ATLANTA - The General Assembly is considering giving Georgians trying to cope with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic some tax relief.

Legislation raising the standard deduction allowed state income taxpayers passed unanimously Wednesday in a House Ways and Means subcommittee.

Under House Bill 593, married taxpayers filing jointly would be able to add $1,100 to the state’s standard deduction, which would increase from $6,000 to $7,100. Single taxpayers would be allowed to deduct an additional $800, and married couples filing separately would get an additional deduction of $550.

The state House of Representatives approved a bill last year setting Georgia’s income tax rate at a flat 5.375%. But the Georgia Senate didn’t take up the measure after lawmakers returned to the Gold Dome from a three-month hiatus prompted by COVID-19.

“So much of this was talked about last session,” Ways and Committee Chairman Shaw Blackmon, R-Bonaire, the bill’s chief sponsor, told members of the subcommittee Wednesday. “This is an opportunity to ease back into giving folks some of that relief. … It hits the most Georgians we could get with a tax relief package.”

Blackmon said the annual fiscal impact of the tax cut on the state’s coffers would be around $150 million at most.

The bill is cosponsored by Rep. Bruce Williamson, R-Monroe, the subcommittee’s chairman; and Reps. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta; Ron Stephens, R-Savannah; David Knight, R-Griffin; and Jason Ridley, R-Chatsworth.

The legislation now heads to the full Ways and Means Committee.

Dave Williams is the bureau chief of the Capitol Beat News Service.

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