You’ve got to give it to the Department of Revenue — they just love to single handedly screw the state. If there is a bigger bunch of malevolent bureaucrats out to screw you, I don’t know in which department they reside. Maybe the DMV, but I think DoR takes the cake with this bit of lunacy.
The Georgia Department of Revenue is re-interpreting a 1998 law that allowed tax credits for shipping traffic through Georgia ports. The new interpretation allows the credit only for exports, and the department is making the change retroactive, so that some companies that already took the tax credit may have to repay the money, according to a presentation made to the Savannah Economic Development Authority board Monday.
Some elected and economic development officials say the change will have a chilling effect on Georgia’s reputation and ability to recruit new businesses.
State and local governments use tax credits as a way to lure companies to locate in their communities. Taking back those incentives is unfair and could reduce the trust companies have in Georgia’s ability to keep its word, said Lynn Pitts, senior vice president of the Savannah Economic Development Authority.
So let’s get this straight. The Department of Revenue interpreted a law one way in 1998 and now it has decided to interpret it a different way. And who is going to cover the costs of their flight of fickle fancy? Georgia businesses.
It’s one thing to say they’re going to re-interpret it. That’s fine. More power to them. But to apply that interpretation retroactively and make businesses cough up more money is unsound, unfair, and should offend all our sensibilities.
Will Governor Perdue intervene to stop them? I sure hope so.