Tea partyers ask for consistency on timing of sales-tax votes (Updated)

The Legislature’s special redistricting session kicked off today. But with little business to conduct on the first day — first drafts of new statehouse maps have been released, but no bills yet — the show was stolen by some tea partyers complaining about another item on the session’s agenda.

Gov. Nathan Deal’s call to legislators included moving the date of a 2012 referendum on regional transportation sales taxes from the primaries next July to the November general election. This is a cynical move by Georgia Republicans, who are effectively enlisting Obama Democrats — expected to turn out in much higher numbers in November than in July — to pass a tax their own base doesn’t want.

The tea partyers’ response? Turnout turnabout is fair play.

“Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the Democrats in Washington during the Obamacare debate kept constantly changing the rules in the middle of the game to achieve the outcome they wanted,” Debbie Dooley, a national coordinator with Tea Party Patriots, said a press conference in the Capitol. “That’s exactly what’s going on here.”

Georgia’s Republican leaders, she continued, “were saying we need to maximize voter participation. Well, if it’s important to maximize voter participation for the T-SPLOST, isn’t it equally important to maximize voter participation in all future [referendums for] SPLOSTs?”

County leaders have long used special elections to push through SPLOSTs (special-purpose local-option sales taxes) with light turnout. In March, just 11 percent of Cobb voters showed up at the polls for an election to renew the county’s SPLOST; it passed by 90 votes. Five and a half years earlier, the original SPLOST passed by just 114 votes.

A Cobb resident at Monday’s press conference noted that county commissioners said at the time they wouldn’t raise property taxes if the SPLOST passed. Last month, commissioners raised the millage rate anyway, by nearly one-sixth.

I’m asking around to see if there’s support for moving all future SPLOST votes to general elections and will pass on what I hear.

UPDATED at 5:12 p.m.: A spokesman for Speaker David Ralston, Marshall Guest, said the speaker is “open to the idea….he is not afraid to trust the people of Georgia to make that decision. He believes that the the competing ideas should be put before the voters and let the best argument win.”

Guest also noted that the General Assembly already placed some restrictions on when special elections can be held in a law passed in 2008.

Brian Robinson, a spokesman for Gov. Nathan Deal — who wrote in Sunday’s AJC that he supports the transportation tax — said:

We need to invest in our transportation infrastructure. Traffic affects our quality of life and it’s a top concern of business prospects. This isn’t the state forcing through a tax increase. This is giving voters a choice for their local communities.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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69 comments Add your comment

ByteMe

August 15th, 2011
2:41 pm

One of the very few times I agree with Dooley, but likely for different reasons.

xCalaber

August 15th, 2011
2:42 pm

Elected officals have shoved votes around for years to get tax increases past the general public. They always do SPLOST votes at a time when turnout is low and teachers will be more able to get to the polls. Perhaps its time for elected officals to have to face the will of all the people and not manipulate elections to get the outcome they want.
I have not decided about the transit tax yet. But I will always vote against SPLOST if its sandwiched into a low turnout slot.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

August 15th, 2011
3:10 pm

Sounds like some RINOs need to be primaried.

Republican are Lobbyist!

August 15th, 2011
3:17 pm

Republicans are lobbyists who lie big time. In order to help the bank prey on students through student loans, the republicans concocted a story that the government was running short of money to fund the Hope scholarship and needed the banks to fill the gap by offering to give loans. EXCUSE ME? Hope is funded by the lottery not the government.

Same republicans
Same banks
Same corruption….

captguitarman

August 15th, 2011
3:21 pm

The Tea Party request is a very reasonable quid pro quo. It should be a matter of public policy that all important public referendum type votes be scheduled for times of maximum voter turn out. I realize that may be a challenge in Georgia, as well as in some other places. As a traditional Pub/Con, I was grateful that they were able to prevent the usual Congressional rubber stamping of an increase in the debt ceiling thereby forcing a compromise – so they can be an effective catalyst for change. However, I still have mixed feelings, because as with most extremist groups, martyrdom is always an option. They are signaling now that unless they get this change, they will work to defeat the transporation tax – a tax critical to the future stability and growth of north Georgia and Atlanta. I’m sure that leaders in Nashville, Charlotte, Jacksonville, Knoxville, and Birmingham are solidly behind them on that threat.

While the Tea Party can display excellent common sense in addressing some matters of public policy, they struggle with applying it in their own governance, and they can be dogmatic to a fault, and more than willing to fly into the flame taking every one and every thing with them. The default showdown was an excellent example of that. We saw the awful damage to markets and 401-K’s with just the chilling effect of a national default on our debt. What financial chaos would have ensued for the entire nation had we dafaulted? There were actually Tea party members cheering for default, and then that nitwit Michele Bachmann bragging in the recent debate that she voted not to raise the debt ceiling. I have to wonder how hard she would have been working in that debate to distance herself from the default had it actually happened, and a market drop of 6,000 instead of 600, no bounce back, immediate increases in interest rates, and 401-Ks and college funds destroyed??? Had it happened, it would have been the end of the Tea Party and Bachmann’s candidacy, so they can be grateful to those who saw the wisdome of compromise – but those people do not run things. Use them as a catalyst, but don’t let too much power rest in their hands. Their request here is reasonable and it should be granted in exchange for their support. Don’t give them the chance to prevent the much needed transporation improvements necessary to keep this region viable, stable, and competitive, because they will if they can . . . Damn the gridlock, full speed ahead!

Common Since

August 15th, 2011
3:24 pm

Sales tax votes are legislative cowardice regardless of when they occur. The basic premise of government is to levy taxes to provide services that private enterprise cannot (ie. police, the courts, military, infrastructure). If the State of Georgia needs this transportation tax so badly that they have to use tricks to pass it, they ought to have just levied the tax outright in the legislature.

MrLiberty

August 15th, 2011
4:03 pm

The number of honest, small government republicans could be counted on one hand. None of them are from GA. I agree with Common Sense. Putting this on the ballot is just cowardice. They don’t trust the voters enough to allow a true initiative process in this state but have no problem kicking the difficult legislation to the voters on dates that insure or virtually insure the outcomes they don’t have the courage to go on record as supporting.

However I would disagree that private enterprise cannot provide police, courts, infrastructure, or even defence in a manner that is both more effective but also likely lower cost. Government is just people with guns and force. Private enterprise is also just people, but people who do and create to please customers without the benefit of guns or force to receive payment. Sounds like a better deal to me.

tipster

August 15th, 2011
4:26 pm

As some one who has voted for SPLOST projects in the past, I don’t have a problem with them being during the general election. I really hate the wasted money of special elections. Let it pass or fail with the most voters taking part.

real john

August 15th, 2011
4:41 pm

Normally I agree with the Tea Party on most things, but on this they are dead wrong. While I don’t like tax increases, this is one Metro Atlanta does need. We do need more money for transit and roads in this area. Even though I’m sure a lot of the money will be squandered, its still worth it.

This is a move I that I hate when Dems try to pull. For example, the whole redestricting on certain racial lines and lawsuits by the ACLU are disgusting in my book. Just saw where they are now trying to sue in Fayette County for a bunch of crap.

The bottom line is; let the people vote. We should have more say in choices like this. If the people elect to tax themselves more, who is it for the Tea Party to stop that. As I said, I usually like the Tea Party, but they have this one wrong. Its up to the people of Georgia to decide and the more people that vote, the better representation of the public you have.

JF McNamara

August 15th, 2011
4:51 pm

I guess Tea Partyers don’t understand. We actually need things, and we actually need to pay for them. Instead of sneaking around to absolve themselves of blame, I wish the Republicans would simply inform their constituents that sometimes you have to pay for things that will make life better and soften the “no tax” rhetoric.

Kyle Wingfield

August 15th, 2011
5:01 pm

real john: I think the tea partyers are simply saying there should be uniformity, rather than having officials seek high turnout when that favors approval of a tax, and low turnout when that’s more conducive to passage.

Dave R.

August 15th, 2011
5:02 pm

I’ve railed against special elections for SPLOST for years to our GOP elected officials. They have no interest in pulling the plug on them because they, too, are beholden to the special interests that SPLOST funds.

Weasels and jackals, all.

Kyle Wingfield

August 15th, 2011
5:02 pm

JF: It’s not a lack of understanding. They said today they’d be willing to consider supporting the T-SPLOST if it split the money 75% for roads, 25% for transit.

itsmeagain

August 15th, 2011
5:13 pm

Most SPLOST’s aren’t done at the state level. They are done at the local level (either county of city). It’s up to whoever is holding the vote as to when it should occur. That’s why we have local government, so that they can do things the way they want.

Kyle Wingfield

August 15th, 2011
5:16 pm

itsmeagain: Yes, but — right or wrong — that local authority is rooted in the state law creating SPLOSTs.

Dave R.

August 15th, 2011
5:18 pm

itsmeagain, that is the type of “reasoning” that costs taxpayers money, and limits the number of people who will participate in a vote to raise their taxes.

Why are you for that?

I’m a big proponent of local control, but when the locals rig the system in order to ensure the result, they need to be controlled.

Name

August 15th, 2011
5:21 pm

I find it hard to take anyone seriously when they use the word “Obamacare”

Dave R.

August 15th, 2011
5:34 pm

Yeah, ’cause only every media outlet (including the leftists at MSNBC) uses it. :roll:

Road Scholar

August 15th, 2011
5:35 pm

Why don’t we just adjust the present gas tax (which was set as an amount back in the 1980’s) to inflation? I guess the conservatives, who don’t remember what went on in the past 70 years, don’t understand the concept of amortization! Ya’ know…things cost more today then they did years ago! Oh, and by the way it is a user fee…if you use gas, you pay for the roads!

Kyle Wingfield

August 15th, 2011
5:36 pm

Dave R: And Obama himself, too:

“By the way, I have no problem with folks saying Obama cares. I do care,” Obama said. “If the other side wants to be the folks that don’t care, that’s fine with me.”

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2011/08/president-obama-shrugs-off-obamacare-critics-i-do-care-.html

Linda

August 15th, 2011
5:44 pm

We can thank Obama for the Tea Party. Their existence began with the passage of the Dems.’ economic stimulus bill, the complete flop. I can’t think of anything else to thank Obama for.
Obama praises the Arab Spring. He doesn’t seem to relate the Tea Party Spring of ‘09 with the Arab Spring of ‘11 with basically the same agenda, i.e. freedom.
Obama’s career & the Tea Party’s mission coincide. They’re both Community Organizers. Seems like he would be praising the Tea Party for their efforts.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

August 15th, 2011
5:45 pm

The gas tax DOES increase when gas prices go up, so I have no idea what Road Scholar is complaining about. He just needed to vent against Americans, er, Republicans (same thing).

http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/home/headlines/Deal_freezes_Georgia_gas_tax__124502669.html

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

August 15th, 2011
5:47 pm

From what I’ve seen of Chicago, Obozo wasn’t much of a community organizer.

Road Scholar

August 15th, 2011
6:10 pm

LBB: If you had bothered to even read the link you provided , you would have read this:”Georgia’s gas taxes are made up of several parts. The first is a charge of 7.5 cents per gallon that doesn’t change.”

Now, LBB, what does “that doesn’t change.” mean? The other part that would rise is based on the 4% sales tax that is collected on each gallon. This sales tax amount (NOT %- the rate is 4%) is reset periodically based on the past months gas costs.As the price for gas rises, it is raised by 4% of that average raise.

And by the way, the gas tax is not collected from the vendors where you gas up! It is paid at the distributors level…at the tank farms… as a fixed cost (7.5 cents plus 4% of the current average gas cost) as a fixed per gallon fee which is adjusted periodically. The 7.5 cents is not adjusted.

The legislature should raise that portion. To take it further, I would support abolishing the federal gas tax if the state tax was raised a like amount. Because of eliminating fed control of those funds, the benefit would be 30 %, even if we sent Washington 8% of what we collect for administration, special federal projects, planning, and R&D

The 7.5 cents per gallon was set back in the early 1980’s; what would that 7.5 cents be worth in today’s dollars?

MarkV

August 15th, 2011
6:17 pm

Kyle,
I am sorry to mention it, but your article today appears to be a complete flop in terms of the attention it has received here. Better luck next time.

Linda

August 15th, 2011
6:18 pm

The Tea Party is bipartisan. They are made up of Dems., Inds. & Reps. I know. I am a member. They will go after any group they think is not looking after the best interests of our country & our states.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

August 15th, 2011
6:37 pm

President obozo’s job approval rating has taken a downward turn again, falling to only 36%. This represents his lowest rating ever in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.

Even the fake polls can’t get above 39% anymore.

carlosgvv

August 15th, 2011
6:43 pm

So the Tea Party is afraid of a majority vote? I believe that says a number of things about them, none of it good.

I know from personal experience...

August 15th, 2011
6:44 pm

The White Republicans can’t raise taxes on their constituents unless the Black Democrats vote it in for them.

They dangle tokens for MARTA as the bait and the Blacks vote for it and then the Whites will take the money somewhere else.

Same games, different names.

Hillbilly D

August 15th, 2011
6:50 pm

In my opinion, SPLOSTs, T-SPLOST’s, school bonds and every other kind of tax levy that’s voted on, should be voted on in November elections. Let the chips fall and save the money required for all these special elections in mid-summer.

Dave R.

August 15th, 2011
7:12 pm

“So the Tea Party is afraid of a majority vote?”

No, if you read the piece, they don’t a have problem with the vote, but with the TIMING of the vote, carlos.

“I believe that says a number of things about them, none of it good.”

I believe your singular lack of reading comprehension says a lot about you, too.

And none of it good.

Linda

August 15th, 2011
7:18 pm

Kyle, Isn’t it funny that liberals think your articles are worse flops than Obama’s policies/bills/agendas?
I noticed in the past, based on polls you conducted, that there were many more people who READ your blog & VOTE on your polls than those who make comments.
Thank you for your blogs that both the left & the right are interested in & feel comfortable commented on. Thank you for making your blogs fair & balanced, compared to other blogs that are so slanted that the bloggers seems to be more like pimps or pipers who lure his or her flocks into his or her fold.

Michael H. Smith

August 15th, 2011
7:30 pm

obumer 39% ! :lol:

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

August 15th, 2011
7:41 pm

“You can’t just make money on SUVs and trucks,” Obama said during a town hall forum in Cannon Falls, Minn. “There is a place for SUVs and trucks, but as gas prices keep on going up, you have got to understand the market. People are going to try to save money.”

And, of course, he drove all the way across the country to unload this reeking pile of stupidity in a……………bus.

MarxV

August 15th, 2011
7:56 pm

Post Office Woes Will Help UPS

UPS and FedEx have shown that postal delivery can make a profit. If the USPS can’t do the same, it will be writing its own obituary.

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2011/08/15/post-office-woes-will-help-ups.aspx

Save socialism from the evils of capitalism now!

Republican

August 15th, 2011
7:57 pm

All Nigars are democrats and should not be on this site

Republican

August 15th, 2011
7:58 pm

no nigars that includes president nigar

gm

August 15th, 2011
8:21 pm

Republican

Another piece of trash thats in the tea party, it is very hard to tell the terroist from the pice of garbage that we have running around in the Rep party.
I pray we never get attack like 911 then you will hear all these hypocrites red necks start saying God bless America and cover their self with the flags, after watching these low life piece of garbage take aim at the President of the United States, I wonder how many minorities will actually help these idiots? if they were caught in a Building and depending on help.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

August 15th, 2011
8:38 pm

Road Scholar
August 15th, 2011
6:10 pm
—————————

Nice try, Road, but the biggest part of the tax (75% of it) varies with the price.

Perhaps YOU should read my link.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

August 15th, 2011
8:43 pm

gm, most likely “Republican” is a Democrat doing a false-flag operation, making your comment about it being in the tea party rather foolish.

Sandra

August 15th, 2011
8:50 pm

@Republican, you are really a very sick individual. BTW, I am caucasian. Hopefully, you understand what that means. I personnaly don’t think you are very bright.

Phil's Tel-A-Gramm

August 15th, 2011
9:00 pm

I actually like it when the tea party goes after politicians at the state and local level. That is precisely where they should be focusing their effort if they truly are looking for accountability from their elected ones. They need to go after county commissioners and the people appointed by them as well. Good job.

Phil's Tel-A-Gramm

August 15th, 2011
9:02 pm

Congress: 14% :lol:

Linda

August 15th, 2011
9:10 pm

If gm thinks “republican” is a “pice” of garbage & covering “their self”, we are getting somewhere.

dixiedemons

August 15th, 2011
9:18 pm

@ Republican

Did you finish highschool ? Many racists are products of their environments. Most are just uneducated and easily led.

Road Scholar

August 15th, 2011
9:25 pm

LBB: I read your link and I’m focused on the 7.5 cents. Heck, the Gov delaying any increase because the conservatives whine, esp now that the price of gas is going down 20 cents/gallon with more reduction forcasted. Why did he say he would delay it….because of the high cost and the additional taxl would inconvenience Georgians. Now that the price is down, I hope he will recalculate the increase and find a net no change, so he can keep faith.

It still does not address the original 7.5 cents and added valuet due to inflation. I bet that the amount set in 1982 would at least double over 29 years! In a state that has reduced its roadway maintenance from 10 % of SR’s to 2% yearly (have you noticed the long grass, increasing trash, poor pavement/potholes, etc statewide? I bet not since you spend all your time pecking on your keyboard! Did you know that the state DOT spends about $16 MILLION on state route trash pickup…per year? Is that a waste?

johns creek

August 15th, 2011
9:25 pm

The TEA party is right on this one.

Road Scholar

August 15th, 2011
9:26 pm

Kyle, are you reviewing the posts or do you agree w/ Republican?

Mama Says

August 15th, 2011
9:26 pm

Ok folks, as a political dork would do, I have read the proposed “transportatioon list” which passed the intial phase today.

As a conservative and on this issue a Tea Partier, I cannot understand to save my life how several things are included in a “special” transportion tax vote.

They are;

Maintaining Marta (Wasn’t Marta approved by each county it operates in–and shouldn’t that include any maintenance)

All these road improvements and widening—–aren’t we in this transportation trouble because we are running out of road space (for a lack of better description) ?

We should only approve any new tax if it is thought out and applied in a futuristic or forward thinking manner. Why do we have to wait until 6.2 billion dollars is gone to realize that we need to change the game plan ?

The expenditure proposed, if actually collected, could fund light rail in every metro county and that light rail should be used to connect each city within each county. A forward thinking politician would understand that connecting Lithonia to Lawrenceville or Palmetto to Fairburn via rail is more enviromentally friendly and cost effective b/c it would serve to ease traffic congestion and actually meet the objective of enviromental traffic relief.

Oh yeah another reason to be a tea partier on this issue, if nothing else proves to be a waste of money and a lack of foresight it would be the reestablishment of the Clayton County Bus system. This was a system that despite money being pumped into it by the Clayton County government lost an avg. of 5-7 million a year. The people who placed this project over the more effective relief projects have proven, by this act alone, that they are not and will not be good stewards of our money.

Oh yeah one more thing, Look at Henry County, one of the fastest growing and largest counties in the state. The best our own leaders, one of which is that counties commissioner, can do is suggest that they widen roads ? come on wasn’t that the idea adopted for Gwinnett County in 1980 ?—-very forward thinking of them isn’t it ?

but then again, as was mentioned in todays paper had the transportation board been unable to agree on a list they were gonna ask us to ok it and then amend the list. More typical government B.S.–vote on something that we know was not gonna be the actual list.

We wonder why we are in this shape, we are led by the animal house cast !!

Linda

August 15th, 2011
9:33 pm

Republicans know that “Republican” is a fraud, not one of ours but one of yours, the Democrats. Wise up, Democrats!