Last week, at a press conference designed to show the enthusiasm of Casey Cagle and the state Senate for a measure that could lead to increased funding for transportation, the lieutenant governor declared the push for a sales tax to be absolutely, completely sequestered from the reorganization of the transportation bureaucracy championed by Gov. Sonny Perdue.
“We are trying to keep those two issues completely separate. The issue of governance is separate from the issue of funding. Totally separate,” the lieutenant governor said.
Apparently, things change. This morning, as reported below, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) declared that, without a “governance” bill, there’s no way he could support a House-Senate compromise on a sales tax for transportation.
“I’m very fearful of moving forward with any funding plan, if there’s not a governance plan,” Rogers said at a press conference. “We have tried this over last six years, putting zillions of dollars into transportation, and we have not seen good results.”
Rogers was one of the key Republican votes that killed a T-SPLOST bill last year. And this year he’s in a much more influential position. Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams (R-Lyons), who also voted against the measure last year, was by Rogers side.
“I’m very fearful of moving forward with any funding plan, if there’s not a governance plan,” Rogers said. “We have tried this over last six years, putting zillions of dollars into transportation, and we have not seen good results.”
There was some speculation that Rogers was speaking out of turn. But that has turned out not to be the case.
This afternoon, after much delay, the House named three members to a conference committee on H.B. 277, its sales tax-for-transportation legislation. However, the House failed to put S.B. 200, a revised version of the governor’s transportation plan, up for a floor vote.
This evening, we’re told that Cagle has made a House vote on S.B. 200 a prerequisite for the naming of Senate conferees to any negotiations over the sales tax. Governance and the sales tax for transportation have been linked.
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