Publisher’s note: We will occasionally publish opinion columns by announced Democrat and Republican candidates running for statewide office in Georgia’s May 2022 primaries.

America and Georgia seem to be at war these days with two economic theories: Socialism or Capitalism. The Democrats, I believe, have become socialists. They want to take your money and then create new government programs to give it away to folks who didn’t earn it. Meanwhile, Republicans believe in capitalism. We believe in letting folks have the freedom to work hard, earn their money, and invest it in ways that benefit them.

Vernon Jones

I used to be a Democrat. But then the Democratic Party left me. Why? Because I am a believer in capitalism. And as a capitalist, we ought to eliminate Georgia’s 5.75 percent income tax.

Georgia as a state has grown in recent decades as Americans throughout the country have moved here for more opportunities to provide for themselves and their families. However, when compared to other states that have seen rapid growth like Texas and Florida, our state is still falling behind. I believe the biggest factor playing into this disparity in growth is that Texas and Florida have created a more welcoming environment to newcomers by allowing people to keep their personal earnings.

Until elected officials in Georgia allow their constituents to compete on a level playing field, we will not see growth at the same scale as other states. We want more people and more businesses to make Georgia their new home to create more prosperity for themselves and for our residents already living here. To make that happen, we must eradicate our state income tax. There is no reason for our state to continue pickpocketing from the people who have decided to make Georgia their permanent home.

By keeping our state income tax, we are punishing people for bringing their families here. We are punishing them for choosing our state to launch their businesses. And we are punishing them financially for choosing our state rather than our competitors to begin the next chapter of their lives. When has this ever worked out in our nation’s history? California is known for its high taxes, and the state’s population shrank last year. It would be a complete disaster for the same to happen to Georgia.

For decades, Georgia had an income tax of 6 percent. And as someone who grew up in a family that often lived paycheck to paycheck, I can tell you firsthand that 6 percent of your income can make a world of difference for many families. In some cases, it can mean the difference between putting food on the dinner table for your family or skipping a meal altogether. And when running a business, it can mean the difference between being understaffed or paying a few extra employees to help maintain operations.

Under President Donald Trump’s bold leadership and pro-growth policies, our economy soared in recent years. During this time, the collection of increased sales taxes, property taxes and income taxes that our state received allowed the legislature to wisely use a portion of that new revenue to eliminate the property tax and slightly lower the top income tax from 6 percent to 5.75 percent. But the key word here is “portion.”

In Fiscal Year 2021 that began when President Trump was still in office, our state received $3.2 billion more in taxes than the year prior. Unfortunately, our state’s spending has also soared after receiving this influx in tax dollars. In Fiscal Year 2018, our state budget was $25 billion. That has now increased to $27.3 billion in Fiscal Year 2022. Rather than spend the earnings of our hardworking residents, why not let the people keep all their money? A small “portion” just isn’t enough.

My solution to this growing problem is for the elected officials of Georgia to adopt a plan over a multi-year period that would allow us to compete with states like Texas and Florida that have no income tax. We must completely eradicate our state’s income tax sooner rather than later to create an equal playing field. My goal as Georgia’s next governor is to make our state more competitive.

As a candidate who wants to earn your trust to become Georgia’s next governor, I want to be honest with my plans. My philosophy is that the government should stay out of the lives of the people. Georgia should be a bastion of limited government that allows residents to pursue their dreams without the fear of being told what to do and without the fear that the government’s hands are always in their pockets.

If I am elected our state’s next governor, my focus will not be to create new wasteful spending programs. My goal will be leading new economic developments that benefit our residents and creating new jobs so that more people can provide for their families. And allowing the people of Georgia to keep their heard-earned money is the first task we must complete to achieve that goal.

Vernon Jones, a one-time DeKalb County CEO and former state representative, is a Republican candidate for governor.


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