ATLANTA — Georgia tax collections were up 4.5% last month compared to January of last year, welcome news for state lawmakers trying to come to grips with budget cuts ordered by Gov. Brian Kemp.

The state Department of Revenue brought in nearly $2.36 billion in taxes in January, an increase of $100.8 million over the same month in 2019.

However, the news wasn’t as positive when it comes to year-to-date tax revenues. During the first seven months of fiscal 2020, the state collected $14.21 billion, just 0.9% above the same period the year before.

That’s not nearly enough to keep up with projected revenue growth. With tax revenues sluggish during most of 2019, Kemp instructed state agencies last August to reduce spending by 4% during the current fiscal year and 6% in fiscal 2021, which begins July 1.

The challenge of making those cuts while preserving vital state programs and services prompted House Speaker David Ralston to call time out on the 2020 legislative session last week. Members of the House Appropriations Committee are using the break to take a deeper dive into the governor’s spending proposals for the various departments.

Individual income taxes last month nearly mirrored the overall results, increasing by 4.3% over January of last year. Net sales tax receipts were up by 4.6%, while corporate income tax collections rose 28.2%, an increase in tax payments exceeding a rise in refunds.

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