PRESS RELEASE: GBPI Releases Statement in Response to Georgia’s Year-End FY 2023 Revenue Report, $4.8 billion in taxes collected above Gov Kemp’s Revenue Estimate
ATLANTA, GEORGIA — Today, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) released a statement in response to Georgia’s year-end FY 2023 revenue report. The Department of Revenue collected $33.1 billion in net taxes, substantially exceeding the $28.4 billion estimate made by Gov. Kemp by nearly $4.8 billion. In the fall, the state will release a more complete accounting report that details actual spending and total collections, including other sources of revenue that have not yet been reported, such as fees and interest on state deposits.
The FY 2023 report is in-line with a three-year pattern of historically large, consecutive surpluses and indicates that state reserve accounts will likely exceed $16 billion as we enter the 2024 fiscal year. This balance includes over $5.2 billion in the Revenue Shortfall Reserve—the maximum allowed under state law—and approximately $11 billion in ‘undesignated surplus’ accounts.
Despite the state holding billions in surplus funds—and a recurring multi-billion-dollar imbalance between state spending and revenue collections—the $32.4 billion budget signed into law by Gov. Kemp for FY 2024 represents a flat level of spending that remains well below the state’s capacity and fails to meet the needs of Georgians across core areas, like health care and public education.
Gov. Kemp’s revenue estimate for FY 2024 anticipates a 14 percent decline in overall tax revenues from the FY 2023 figures reported today. Similarly, Gov. Kemp projected that tax revenues for FY 2023 would decrease by 14 percent from the previous fiscal year, however, DOR reported a year-over-year increase of 0.1 percent—an imbalance of $4.8 billion.
Statement from GBPI Senior Fiscal Analyst Danny Kanso:
“Entering FY 2024, Georgia stands at a key inflection point with more resources on-hand than ever before and a state government that is failing to meet the needs of Georgians. State leaders have an obligation to respond to long-standing deficits across public education, access to health care and economic mobility, yet they are actively choosing to leave billions on the table to accrue increasingly large reserves for no clear purpose. Despite the massive amount of cash on hand, our leaders continue to stand by as conditions worsen across state government, with record employee turnover and understaffing in critical areas such as human services. In the absence of a strategy to deploy these funds, a decade-plus of austerity still looms over state agencies and core functions of government. State leaders must take advantage of this historic opportunity and do far more to realize the promise of opportunity and prosperity for all Georgia families.”
Legislators have an obligation to improve the quality of life for generations of Georgians by using freely available funds for appropriation and must bring greater transparency to the state’s continued pattern of significantly under-estimating revenue collections to ensure taxpayer dollars are put to their highest and best use. Lawmakers must act responsibly by deploying available resources, both in terms of one-time surplus funds and the substantial unappropriated revenues that continue to amass each fiscal year due to revenue estimates that cap state spending at artificially low levels as the needs of Georgians go unmet.
The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) strives to be an anti-racist research and advocacy organization that advances lasting solutions to expand economic opportunity and well-being for all Georgians. We examine the state’s budget, taxes and public policies to provide thoughtful analysis and responsible solutions that address inequities in our state. We educate the public about complex issues confronting Georgia. We activate Georgians to call for policy solutions that put people first. We aim to inspire informed debate and decision-making, advancing our vision of a fair and inclusive Georgia where everyone can prosper.