Your morning jolt: Pro-tax, anti-tax forces ready themselves

When the Legislature reassembles next week, the pro-tax and anti-tax sides will be ready to pounce.

On Monday, backers of a dollar-a-pack cigarette tax will pitch their cause as one solution to a billion-dollar state budget gap. They’ll bring in the No. 2 medical officer for the American Cancer Society, Dr. Len Lichtenfeld.

On Tuesday, the anti-tax group Americans for Prosperity will host a noon rally on the steps of the Capitol. Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and no friend of Gov. Sonny Perdue, will be one of the speakers. Click here for the rest of the day’s AFP agenda.

House Speaker David Ralston on Thursday announced that a bipartisan fund-raiser for Haiti last month brought in a total $46,302. The fund-raiser also featured one of the more astute political moves we’ve seen out of the region’s predominant transit agency.

Beverly Scott, general manager and CEO of MARTA, presented the speaker with a $30,000 contribution from MARTA employees.

Republicans in particular are suspicious of the polling results in Georgia being pumped out by Public Policy Polling of North Carolina this week. Most prefer Rasmussen’s view.

But one Republican who’s not complaining is Karen Handel. A PPP poll of the GOP race for governor put the standings thusly:

– John Oxendine, 27%;

– Karen Handel, 19%;

– Nathan Deal, 13%;

– All other candidates, 2-3%;

– Undecided, 32%

To use a cycling metaphor, the PPP poll is the first survey to show Handel breaking away from the peloton in an attempt to chase down Oxendine.

The Chatham County Democratic party held its annual fund-raiser down in Savannah on Thursday. All five candidates for governor were there, as well as the party’s one announced candidate for lieutenant governor.

Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News led with these quips from former Gov. Roy Barnes:

“I don’t know what they’re doing up there,” Barnes told more than 400 people at the Toby Buttimer Awards dinner. “It seems like there is a bottle of crazy pills up there, and they took it.”

He ridiculed a GOP-backed state Senate resolution calling for Georgia to secede from the union if the federal government passes new gun-control laws.

“We’re in pretty bad financial shape,” joked Barnes, who leads the five-man Democratic field in the polls and in campaign fundraising. “I don’t think we can afford another war with the United States.”

He also made fun of a Senate-passed bill that makes it a misdemeanor to implant a microchip in someone against his will.

“Now let me tell you this,” he said as the audience roared with laughter. “If somebody holds me down and drives a microchip into my head, it had better be more than just a damn misdemeanor.”

If elected, Barnes promised to rid the Capitol of the “wingnuts” and “stop the stupidity and craziness.”

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

22 comments Add your comment


March 5th, 2010
10:27 am

My man Ox is still lapping the field. Every where I go I see Ox signs popping up, showing the MASSIVE grassroots support that my man Ox has. My man Ox is the only one he can beat Roy, and can possibly win in July without a run-off.


March 5th, 2010
10:35 am

Umm, GoOx, you shouldn’t be gloating over the fact that despite everyone knowing who he is, Ox is losing to “Undecided” in the primary, in which only those who are already inclined to vote for him might be going to the polls. It does not point to strength. It points towards weakness. Undecided voters know Ox and do not want to vote for him. They are not as familiar with Handel or Deal, as they are newer or lower profile on the GA stage.

A known candidate who can only pull about a quarter of Reps in a primary should be asking what he is doing wrong, not celebrating the poll as a victory.


March 5th, 2010
10:39 am

Is it just me or does anyone else think that GoOx is really Oxendine himself?

You Asked

March 5th, 2010
10:40 am

Congratulations GoOx- “campaign staffers pimping their candidate in discussion forums” has just passed up “people with no life competing to make the first post the word first” as the most annoying trend in blogging.


March 5th, 2010
10:49 am

Three out of four people do not want to vote for someone, and GoOx calls that grassroots? Please. Grassroots is when an unknown candidate catches on. As people learn about the candidate, they turn to support the candidate.

Someone who has been in state office for decades who can only get a quarter of the voters interested in him hardly qualifies as grassroots. Please. Hysterical that anyone would even state that. It smells of desperation.

It seems more like there is a candidate who is being rejected by three out of four voters in his party. That’s more like grass turning into straw than grass taking root.

The Ox campaign must be shaking at its core, knowing how hard it is to convince people who know a candidate to change their negative perceptions of a candidate. He should have a commanding lead at this point, not a quarter of possible voters. This will be especially true now, as there is a general dislike of presently entrenched long-term in office.

Examples on other elections where people wanted change: Hillary Clinton was way ahead at this point in her campaign, and lost support as time went on. Jimmy Carter was an unknown, being trounced by Mo Udall and Jerry Brown in the polls. Looking at poll numbers right now, one should assume that by election day, the better known candidates will be polling lower and the lesser-known candidates will be polling higher.

You Asked

March 5th, 2010
10:51 am

I’m getting my name legally changed to Undecided and entering the political arena. I’ll be a shoo-in!


March 5th, 2010
10:53 am

One has to wonder, what will Ox do for a living once he loses this race? With his dad’s recent legal troubles and no experience working in the private sector, what can he do to earn money? I’d think that like Mark Taylor, his plan was to work with dad, but given dad’s legal problems, would that be possible?

If he loses the election, it will diminish him being able to market himself as being a state power broker. With the economy the way that it is, one must wonder what he will do for a living once he loses the race.

Jay-Z Stole My Smelling Salts

March 5th, 2010
10:58 am

Barnes just picked-up all the votes he’ll ever need from me Tweeting just this one zinger:

“If somebody holds me down and drives a microchip into my head, it had better be more than just a damn misdemeanor.”



March 5th, 2010
11:05 am

DAVID POYTHRESS, Democratic candidate for Governor, was the FIRST and THE ONLY candidate to call out the “secessionists”. I refer you to the AJC Jim Galloway’s own article “The Tenth Amendment and a pairing of history” dated Feb. 27, 2010. A portion of that article reads:

“But this isn’t just about history. Last year, the state Senate passed a resolution declaring Georgia’s right to secede — should encroachment by the federal government deepen. One candidate, then-state senator Eric Johnson of Savannah, voted for the measure. Two others, John Oxendine and Karen Handel, joined McBerry and endorsed it.

The bandwagon crashed to a halt when Democratic candidate for governor David Poythress, the former commander of the Georgia National Guard, rebuked his GOP opposition in a YouTube video.

Poythress declared that dissolution of a nation isn’t something to be spoken of lightly when U.S. troops were dying overseas. “They would, in effect, ban the American flag, and end the Pledge of Allegiance. They would say to the world that when they don’t get their way, they quit,” Poythress said. “That’s just childish. That’s cowardice, not leadership.”

That ended the discussion for most Republican candidates. But not McBerry.”

Old Roy said NOTHING about this until POYTHRESS began to get favorable press on the issue. Oh well, some will always be leaders and some will be followers. POYTHRESS is a leader and Old Roy is just following his lead. The fact is that Roy took the issue for his own. Typical. The very least Galloway and Barnes could do is give credit where credit is due…….in this case to DAVID POYTHRESS…..the man with the courage to speak out when others stood silent. That defines a leader!


March 5th, 2010
11:05 am



March 5th, 2010
11:07 am

Why is it that we never hear what Demo candidates other than Barnes have to say. I am starting to believe that this column is a little biased. There is no way he is going to win the primary and us Dems would like to learn more about the other candidates.

Rosco P. Coltrane

March 5th, 2010
11:17 am

So $46,000 was raised at Ralston’s bi-partisan fundraiser, and MARTA employees made up $30K of it. Doesn’t sound very bipartisan to me.

Sara in Henry County

March 5th, 2010
11:22 am

Barnes started all this stupidity if you ask me. He first impacted our Teachers in a very negative way. Like he said when he entered the race he didn’t listen before when he was Governor. It is hard to believe that you change after the age of 60 so how can I believe he will listen now. He hasn’t changed in that he takes other people action and tries to turn it into his own. A good example is he starts off by talking about the GOP trying to secede from the union like this was something he come up with. David Poythress is the first one to come out strong against what the GOP was doing. He did it from the stand point that was not showing support for all our soliders who defend us. It is true Barnes can make people laugh but I think most are like me they are laughing at him not with him.


March 5th, 2010
1:11 pm

If Gov. Barnes could rid the Capitol of wingnuts and crazies I’d elect him Governor for life. Of course, no one could actually achieve such a worthy goal.


March 5th, 2010
2:01 pm

Raise taxes on alchohol as well as ALL tobacco products. Cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco etc. Do the same for ALL “tobacco accessories” from rolling paper to any form of pipe, hukah etc.PROFIT!


March 5th, 2010
3:00 pm

put a 2 cent a gallon tax on gasoline and spread it around to everyone. Gas prices are going back up to $3.50 a gallon by summer anyway. No one will feel the difference.


March 5th, 2010
3:31 pm

Cigarette taxes are one of those areas of tax policy where there is a great divide between what the public favors and what tax economists generally see as sound tax policy. Cigarette taxes tend to reduce economic welfare and harm tax equity across several dimensions. They are horizontally inequitable because within income groups only some—i.e. smokers—are required to pay a tax that funds general government services. They are vertically inequitable—or regressive—because they place a much higher burden on low-income smokers than they do on high-income smokers. Moreover, in Georgia, they tend to shift income from low- to relatively high-income areas.

P. Allen

March 5th, 2010
4:18 pm

The state should also leagalize prostitution, marijuana, and other drugs. Doing so could raise a huge amount of tax revenue instead of just letting it go to the black market.


March 5th, 2010
5:16 pm

The elephant in the room is casino gambling. How much revenue leaves this state to go to Cherokee, Tunica, Bubba’s Poker Emporium…. Tax the cigs much more and they’ll roll their own. I do think gasoline taxes should be used for roads as there is a direct one for one there but the sin taxes are the easiest ones to pass. Ignore the Bible thumpers, bring in a casino or two, increase Atlanta’s convention business, and get out of the woe is me mode.


March 5th, 2010
5:21 pm

GANative73 – Nah, it’s not just you thinking that GoOX is the man himself. But I’ve noticed him posting during a big fire in the metro before so I’m thinking it’s someone on our payroll that has to report to the ox.


March 5th, 2010
6:57 pm

Well said Sara in Henry County. Roy Barnes has not changed nor has the ability to change his stripes. Roy is a skilled and cunning politician who is only interested in self promoting himself as well as his cronies. He is extremely arrogant, out of touch with most Georgians, and has no concept of the day to day battles that Georgia citizens go thru to keep a job and a steady paycheck coming in. David Poythress surpasses Roy in terms of character, integrity, leadership abilities and class. David knows, unlike Roy, how to connect and communicate with the common Georgian. David would make an excellent governor and would be able to make an impact to move Georgia in a new direction. Ive listened to his ideas and he has gained my respect and vote.


March 5th, 2010
7:20 pm

GoOx is clearly Tim Echols from the Oxendine campaign.