ATLANTA — Georgia Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller pre-filed legislation Monday calling for the repeal of the state income tax.

Miller, R-Gainesville, who is running for lieutenant governor, cited the large budget surplus the state posted at the end of the last fiscal year in June, which is likely to continue through the current year.

“We must figure out a way to only tax what is needed and no more,” Miller said in a prepared statement. “Georgians know how to use their hard-earned money more than we do, and in order for Georgia to continue building on its reputation and attract top businesses and talent, we must do more to limit the financial burden placed on our citizens.”

Georgia’s income tax rate stood at 6% for decades until 2018, when the Republican-controlled General Assembly lowered it to 5.75%. Last year, legislative leaders held off on a proposal to further reduce the tax rate, arguing the fiscal uncertainty raised by the coronavirus pandemic made it the wrong time to reduce state tax revenues.

With the pandemic now on the wane, GOP leaders are expected to push legislation during the 2022 session starting in January to further reduce the tax rate to 5.5% or even lower, but Miller’s repeal proposal promises to lend a new element to that debate.

Florida and Texas, states that compete with Georgia for jobs, do not collect state income taxes, and neighboring Tennessee doesn’t tax wages.

While other states in the region do impose an income tax, some including North Carolina charge a lower tax rate than Georgia.

Miller’s proposal likely will get pushback from legislative Democrats, who have warned in recent debates on tax policy that many critical state services – including education and health care – are chronically underfunded.

Monday marked the first day members of the General Assembly could pre-file bills for consideration during the 2022 legislative session.