Georgia’s Kemp Seeks Tax Breaks, Disproves Abrams on Economics – The Associated Press | Vette Leader

ATLANTA (AP) – Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp will present his first major policy proposals for his reelection bid on Thursday, promising another state income tax break and the revival of a long-dormant state property tax exemption while bickering with Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams over who is the best for the country’s economy.

After Abrams argued this week that “stingy” Republicans deny basic services and ignore injustices In pursuit of low spending and tax cuts for the rich, Kemp began attacking Abrams as he celebrated record-high economic development numbers on Wednesday.

“If anyone is suggesting that we’re not creating jobs and opportunities for everyone in this state, they should get their facts straight before commenting on things they just don’t understand,” Kemp said.

Abrams is seeking traction against a Republican incumbent she just trails in the polls in a crucial swing state. The challenger argues that not only is Kemp’s tax policy, but also his support for abortion restrictionsRelaxed gun laws and tighter controls over what’s taught in schools threaten the growth of a $683 billion state economy.

Kemp is sticking to the script that Georgia Republicans have followed in 20 years in power. He will tell voters Thursday that if they re-elect him, he will seek a second round of income tax refunds like the $1.1 billion payments this year, according to a Kemp campaign official with knowledge of the plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity. This year’s payments brought $500 to dual-income households, $375 to singles with dependents, and $250 to singles.

The governor will also seek to revive a property tax break that succumbed in 2009 amid the state budget crisis caused by the Great Recession, the official said in a preview of Kemp’s announcement. The tax break, introduced by Democrat Roy Barnes in 1999, cost the state $428 million last year in 2008 and saved homeowners $200 to $300 on tax bills.

Kemp said Wednesday he wants to “help Georgians continue to struggle through 40 years of high inflation and extremely high costs that our citizens are experiencing,” focusing on Democratic President Joe Biden’s unpopularity.

Kemp can hand out cash because Georgia’s coffers are fat. The state generated a surplus of around $5 billion in the year ended June 30 with a surplus of more than $2 billion still paid in from the year before.

The governor has also repeatedly extended a five-month gas tax exemption. His government plans to channel surplus money toward road construction rather than already paying $750 million in missed fuel taxes. Kemp also signed into law a state income tax cut beginning in 2024 that could eventually cut taxes by more than $2 billion.

Abrams is already demanding another round of income tax refunds. She has also urged Kemp to suspend the gas tax until the end of 2022 and has promised not to try to reverse the income tax cut, although she criticizes the benefits for the wealthy.

“While Brian Kemp follows Stacey Abrams’ lead in demanding tax refunds, he still advances an extreme and dangerous agenda that threatens Georgia families and our economy,” said Abrams spokesman Alex Floyd.

Kemp accuses Abrams of only supporting his policies because they are popular.

“She criticized all of these things before coming out and now supports them,” he said.

Abrams criticized the property tax break in a speech Tuesday, calling it “paying off the property taxes of villa owners and millionaires.” The Census Bureau says 66% of Georgians own their own home, but Abrams focuses on affordable housing and the Kemp administration’s stuttering payout of federal COVID-19 relief funds to renters.

Kemp used the power of tenure to beat Republican challenger David Perdue, providing benefits and legislative achievements ahead of the May primary. But he would have to wait until after re-election for lawmakers’ approval of his new plans, barring a special session during election season.

The governor would build on Georgia’s record $21.2 billion in state-sponsored business investment last year, with companies pledging to create 51,000 jobs. Georgia also has a record low unemployment rate.

Abrams argues that many, particularly in rural Georgia, are falling short. She notes that Georgia’s income rankings have fallen during two decades of Republican rule.

“Most Georgia families are doing everything right,” Abrams said Tuesday, arguing for more government investment in education and health care to empower everyone. “They work full-time jobs. They put away a little when they can, despite rising prices. But middle-class families are struggling.”

Kemp argues that only the Democrats are to blame for the economic instability.

“The only reason Georgians are worried right now about falling into poverty in rural Georgia is because Stacey Abrams helped Joe Biden get elected president,” he said Wednesday, “and we have a 40 Years of high inflation and everything they buy – whether it’s butter, eggs, milk, meat or any other protein – is astronomical right now.”

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