Public Service Commissioner Chuck Eaton is taking on the sales tax levied on energy in the manufacturing process, including electricity, and asking the Georgia General Assembly to remove it.
In a letter to the Georgia General Assembly last fall asking that they consider removing the tax, Eaton noted that Georgia is one of only 10 states, and the only one in the southeast, to charge full sales tax on energy.
“This places Georgia at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting new jobs and investment,” Eaton wrote. “The hidden cost of Georgia’s tax on energy also puts existing manufacturing jobs at risk by increasing production costs.”
Eaton said he has the support of the governor as well as Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Speaker David Ralston in his effort to remove this tax, something he said is a first step to helping attract and retain jobs in the state. Eaton said failing to eliminate the sales tax on energy in manufacture could easily cost Georgia more in lost jobs and investment than it produces in state income.
“In Dalton, the sluggish economy and the moribund housing market have combined to pummel the carpet industry, one of Georgia’s traditional manufacturing powerhouses. Several plants have been closed, costing the area several thousand jobs,” Eaton wrote, adding that managers at manufacturing facilities constantly tell him that the energy sales tax makes them less competitive. “We cannot continue to put good manufacturing jobs at risk over an outdated tax policy. Repealing the sales tax on energy used by manufacturers should be at the top of any list of economic growth and job creation measures considered by the General Assembly.”
Eaton's full op-ed can be seen here.