Strangers to the state Capitol might find it strange, but one of the greatest honors of which a Democratic lawmaker can boast is that he has been robbed blind.
That his pockets have been picked. That his intellectual property is considered so valuable that it has been confiscated by the eminent domain wielded by his Republican rulers.
House Democratic Leader DuBose Porter of Dublin, also a candidate for governor, now says it’s happened to him. Last session, he and other Democrats introduced H.B. 356, a bill to give counties and cities authority to collect sales taxes on their own – on the theory that the state Department of Revenue leaves hundreds of millions of on the table.
Porter’s pushing of the issue, in fact, prompted this response in September from state Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham. He conceded that more auditors will always result in more tax collections, but said dreams of large sums are just that.
But earlier this week, Travis Fain at the Macon Telegraph tapped out these lines:
State Rep. Larry O’Neal, a Warner Robins Republican who is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he sees more cuts and “a far more aggressive tax collection methodology.”
O’Neal said he wants the Georgia Department of Revenue to hire more auditors. He also said the department is implementing new technology to better zero in on tax scofflaws.
That includes a pilot system implemented in Hall, Chatham, Lowndes and Cherokee counties to compare local business license records with state sales tax records. Already a lot of inconsistencies — businesses that pay taxes but don’t have a license or vice versa — have been found, O’Neal said.
He said he’s looking for the Department of Revenue to make some high-profile busts of retail owners who don’t turn over all the sales taxes they collect to “change the subculture” of fraud and abuse. O’Neal said he thinks there are “hundreds of millions” going uncollected either because of fraud or accidental underpayment.
Said Porter on his campaign blog:
The key Republican leadership can no longer continue to hold it down and have started to try and make it their own. Welcome aboard.
Jason Pye on Tuesday talked with Bob Barr, the former Georgia congressman and Libertarian presidential candidate, about his decision – with conservative leaders Grover Norquist and David Kean – to call out Republicans who were “scaremongering” over the transfer of Guantanamo Bay terror suspects to the U.S. mainland.
Barr says the following in a podcast that Pye has posted here:
“I have faith in our prison system, which is probably the best in the world….I don’t understand why particularly so many Republican senators and so many Republican members of Congress are so worried about all of this.
“They seem to have very little faith in the ability of our federal marshals and our military to transport and maintain the security of these prisoners….They seem to have very little faith in our federal judges and our federal prosecutors and our court personnel to handle these matters.
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