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Food Sales Tax Possible
Wednesday, 17 November 2010

November 17--  State revenue collections are showing some improvement this fiscal year, but the President Pro Tempore of the Georgia Senate is not sure it will be enough to cover an anticpated $1 billion shortfall in the state's budget.

Senator Tommie Williams of Lyons says lawmakers have already reduced expenses by nearly $6 billion.  He's hoping a combination of new sales taxes and eliminating Medicaid fraud will help reduce the budget deficit without levying further hits on teacher pay.

"If we have to make cuts, education will be the last place we go.  We're looking at a way to raise some revenue where we tax food and take tax off of income.  We're trying to get to a tax where everybody pays," he said.

A state commission has been holding hearings on Georgia's tax structure and a tax on food sales is one of the options under study.

Meanwhile, Senator Williams believes the state can save money by making sure Medicaid payments are made only to those who are qualified.  "One of the things we are working on is to require anybody with a Medicaid card to give their fingerprints so there would be no card swapping.  We're losing a lot of money there and we think we could save tens to hundreds of millions of dollars just by cleaning up that fraud," he says.

The Georgia legislature convenes January 11.  Senator Williams expects lawmakers will also be more aggressive in finding ways to make Georgia more business friendly in order to create more jobs in the state.

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