GAE president: Time to fix tax code

LAWRENCEVILLE - The president of the Georgia Association of Educators said it's time for the state to revisit its tax code and tax structure.

Although Georgia is a low-tax state compared to others in the nation, the amount in taxes that major corporations have to pay is disproportionate to the average resident, president Jeff Hubbard said. The corporations' tax breaks means big businesses are paying 60 to 80 percent less than an average resident, he said.

Because the struggling economy has led to cuts in education funding, teachers and schools "are being hamstrung in what we can provide to (students)," Hubbard said.

"The governor has basically put the screws to all 180 of Georgia's school systems," Hubbard said. "Because of his austerity cuts, it has just exasperated the situation. The rank and file and children of Georgia have suffered. ... Even in bad times, we've got to protect our children."

To handle the cuts, school systems throughout the state have had to cut programs and services, dip into their "rainy day" reserve funds and raise property taxes. But Hubbard said homeowners shouldn't be burdened with more taxes The state needs to revise the tax structure to ensure major corporations are being taxed more proportionately.

"(Big corporations) need to be good citizens as well," he said. "Being good citizens means that you pay your fair share."

Public education isn't just a short-term investment, Hubbard said.

"It's the best long-term investment we have," he said.