Reversal of Fortune: The state of Georgia sticks it to retirees...kinda

     In some alternate universe, a conservative state legislature votes to eliminate tax exemptions for some of its state’s wealthier individuals.  The predominantly Republican pols revoke a law slated to eliminate all caps on exemptions of pension and other retiree income in 2016 and, instead, install a $65,000 cap for individual income and $130,000 for a couple.  And what bastion of progressivity would, essentially, increase taxes on the wealthy?  Why that would be Georgia –- the state, not the former Soviet Socialist Republic.
         In writing about such luminary Georgia golf communities as The Landings in Savannah and Reynolds Plantation 90 minutes north of Atlanta, we have touted that the state would
Georgia's governor signed legislation that would have eliminated taxes starting in 2016 on retiree income from most sources. The Republican legislature overrode that and set a cap.

gradually eliminate all taxes by 2016 on retiree income from dividends, rental property, capital gains, royalties, pensions and annuities.  But until we read a special section in the Wall Street Journal today –- “State to Seniors:  Good Times May Be Ending” –- we had no idea that the Georgia state legislature a few months ago had essentially overridden a bill signed by Governor Nathan Deal early in 2012.  We called the Georgia state Department of Revenue and, sure enough, a helpful associate in the tax policy division confirmed the plan to give all levels of retirees a break had been scotched.
         The logic originally for eliminating the tax for every resident over the age of 65 seemed unassailable.  Florida, directly south of Georgia, levies no state income tax on its citizens, and Georgia legislators were persuaded the Sunshine State would siphon off some of its wealthier retirees.  The legislation that would culminate in no tax for virtually all seniors in the state (unless you generate more than $4,000 from a regular job) was marketing fodder for Georgia golf communities and a magnet for baby boomers seeking a warmer climate in a low-cost state.
         Although it is certainly a curiosity that a Republican dominated legislature would roll back an entitlement for its wealthiest patrons, the state still offers retirees a low-cost haven for their golden years.  Being able to shield your first $130,000 of pension and other retirement income from any taxes is a big
Still, with $130,000 in retiree income free of tax, Georgia should remain a magnet for baby boomers.

  deal for most couples in their ‘60s and, for the most well-to-do, the reasonable cost of living in all corners of Georgia will open the eyes of any retiree with a calculator.  (For example, a couple moving from Chicago’s suburbs to Savannah will save about 23% in annual expenses.)
         We are always happy to run the numbers for our customers’ own circumstances and to introduce you to some of the best golf communities and real estate professionals in the southern U.S.  Our services are complimentary to our clients.  Contact us if you would like our free assessment of what golf communities will match your requirements.

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