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GBPI Summer Listening Tour Stop in Athens

Caitlin Highland, GBPI

Representatives from the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute holding a breakfast meeting in Athens this morning, as part of the nonprofit’s Summer Listening Tour.

GBPI shared the concerns from conversations staff and consultants asked during a three-day visit to the Classic City.

Taifa Butler says they spoke with nonprofit leaders, students and adults getting retraining about barriers and opportunities.

“The things that were underscored for us were still those challenges around mental health,” according to Butler.  “And just people just not being able to make ends meet and the daily stress of trying to make ends meet every day in a community that doesn’t have good transportation, that there are low wages and they’re just not earning enough to be able to support their kids

Butler says racial tensions and lack of funding for health care programs and education were often mentioned. She believes the state could easily raise a billion dollars by reconsidering some of the estimated $9 billion in corporate tax breaks, as well as possibly expanding sales taxes on driving and other services among other measures.

“There are some corporate tax breaks that we don’t even know if they’re doing well and we’re giving away dollars and not investing them in programs that are really important. Increase the tax on cigarettes, tobacco. We are the third-lowest taxing state for tobacco and that could raise nearly $400 million.”

GBPI was foundered in 2004.

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