ATLANTA –George Gov. Brian Kemp wants to use $ 1.6 billion of the state’s $ 2.2 billion in available cash to grant rebates in April on state income tax.
The Republican told the Georgia Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday that he wanted to give a rebate of $ 250 to each person filing state income taxes and $ 500 to each household filing jointly.
The money is said to come from part of the huge budget surplus the state generated last year. Even after filling Georgia’s Rainy Days Fund to its legal limit, the state had $ 2.2 billion in cash.
The rebates are the centerpiece of Kemp’s emerging strategy to get money into the hands of as many voters as possible, as quickly as possible, as he seeks re-election this year. Kemp faces a tough GOP primary ahead of a tough general election campaign against likely Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams.
“We’re just giving the money back to the people who pay the taxes,” Kemp told reporters after his speech. “We’re trying to help the working people fight rising inflation and stuff.”
Kemp also proposed salary increases of $ 5,000 for state agency employees, a move approved by Republican House Speaker David Ralston of Blue Ridge on Wednesday. And he wants to push back his proposed $ 2,000 pay raise for teachers in the current budget year by paying a one-time bonus of $ 2,000 now, according to preliminary state remarks from Thursday obtained. Monday by The Associated Press.
Kemp also said Georgia’s university system would reduce special fees added during the recession if lawmakers agreed to reinstate funding cut two years ago from university budgets.
The tax rebate and teacher bonus could reach voters ahead of the Republican primary on May 24, when Kemp takes on former US Senator David Perdue, former state lawmaker Vernon Jones and others for the nomination of his side.
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