The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute’s goal is to shine a light on people-first policies that help all Georgians share in the state’s prosperity. These are the policy priorities GBPI will track during 2021. Many are part of our People-Powered Prosperity campaign. For more insights throughout session, be sure to follow @GaBudget on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.
Advancing Prosperity Through Fiscal Responsibility
Analyze state budget proposals to ensure the result is sound and fair and to restore budget cuts that affect critical services and programs like health and education.
Advance fiscally responsible tax reform proposals that strengthen state revenue, protect existing revenue streams and support working families. Priorities include:
- Passing a state-level Earned Income Tax Credit, the Georgia Work Credit, which would reduce the amount of income tax owed by low- and middle-income families
- Increasing the Child Tax Credit to 100 percent of the federal level and making it fully refundable
- Raising the tobacco tax to the national average, or $1.81, and taxing vaping and smokeless tobacco at 40 percent of the wholesale price
- Closing loopholes and adding common-sense safeguards to strengthen the state’s corporate income tax
- Capping the film tax credit at $100 million per year and eliminating transferability and deferred use provisions, which allow companies to use credits years later or pass them to other entities
- Eliminating the double deduction loophole which allows Georgia’s highest earners to write off their state tax payments when calculating how much state income tax they owe
- Improving transparency in the tax code by enacting a standard review process to evaluate the effects of all tax credits and incentives issued by the state
Supporting Thriving Families
Restructure Georgia’s cash assistance program, also known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, by eliminating racist barriers that prevent families in deep poverty from accessing and keeping cash aid.
Defend Georgia’s safety net programs (including food assistance, cash assistance and unemployment insurance) from harmful budget cuts or legislative proposals that threaten an equitable economic recovery.
Raising Educated Youth
Join the rest of the nation by creating and funding an Opportunity Weight that provides additional money to educate students living in poverty.
Shine a light on efforts to divert state dollars away from public schools through voucher programs such as Education Savings Accounts.
Support students learning English as an additional language in school by eliminating Georgia’s requirement to only test students in English.
Building Healthy Communities
Make the Medicaid program more accessible through fully expanding Medicaid, removing the 5-year waiting period for long-term permanent residents, and preventing cuts to reimbursement rates.
Protect public health funding for local health departments and ensure COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination funding is distributed equitably.
Ensure greater payment for behavioral health services through mental health parity enforcement, which requires insurers to treat mental health as they do physical health, and Medicaid waivers to allow payment for inpatient treatment for substance use disorder and serious mental illness.
Developing a Strong Workforce
Fund a need-based aid scholarship to help students from families with low incomes afford college.
Convert lottery-funded student loans to scholarships or grants and provide debt relief to borrowers.
Remove barriers to high-quality, short-term training opportunities for adults with low incomes seeking meaningful, living-wage jobs.
Empowering Culturally Diverse Communities
Support tuition equity legislation that expands access to higher education for undocumented students in Georgia.
Advocate for the expansion of access to driver’s licenses for all Georgians regardless of legal status.