizing the role of the Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST).

              Georgia's Revenue and Expenditure Portfolio in Brief, 1989-2009

              FRC Brief 249, August 14, 2012, Carolyn Bourdeaux, Sungman Jun, Nicholas Warner
              This brief uses Census data to examine how Georgia ranks in terms of spending and revenue by functions and objects and examines how Georgia's portfolio has changed over time compared to national peers.

              Estimated Distributional Impact of T-SPLOST in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area

              FRC Brief 248, July 16, 2012, Peter Bluestone
              This brief examiines the distributional impact of the Atlanta area T-SPLOST by income level and age.

              An Inventory of Transportation Funding Options

              FRC Report 239, February 27, 2012, David L. Sjoquist
              This report provides a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of various options for funding transportation.

              Comparing Georgia's Revenue Portfolio to Regional and National Peers

              FRC Report 222, January 01, 2011, Carolyn Bourdeaux, Sungman Jun
              This report updates Buschman's 2009 report ("Comparing Georgia's Fiscal Policies to Regional and National Peers" [FRC Report No. 201]) with 2008 and 2010 Census data.

              By the Numbers: Georgia's Fiscal Management

              Fiscal Impact 8, December 05, 2010, The FRC
              This fiscal impact brief provides a summary of various measures used to rate Georgia's fiscal management.

              Georgia's Fuel Tax

              FRC Brief 220, December 01, 2010, David L. Sjoquist
              This brief presents revenue estimates from an increase of fuel taxes.

              Georgia's Individual Income Tax: Options for Reform

              FRC Report 218, December 01, 2010, Andrew V. Stephenson, Sally Wallace
              This report analyzes the current structure of Georgia's individual income tax and provides analysis of a variety of reform options.

              Some Issues Associated with Increasing Georgia's Cigarette Tax

              FRC Brief 221, December 01, 2010, David L. Sjoquist
              This brief provides revenue estimates for an increase in tobacco taxes, discusses social cost of smoking, and explores the effect on convenience store employment from increases in tobacco taxes.

              Review of State Revenue Actions, 1999-2010, A

              FRC Report 217, November 01, 2010, Robert Buschman
              This report examines tax and other revenue changes enacted by the states since 1999 with particular focus on Georgia's Southeast and AAA-rated peers, and how states have dealt with budget gaps in two post-recession periods.

              Review of State Tax Reform Efforts, A

              FRC Report 216, November 01, 2010, Carolyn Bourdeaux
              This report reviews the work of 19 state tax commissions, special committees, or task forces that have been convened to comprehensively review a state's tax code and summarizes common themes from their final proposals.

              The Georgia Premium Tax: Options for Reform

              FRC Brief 214, October 01, 2010, Martin Grace
              This brief examines the basic structure of Georgia's insurance premium tax and the revenue impact of a number of potential reform options.

              Measuring the Effect of Job Creation Tax Credits

              Presentation, August 13, 2010, Laura Wheeler
              A presentation to the annual Federation of Tax Administrators (FTA) Conference held in Springfield, IL.

              HB 480-Eliminating the Motor Vehicle Property Tax: Estimating Procedure, Revenue Estimates, and Distributional Implications - Brief

              FRC Brief 210, August 05, 2010, Laura A. Wheeler
              This brief reviews the revenue estimates and distributional consequences of HR 480, legislation to replace the motor vehicle sales and property tax with a title fee.

              HB 480-Eliminating the Motor Vehicle Property Tax: Estimating Procedure, Revenue Estimates, and Distributional Implications

              FRC Report 210, August 05, 2010, Laura A. Wheeler
              This report reviews the revenue estimates and distributional consequences of HR 480, legislation to replace the motor vehicle sales and property tax with a title fee.

              Revenue from a Regional Transportation Sales Tax

              FRC Brief 208, June 25, 2010, David L. Sjoquist
              This brief provides regional revenue estimates of the 1% sales tax for transportation, as specified in NB 277, "The Transportation Investment Act of 2010."

              Georgia's Taxes

              Presentation, May 13, 2010, David L. Sjoquist
              A presentation to the Justice, Advocacy and Public Policy Committee of Trinity Presbyterian Church.

              Georgia's Taxes: A Summary of Major State and Local Government Taxes, 16th Edition

              Tax Handbook 16th Edition, January 01, 2010, Richard R. Hawkins, Jack Morton, David L. Sjoquist
              A handbook on taxation that provides a quick overview of all state and local taxes in Georgia. FRC Annual Publication A (16).

              Analysis of the Relative Decline in the Employment Income in Georgia - Brief, An

              FRC Brief 205, December 01, 2009, John W. Matthews
              This brief examines the change in employment income per job to better understand why income in Georgia has increased so much slower than in the rest of the U.S.

              Analysis of the Relative Decline in the Employment Income in Georgia, An

              FRC Report 205, December 01, 2009, John W. Matthews
              This report examines the change in employment income per job to better understand why income in Georgia has increased so much slower than in the rest of the U.S.

              Comparing Georgia's Fiscal Policies to Regional and National Peers

              FRC Report 201, December 01, 2009, Robert D. Buschman
              The purpose of this report is to analyze the major components of Georgia's state and local revenue and expenditure mixes relative to its peer states.

              Current Charges and Miscellaneous Revenues: A Comparative Analysis of Georgia and Selective States - Brief

              FRC Brief 202, December 01, 2009, Peter Bluestone
              This brief examines Georgia's current charges and miscellaneous general revenue and compares them to the AAA bond rated states, the Southeastern neighbor states, and the U.S. average for fiscal years 2007 and 1992.

              Current Charges and Miscellaneous Revenues: A Comparative Analysis of Georgia and Selective States

              FRC Report 202, December 01, 2009, Peter Bluestone
              This report examines Georgia's current charges and miscellaneous general revenue and compares them to the AAA bond rated states, the Southeastern neighbor states, and the U.S. average for fiscal years 2007 and 1992.

              Effect of Change in Apportionment Formula on Georgia Corporate Tax Liability

              FRC Brief 206, December 01, 2009, Laura A. Wheeler
              The purpose of this brief is to identify the number and characteristics of corporations that are expected to benefit from the switch to a single-factor apportionment formula and the number and characteristics of those that are not.

              Georgia Per Capita Income: Indentifying the Factors Contributing to the Growing Income Gap with Other States - Brief

              FRC Brief 204, December 01, 2009, Sean Turner
              This brief explores why Georgia's per capita personal income growth over the past decade has been slow, resulting in Georgia being ranked 50th in the nation in per capita income growth.

              Georgia Per Capita Income: Indentifying the Factors Contributing to the Growing Income Gap with Other States

              FRC Report 204, December 01, 2009, Sean Turner
              This report explores why Georgia's per capita personal income growth over the past decade has been slow, resulting in Georgia being ranked 50th in the nation in per capita income growth.

              Historic Trends in the Levels of Georgia's State and Local Taxes

              FRC Report 203, December 01, 2009, John W. Matthews
              This is a report on general trends in Georgia's state and local taxation over the period 1985 to 2007.

              Recent Changes in State and Local Funding for Education in Georgia

              FRC Report 200, September 01, 2009, James R. Alm, David L. Sjoquist
              This report examines how the 2001 recession affected K-12 education spending in Georgia school systems.

              Recent Changes in State and Local Funding for Education in Georgia - Brief

              FRC Brief 200, September 01, 2009, James R. Alm, David L. Sjoquist
              This brief examines how the 2001 recession affected K-12 education spending in Georgia school systems.

              Household Tax Burden Effects from Replacing Ad Valorem Taxes with Additional Sales Tax Levies

              FRC Brief 198, August 01, 2009, Richard R. Hawkins
              This brief estimates net tax effects across income classes from a sales tax for property tax swap; where Georgia property taxes are reduced and state sales taxes increased.

              Buoyancy of Georgia's Personal Income Tax

              FRC Brief 190, March 01, 2009, Sally Wallace
              This brief analyzes the growth in Georgia's income tax and explores reasons for trends over time.

              Buoyancy of Georgia's Sales and Use Tax

              FRC Brief 191, March 01, 2009, David L. Sjoquist
              This brief explores the growth in sales tax revenue relative to the growth of the state's economy.

              Comparison of Georgia's Tobacco and Alcoholic Beverage Excise Tax Rates

              FRC Brief 192, March 01, 2009, Sean Turner, Sally Wallace
              This brief provides a detailed comparison of excise tax rates across the United States.

              Corporate Tax Revenue Buoyancy

              FRC Brief 196, March 01, 2009, Laura A. Wheeler
              This brief explores the growth in corporate income tax revenue relative to the growth of the state's economy.

              Value of Homestead Exemptions in Georgia, The

              FRC Brief 193, March 01, 2009, John W. Matthews
              This brief estimates the total property tax savings, statewide, to homeowners arising from homestead exemptions. Examples and descriptions are provided.

              Georgia Revenues and Expenditures - Brief

              FRC Brief 188, February 01, 2009, Peter Bluestone
              This report presents a geographic analysis of who bears the burden of state taxes and who benefits from state public expenditures.

              Georgia Revenues and Expenditures

              FRC Report 188, February 01, 2009, Peter Bluestone
              This report presents a geographic analysis of who bears the burden of state taxes and who benefits from state public expenditures.

              Georgia's Taxes: A Summary of Major State and Local Government Taxes, 15th Edition

              Tax Handbook 15th Edition, January 01, 2009, Richard R. Hawkins, Jack Morton, David L. Sjoquist
              A handbook on taxation that provides a quick overview of all state and local taxes in Georgia. FRC Annual Publication A (15).

              Effect of Insurance Premium Taxes on Employment, The

              FRC Report 184, September 01, 2008, Martin Grace, David L. Sjoquist, Laura A. Wheeler
              This report provides estimates of the effect of the insurance premium taxes on state-level employment in the insurance industry.

              Distribution of the Georgia Corporate and Net Worth Tax Liabilities, 1998 and 2005

              FRC Brief 185, September 01, 2008, Jonathan C. Rork, Laura A. Wheeler
              This brief illustrates the distribution of corporate and net worth income tax liabilities among Georgia corporations.

              Variation in Teacher Salaries in Georgia

              FRC Report 183, August 01, 2008, John V. Winters
              This report documents the variation in K-12 public school teacher salaries in Georgia and discusses the causes of variation in teacher salaries within and across districts.

              Brief History of the Property Tax in Georgia - Brief, A

              FRC Brief 182, July 01, 2008, David L. Sjoquist
              This brief is a chronology of the development of the property tax system that currently exists in Georgia from the 1852 legislation pointing out significant changes made over the past 156 years.