3:00 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Dwindling Federal Gas Tax Funds Put Georgia Transportation Projects on Hold

The intersection of Flat Shoals Road and I-285 is one of GDOT's projects that may be stalled due to lack of funding.
Chris Ferguson/WABE

Gas prices are heading down nationwide and in Georgia.

The average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded was $3.65 Sunday, May 11, which was the twelfth day in a row the price declined.

American Automobile Association spokesman Mark Jenkins says prices should continue to drop throughout the summer because of unprecedented crude oil supply. “Here in the Gulf Coast refineries, they’re at record levels of petroleum,” said Jenkins. And last month, they reached their highest monthly average of production since 1988.”

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5:00 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Senate Approves Ballot Question to Cap Georgia's Income Tax Rate

Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

The Georgia Senate approved a resolution 42 to 11 to let voters decide whether to cap the state’s income tax rate at its current level within the state’s Constitution.

Right now, the state’s income tax rate is 6 percent for all Georgians who make more than $7,000. Republican Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer says his resolution will help the state be more competitive. He says although Georgia’s income tax rate is lower than the federal tax rate, it’s higher than most other Southern states.

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4:35 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Under State Pressure, Atlanta Agrees To Tax Sharing Plan

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed
Credit City of Atlanta

Under state pressure to reach a unanimous agreement, Fulton County and its 14 cities finalized a plan Thursday to share an estimated $240 million in annual sales tax revenue.

State officials had said the county could lose the tax revenue altogether if every jurisdiction didn’t sign on.

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5:28 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

IRS Rules Georgia Married Same-Sex Couples Can File Joint Taxes

The US Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday ruled legally married same-sex couples will be allowed to file their taxes jointly starting in 2013.

The ruling comes in response to the June 26 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

The ruling applies to couples regardless of where they live, though only extends to couples whose marriage is recognized by a jurisdiction where same-sex marriage is legalized, not civil unions or domestic partnerships.

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9:00 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Cobb County Home Owners Could See Tax Reduction

Cobb County homeowners could see a slight reduction in their upcoming property tax bills.

Cobb County property owners may see some relief in their tax bills next month. County commissioners are considering a proposal that would slightly lower the millage rate.

The proposal reduces the rate by .2 mills. So the owner of a $200,000 home would pay $14 less than last year. Cobb County commission chair Tim Lee says he’s fulfilling a promise he made after commissioners had to raise the property tax rate significantly in 2011.

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HB 604: Fulton Co. vs. State of Georgia
6:00 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Legal Scholar: Fulton County May Not Be Able to Beat HB 604

Frank S. Alexander is the Sam Nunn Professor of Law at Emory University. He is an expert on state and local government law.
Credit Emory University School of Law

Fulton County says it is on firm legal ground in rejecting a new state law that stops the County from raising property tax rates for two years.

But an Emory University law scholar says that may not be the case.

Fulton County’s position is that House Bill 604, passed earlier this year and signed by Gov. Nathan Deal, violates the County's right to home rule. Home rule was the focus of a state constitutional overhaul in 1983.

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5:00 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Gwinnett School Board Considers Property Tax Rate Increase

Credit Gwinnett County Public Schools

The Gwinnett County School Board is considering a plan to raise property taxes. If approved, it would be the first increase in eight years.

The board is considering a total millage rate increase of 1.3 mills. That would mean approximately $101 more per year for those living in a $200,000 dollar home. Rick Cost is the Chief Financial officer for the district. He says the plan has been proposed to help avoid teacher furlough days, add school resource officers and repay bonds used for constructing classrooms.

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4:46 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

President Obama's Budget Includes Expansion of Pre-Kindergarten Programs

Credit Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama’s 2014 budget proposal includes $75 billion to expand pre-kindergarten programs.  It’s the same plan the president introduced when he visited a pre-k center in Decatur in February. Due to the success of its pre-k program, Georgia could receive a share of the money.

The president’s proposal increases the cigarette tax to pay for the expansion. Bobby Cagle, the commissioner of Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning, says  he supports a pre-k expansion, but favors an alternative funding source.

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10:05 am
Fri April 12, 2013

April 15 Tax Deadline Looms for Late Filers

Monday is April 15th, the deadline to file 2012 taxes.
Credit The Internal Revenue Service

The deadline to file taxes for 2012 is Monday.

Officials at the Internal Revenue Service, remind filers to take an extra-close look at the paperwork before turning it over to the government.

"Probably one of the most costly errors that I've seen over the last 28 years has been where individuals complete everything, double-check all the math, double-check all the social security numbers and then send in the return without signing it.  So that's been a very costly error," says IRS spokesman Mark Green.

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4:49 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

College Park Wins Airport Tax Victory in Court

The Supreme Court of Georgia has given the City of College Park a green light to tax business licenses of vendors at the Atlanta Airport.
Credit Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

The Supreme Court of Georgia ruled today that the City of College Park can tax businesses at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The two cities have been feuding for years over whether College Park can tax businesses at the airport, some of which lie within the College Park city limits.

By a six-to-one decision, the Court upheld an appeals court ruling that allows College Park to levy taxes on airport business licenses within its boundaries. Atlanta City Attorney Cathy Hampton told WABE that the City is reviewing its next steps in the suit.

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7:00 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Legislation Aims to Stop Clayton County from Taxing Airport Vendors

Clayton County has gotten more than $10 million in revenue over the last three years by taxing airport vendors.
Credit Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

A bill making its way through the Georgia Senate right now would stop Clayton County from taxing vendors at the Atlanta Airport. But county officials say creating a new law will not necessarily stop it.

Since 2010, Clayton County has collected more than $10 dollars in ad valorem taxes from airport vendors. Just two years ago, the county lost tax revenue when the state gave Delta Airlines tax breaks on fuel.

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10:49 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Georgians Urged to Take Advantage of Free Tax Preparation Program

Rep. Tom Price (R)
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

With just over a month until the April 15 tax deadline, Georgia Congressman Tom Price visited Chamblee Monday to encourage eligible Georgians to take advantage of a free tax preparation program.

Congressman Price urged Georgians to take advantage of the IRS and Georgia Free File Program. The program allows taxpayers who make $57,000 or less to file their state and federal taxes online for free.

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6:05 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

New Vehicle Tax Change Takes Effect

Cobb County residents wait in line at a tag office in East Cobb County.
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Lines in at least three Metro Atlanta county tax offices were longer than normal Friday as the state began phasing out the so-called birthday tax. Under the new system, Georgians purchasing vehicles or getting their vehicles as of March 1 will have to pay a one-time 6.5 percent tax rather than the yearly Ad Valorem tax. Those purchasing vehicles between February 28 and January 1, 2012 can choose to opt into the new system.

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4:38 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

DeKalb Commissioners Approve Budget Without Tax Increase

The DeKalb County Commission unanimously passed a nearly $559 million dollar budget Tuesday. Commissioners passed the 2013 budget without a small tax increase originally proposed by DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis. The budget includes a cost of living adjustment for the county’s lowest paid workers.

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"One on One" with Steve Goss
8:39 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Tax Tips for 2012 Filers

Internal Revenue Service spokesperson Mark Green

4.1 million Georgians are expected to file tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service this year. With each new year, there are changes to the tax laws that could affect how and when you file.

Mark Green is a spokesperson with the IRS covering Georgia, South Carolina,and Mississippi. Here he talks with WABE's Steve Goss.

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5:14 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Vehicle Tax Change Could Result in Long Lines at County Tax Offices

L to R: Claudia Lawson, DeKalb County Tax Commissioner; Richard Steele, Gwinnett County Tax Commissioner, Arthur Ferdinand, Fulton County Tax Commissioner, and Gail Downing, Cobb County Tax Commissioner
Credit Michelle Wirth / WABE News

Starting on March 1, the state will start phasing out the so-called birthday tax and begin replacing it with a new vehicle tax system.

Georgia residents purchasing vehicles or getting their vehicles retitled after March 1 will have to pay a one-time 6.5 percent tax rather than the yearly Ad Valorem or birthday tax. However, those buying their vehicles at a dealer can apply the sales tax they pay toward the new fee.  Arthur Ferdinand is tax commissioner for Fulton County.

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5:12 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Some Area Residents Can Take Advantage of Free Tax Preparation

Credit Allison Young/Atlanta Community Food Bank

Friday is National Earned Income Tax Credit Day. Government officials, the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the IRS are highlighting the federal tax credit and a free tax preparation program that’s available to those earning $49,000 or less.

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12:05 am
Tue January 22, 2013

DeKalb Commission to Make Tough Budget Decisions

DeKalb County Commissioners will face tough choices as they begin weighing how to balance the 2013 budget Tuesday. 

As a result of declining property tax revenue and the incorporation of the city of Brookhaven, commissioners will have to consider spending cuts or a potential property tax rate increase proposed by DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis. The 1.9 percent millage rate increase would cost almost $49 more per year for owners of a $200,000 home. But Commissioner Jeff Rader is hoping to avoid that increase.

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4:01 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Most Georgians Will See Tax Increases in 2013

The fiscal cliff deal reached by Congress didn't address the temporary reduction of the Social Security payroll tax, which expired January 1. For two years, the payroll tax was reduced to 4.2%. This year, it will return to its former rate of 6.2%. Bob Greenberger is a partner with Atlanta-based accounting firm Habif, Arogeti & Wynne. He says most Georgians will feel the difference.

“For the average household, which is roughly $50,000, it’s going to cost them about $1000/year," he says, "And for a married couple, it could cost them a couple thousand. So, it’s significant.”

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5:30 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Small Business Owners Worry About Fiscal Cliff

Mike Sullivan owns Southeast Sealing which creates finishes on cement floors. He's worried about the impact tax changes will have on his 18 employees.
Credit Southeast Sealing, Inc.

As the so-called fiscal cliff looms ever closer, business owners and their employees are trying to figure out what will happen with paychecks come the first of the year.

Mike Sullivan owns Southeast Sealing in Conyers. His company refurbishes and coats cement floors. He has 18 employees.

Sullivan says he is worried about all of his workers facing higher taxes, but he is especially concerned about those on the lower end of the pay scale.

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4:30 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

Decatur Taking Public Comment on Annexation Plans

City of Decatur

The City of Decatur will take public comment tonight on plans to increase its size by more than 15%.

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5:19 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

Georgia Shows Strong Growth in July

Georgia's revenue numbers showed strong growth in the first month of the fiscal year.

State revenue collections in July increased more than 7 percent compared to the same time last year. Total revenues were $1.3 billion, an increase of $90 million compared to July 2011.

The big gain came on the back of increased individual and corporate income tax collections.

Despite the strong growth, Alan Essig of the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute says Georgians shouldn’t get ahead of themselves.

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"One on One" with Steve Goss
8:39 am
Mon August 6, 2012

IRS Claims Its Share of Olympic Gold, Silver, and Bronze

Alex Knight, partner, Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP

As the medal count increases for U.S., Chinese, and other athletes at this summer's Olympic Games in London, all that hardware is generating significant tax obligations.  Alex Knight is a partner with the Atlanta tax and accounting firm Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP.  In a recent conversation, WABE's Steve Goss talked with Mr. Knight about the financial aspects of Olympic competition, and how the definition of being an 'amateur competitor' has changed...

for more information, visit:

8:39 am
Mon July 23, 2012

22 FAQ's (and Answers) About the T-SPLOST

Jane Hayse, Chief of Transportation Planning, Atlanta Regional Commission

On July 31st, voters across Georgia will go to the polls to cast ballots for or against a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax--or T-SPLOST--in their respective regions.  This week, WABE News is airing a series of reports on various aspects of the referendum.  To begin, WABE's Steve Goss poses a number of frequently asked questions about the T-SPLOST to Jane Hayse, Chief of Transportation Planning with the Atlanta Regional Commission...

"The 5:44" with Denis O'Hayer
7:58 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Another Budget and Tax Standoff Coming? A Talk with Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia)
U.S. Senate

On Friday, July 13th, President Obama repeated his call for Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone, except those with income in the top two percent.  That could set up a post-election fight with Congressional Republicans, and a possible repeat of last year's fears that the nation would default on its debt, because neither side would budge.  WABE's Denis O'Hayer spoke with Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), one of the members of the bipartisan "Gang of Six," which proposed a tax, debt, and budget blueprint during last year's stalemate.

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4:24 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

IRS Has Millions for Georgians to Claim

The Internal Revenue Service says it has millions of dollars waiting for Georgians who didn’t file a federal income tax return in 2008.

IRS spokesman Mark Green says there’s nearly $31,000,000 that belongs to almost 36,000 Georgians. Green says the average refund amount is $581 dollars. He says, most of the unclaimed money belongs to two core groups of taxpayers.

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"The 5:44" with Denis O'Hayer
8:07 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Gov. Nathan Deal Talks With WABE About the Legislative Session (Part 2)

WABE's Denis O'Hayer talks with Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA) in the Governor's office on March 29th, 2012.
Brian Robinson

On March 29th, in the final hours of the 2011-2012 legislative session, Gov. Nathan Deal (R-Georgia) sat down with WABE's Denis O'Hayer in the Governor's office at the State Capitol.  In part 2 of their conversation, the Governor talked about his major initiatives this year:  criminal justice reform, and an overhaul of the state's tax system.  He also hinted that the income tax rate cut so many of his fellow Republicans want to see may be difficult to achieve.

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3:57 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Tax bill heads to Gov. Deal

Today, the Georgia Senate passed a bill aimed at reforming the state’s tax system.

The Georgia House already passed the bill. So, it heads to Governor Nathan Deal who is expected to sign it.

With the bill all but sure to become law, many who will be impacted still have questions.

Lawmakers, lobbyists, advocacy groups and political observers all say House Bill 386 will impact just about everyone: consumers, businesses as well as cities and counties.

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5:15 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Cigarette tax supporters rally at the Capitol

Supporters of raising the state’s cigarette tax by a dollar per pack rallied on the steps of the state Capitol Thursday as part of national Kick Butts Day.

Rally organizer Dan Curran says he’s pushing for the tax increase because his father started smoking when he was in high school. Curran’s father quit when he was in his thirties but was later diagnosed with Leukemia.

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4:11 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Georgia Senate to vote on new tax bill

Twice this week, there’s been a full page ad in the Atlanta Journal Constitution urging the legislature to pass the tax bill. The Alliance for Main Street Fairness paid for the ads.

The Georgia Senate could soon vote on a bill that would make major changes to the state’s tax system.

The House passed the bill yesterday just one day after it was created.

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