Republican lawmakers in the state Capitol are closing in on a decision to cut Gov. Sonny Perdue out of negotiations on a statewide transportation funding bill.
Signs have been pointing in this direction for weeks. Last month, the House declined to move the governor’s plan, introduced with much hoopla in February as HB 1218 – even though Speaker David Ralston’s name was attached.
At issue was Perdue’s insistence that a statewide system of regional tax districts include no provision that would allow counties to “opt out” of such districts.
Allowing one or two counties to do so could frustrate cross-country transportation projects, the governor argued.
Republican lawmakers, in both the House and Senate, have balked at the idea of subverting the independence of their home counties.
But the governor wields a veto. So a final-days move is afoot to return to plans that stalled last year – and the year before that. A coalition of GOP and Democratic lawmakers would back a proposed constitutional amendment that would appear on the November ballot, empowering certain districts – i.e., metro Atlanta – to levy a one-cent transportation sales tax.
The legislation would require a two-thirds vote in each chamber, but wouldn’t be subject to a gubernatorial veto. Look for movement to start in the Senate, then shift to the House.
We are being urged not to read anything into House Speaker David Ralston’s failure to turn HB 307, the hospital bed tax bill, back to the Senate on Monday. Ralston had declared he would do so, because of a Senate amendment that would eventually eliminate the sales tax on health insurance policies.
One might have thought that the Preston Smith blow-up might have caused Ralston to hesitate, but we’re told it was more the fact that the two chambers operated on opposite ends of the work day.
Behind closed doors, the Senate Republican caucus met deep into late Monday afternoon to salve the wounds of the day. Here’s the GBP recap of the day’s volatile doings – via PeachPundit, and the friendly people at YouTube:
Several of you have recommended a Paul Krugman column in Sunday’s NYT, analyzing the difference between the relatively tame record of bank failures in Texas, and Georgia’s record-breaking 37 – out of 206 nationally.
A few paragraphs:
What’s striking about the contrast between the Texas story and Georgia’s debacle is that it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the issues that have dominated debates about banking reform. For example, many observers have blamed complex financial derivatives for the crisis. But Georgia banks blew themselves up with old-fashioned loans gone bad.
And for all the concern about banks that are too big to fail, Georgia suffered, if anything, from a proliferation of small banks. Actually, the worst offenders in the lending spree tended to be relatively small start-ups that attracted customers by playing to a specific community. Thus Georgian Bank, founded in 2001, catered to the state’s elite, some of whom were entertained on the C.E.O.’s yacht and private jet. Meanwhile, Integrity Bank, founded in 2000, played up its “faith based” business model — it was featured in a 2005 Time magazine article titled “Praying for Profits.” Both banks have now gone bust.
The behind-the-scenes political game on Thursday may be over who shows up at the tea party rally at the state Capitol, and who doesn’t. This from today’s Boston Globe:
Unsure where they fit in among the restive masses of the “tea party movement,’’ leading figures in the Massachusetts Republican Party are split over whether to join a rally tomorrow with Sarah Palin and several thousand activists on Boston Common.
Three of the party’s leading lights — gubernatorial candidate Charles D. Baker, conservative congressional candidate Jeffrey D. Perry, and US Senator Scott P. Brown, who was personally invited by the organizers to attend — say they will not participate.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis will be speaking at Kent State University next month to mark the 40th anniversary of that deadly confrontation between students and the Ohio National Guard.
The Gwinnett Post reports that Sarah Palin will make an appearance in June – not at a political gathering, but at a religious rally at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. She’ll be supporting something called the P.U.R.E. Ministry Project.
It would be her first appearance in the Atlanta burbs since the 2008 U.S. Senate runoff between Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin.
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