Cagle: Senate Passes Tax Transparency for Legislators

March 12, 2009

Lt Governor Casey Cagle commended the State Senate for moving forward with a responsible and legal method to identify and respond to legislators who do not file their taxes.

“Elected officials should be held to the same standard as every other Georgian in filing and paying their taxes.  This is even more critical as legislators themselves craft tax policy on a regular basis.  This amendment will grant every Georgia citizen the right to know each and every year which legislators have not filed their tax return.

“After careful consideration and substantive conversations with the Attorney General’s office as well as the Department of Revenue, we have provided a real solution that gives us the legal ability to respond to allegations of tax evasion. 

“While we need to do all we can to hold legislators accountable for misconduct, we should remember that the vast majority of legislators file and pay their taxes every year.” said Lt Governor Casey Cagle.   

The Georgia State Constitution currently provides each legislative body an avenue to censure, fine, imprison or expel members guilty of misconduct.  However, confidentiality requirements under state law do not give the Department of Revenue the legal authority to release publically the names of legislators who avoid filing taxes.  This amendment grants the Department of Revenue the legal authority to release such names.  The Joint Legislative Ethics Commission can conduct an investigation of members of the General Assembly to consider if they have committed misconduct by failing to file a Georgia personal income tax return. The matter may also be referred to the Senate or House Ethics Committee.