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Georgia tax collections so far point to another big surplus

December 6, 2021 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s state tax collections continue to run far ahead of what the state brought in last year, adding to already bulging coffers.

Figures released Monday show Georgia’s general fund collected $11.9 billion through Nov. 30. That’s about $1.7 billion or 17% ahead of last year’s pace.

Through the first five months of the 2022 budget year, the state is on pace to collect $28.5 billion, more than $1 billion above the $27.3 billion that lawmakers designated for spending. Georgia plans to spend $49.9 billion overall in the budget year that began July 1, once federal and other funds are included. But the K-12 funding formula is still crimped by cuts and most other agencies didn’t get back money slashed from the 2021 budget.

In July, budget director Kelly Farr again instructed agencies to not ask for more money in 2023.

The state finished the 2021 budget year with a nearly $2.2 billion surplus even after the state’s rainy day fund was filled to the legal limit of $4.3 billion.

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Republican Gov. Brian Kemp must decide how much he wants lawmakers to spend when he sets the revenue estimate in January. Lawmakers can’t spend more than what Kemp allows.

Georgia’s budget pays to educate 1.7 million K-12 students and 435,000 college students, house 45,000 state prisoners, pave 18,000 miles (29,000 kilometers) of highways and care for more than 200,000 people who are mentally ill, developmentally disabled or addicted to drugs or alcohol.