Tax rewrite would amount to an increase, declares Grover Norquist’s anti-tax group

Americans for Tax Reform, the Washington-based group led by Grover Norquist, on Monday declared that the proposed rewrite of the state tax code issued by a select committee would amount to a tax increase.

The group declared that passage would amount to a violation of the no-tax pledge signed by 55 public officials in Georgia, “including Governor Nathan Deal, House Speaker David Ralston, and Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers.”

The heart and soul of the reform proposal is a renewed sales tax on groceries, offset by decreases in the state corporate and personal income tax rates. See the details here.

From my AJC colleague James Salzer on the topic:

Georgians could pay more in taxes this year if lawmakers adopt new recommendations to rewrite the state’s tax code, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of the proposal.

That’s because an increase in sales taxes on everything from groceries to water, higher cigarette taxes and some phone taxes recommended by a state tax council may kick in before Georgians begin feeling the full impact of reductions in the state’s income tax rates.

ATR’s judgment won’t make passage any easier. The statement from Norquist:

“In its current form, last week’s tax reform proposal should be a non-starter for fiscal conservatives in the Georgia Legislature. While tax reform is indeed a laudable goal, it should not be presented in a way that increases the net burden on taxpayers and raises even more money for state government. Unfortunately, this report recommends just that.

“A significant reduction in marginal tax rates is long overdue in Georgia, which is wedged between two states – Tennessee and Florida – that levy no personal income tax at all. But if the goal is to use such reductions to mask bigger tax increases on groceries, tobacco, and a variety of services, it is not even worthy of a conversation.

“This is akin to shards of glass in a delicious crème brûlée. It is a bit of desirable tax reform ruined by an overall tax hike. Thankfully, Taxpayer Protection Pledge signers run state government in Georgia. Because they have taken tax increases definitively off the table, I am confident that we can move past this initial foray into tax reform and begin a serious conversation about reducing the size and scope of state government in Atlanta.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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26 comments Add your comment

ProgressivePeach

January 10th, 2011
12:30 pm

Grover’s Will Be Done! Watch the conservadum Georgia syncaphants bow to him today and tomorrow. Which is a pretty impressive feat considering they have no spines.

jconservative

January 10th, 2011
12:30 pm

I am surrounded by retired people on Social Security as their only source of income. They pay no income taxes. Will any provision in the proposed Tax Increase be made for those retired people expected to suddenly pay an additional 4% more for food and drugs? They will never have an offset from a lowering of income taxes.

Just asking.

ProgressivePeach

January 10th, 2011
12:32 pm

jconservative, the answer is no. The elderly continue to vote for the people who will screw them over, and do so mindlessly. They get what they deserve. Enjoy your (now-taxed) catfood, seniors!

UGA graduate

January 10th, 2011
12:34 pm

I actually agree with Grover Norquist. Hell seems to be freezing over. Corporations already lobby and pay much lower rates than individuals. The Republicans have acclerated pushing taxes onto the middle class from the rapidly, increasing in size wealthy class. Georgia and federal governments are not making the investments in education and transportation that it should. The prison population is increasing as education funding decreases. I have ridden high speed trains in Europe and our clogged interstates show we need them here. Bush spent billions on two wars, a drug benefit that was a give away to the drug companies, and Obama healthcare is a give away to the big insurance companies. America is becoming a third world nation.

khc

January 10th, 2011
12:42 pm

did quick read of report and if i read it correctly no deductions allowed which means anyone itemizing (mortgage interest, state taxes, property taxes, car taxes, charity) will get nailed initially and may get some relief due to lower rate which is 6% phased down (no promises) to 4%……that should do wonders for the housing market in foreclosure haven atlanta………..please tell me i read it wrong!

oh and seniors, though they exempt ss income still, you will lose your current income exemption of $35,000 and the future exclusions sonny i think got passed…..so much for ga being retirement competitive….

bart

January 10th, 2011
12:44 pm

Norquist is not a Georgian. He needs to stay the hell out of our business. One of the problems with politics today is the fact that too many outsiders are sticking their noses in where they don’t belong.

Frontman

January 10th, 2011
12:56 pm

UGA graduate:
Just what I would expect from a UGA graduate…
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
Evidence on any of your statements? Correlation?
Did they teach you these DNC/Marxist slogans at UGA or do you just watch MSDNC 24/7?

deegee

January 10th, 2011
12:56 pm

Seniors love Fox News. Fox News has the seniors convinced that Republicans are voting in their best interest. The seniors hear it on Fox and they don’t question it. If Glenn Beck says it then it must be true. Seniors vote faithfully. Seniors have no idea how badly they are screwing things up for themselves and the rest of us.

The Snark

January 10th, 2011
1:08 pm

Who cares what Grover Norquist thinks? He’s never had to assume the responsibility that comes with the right of self-governance. It’s time that we stopped making a fetish out of taxes, and starting thinking about fulfilling that responsibility. Man up, folks. There are more important things in life than tax rates..

Jack

January 10th, 2011
1:08 pm

having kept up with how much food sales tax i paid in 2010 times 4 more cents tax on food is frightening. one year of food tax for 3 in family == $ 250.00 times 4 == $ 1000.00 more per year in sales tax on food alone. a future reduction in income tax will not support this plus all the other bad parts of the reccomending . these people must have been droped in by U F O ‘ S.

FormerGeorgian

January 10th, 2011
1:12 pm

How can Nordquist still have any credibility after his association with Jack Abramoff? I mean Nordquist ran Abramoff’s campaign for College Republicans President back in the day and Nordquist was mentioned in the Abramoff court documents.

base

January 10th, 2011
1:30 pm

No to the tax plan.The legislature does not need any more of our money!

ANGRYASHELL

January 10th, 2011
1:33 pm

I agree with ProgressivePeach and FormerGeorgian. First, seniors cut their own throats by voting for the same people who’ll turn right around and screw them. And Grover Norquist is the last giy who ouight to ytalk about good governmnet. He, along with Ralph Reed, had their hands out to Jack Abramoff. A pox on their houses!!

BitterEXdemocrackkk

January 10th, 2011
1:42 pm

Adopt the FAIRTAX for Georgia too!

justsaynotofairtax

January 10th, 2011
1:56 pm

“Fair Tax” and other consumption based taxes will result in less consumption (duh) and a higher decline in tax revenue during times of decreased economic activity (recessions). If there is a federal fair tax there will most certainly be a state and local fair tax, the sum of which may approach 40%. One thing is certain, and that is the Fair Tax is Green, because it will result in a huge decline in production of greenhouse gases due to the decline in economic activity.

KJ

January 10th, 2011
1:59 pm

Based on what has been published, the proposed tax plan will raise approximately $800 million from individuals. It was unclear on net impact of tax proposals for businesses since a number of the proposed tax breaks did not have any estimates attached to them. The trend of those breaks was clearly toward lower taxes.

If adopted by the new adminstration, it will be another example of a policital bait and switch. While I don’t like the idea of paying more taxes, these proposed changes will not hurt me as much as it will lower income families. This is the most disturbing impact of these proposals.

Toby

January 10th, 2011
2:08 pm

Ingles in Hogansville charged me $1.60 tax or so on about $22.00 yesterday, what was that?

captguitarman

January 10th, 2011
2:21 pm

First of all, who thinks that the politicians under the Dome are going to spend this much time and create this much brain damage for a “revenue neutral” reform plan? Puh-lease. They want your money, and despite the rhetoric, they want more and more of it, all the time. I think it is finally starting to settle in to most citizens minds that there is not and there will never be enough money to satisfy the local, state, and federal tax monsters. Government has become too large at all levels, too controlling, and too dominated by special interest groups, unions and bureacracies to do anything now but grow, grow, and grow. It is the largest growth industry in America, and there is now a law in place (unless it can be repealed) which will allow the feds to hire ten thousands or mor bureacrats in order to first control, and the ultimately take over 1/6 of the economy – health care. Do you think they might be asking for more and more money before too long? There are always “good reasons” for another plan, another program, another earmark. It will never stop until the people say enough by voting out the ruling majority several elections in a row — until they start to get the idea. All this Republican campaign BS was just the same as all the Dem campaign BS that preceded it. They all want the same thing – more revenue, more control, and more power — the difference is who wins and who loses after the “reform”. Example. There are no taxes proposed on legal services. Why were legal services exempted? They are looking out for themselves and for the armies of lawyers who help them get elected. And of course, taxes go up now permanently. The tax breaks are phased in over time. Flash forward to 2013. Oops. Looks now like we really “can’t afford” to continue the phase out from a 6% income tax rate down to a 4% rate, so it will be 5% now. But what about the new consumer taxes, will they be lowered? Are you stupid or something. We need that money. You cannot trust these guys, no matter what party they are in. Plus there is a basic unfairness in this that is obvious, and meant to help the right political supporters come out on top.

Tar and Feather them all

January 10th, 2011
2:51 pm

Having recently retired , if this so called tax reform is implemented, I,m going to get screwed big time. All these lawmakers who run for office on a pledge not to raise taxes are only saying what they think the voters want to hear. They will increase taxes and say they had no choice, it is the only way to keep bloated government running. Anyone that is retired or close to retirement better stand up and start screaming that they wont accept this before it’s to late. Lawmakers don’t care about individuals, it’s the big interests and lobbyists, that’s where the money comes from to fill their campaign funds, so they are commited to them so they get what they want. If this goes through, I will look to move to another state that’s friendlier to old farts, to bad my house isn’t worth anything now.

RBN

January 10th, 2011
7:58 pm

The “reform” plan is about what you would expect from the people who were appointed – all business and no consumer advocates. It is in reality a tax swap or shift from higher income earners and corporations to middle and lower income residents. It is driven by ideology -business rules. It does not meet Grover’s ideology which should have been discredited as vodoo long ago. The fact that 55 legislators, including leadership signed such a pledge is a testament to his bully power and the integrity/intelligence of those we have elected. Georgia is already a low tax state with much lower property taxes than many of our competitors. Furthermore, Georgia has a structural deficit and can not fund even the basics of education (law demands 180 days which is minimal at best, but we fund 140 days as a state), transportation ( I find it hilarious that local Republican leaders are asking for trains to be built from Chattanooga to Atlanta and the Savannah harbor to be deepened while their Republican Congressmen pledge to stop spending. The disconnect is defeaning); or healthcare, the feel good fee increase to fund a minimal traumacare system in Georgia was immediately abandoned by the legislators who crowed at its passage and fell to a grumpy public’s vote (did you see any of those brave legislators campaign for passage? Didn’t think so.)

I do not support the return of food taxation, or the tax shift ploy, but we do need one of those mythical “adult conversations” about the state’s current deficit, spending needs for essentials, and the winners and losers involved in any change. Clearly, something must change or this state is toast with schools fading, no way to get goods from Savannah to Dalton, no way to save lives of those maimed on our deteriorsting roads, and no water to drink. Given the leaders that we have chosen, I am not optomistic.

Question Man

January 10th, 2011
8:49 pm

Have the battle lines been drawn so soon? And is it the tax cutters versus the Republicans? How can that be?

khc

January 10th, 2011
10:22 pm

many studies suggest wealth disparity ever increasing….could the upper income classes take some mild progressivity in these tight times….most likely their sons and daughters are not doing the fighting in the wars and wealthier retirees have benefitted from unfunded medicare d and tax cuts…..ga’s 6% has been around it seems like forever….and i doubt the reason for ga’s economic woes….too many business credits that don’t yield jobs but rather political contributions

Roscoe

January 10th, 2011
11:43 pm

Oh golly gee. Please take my money. Please go ahead and add all those new sales taxes (Oh i’m sorry it can’t be a tax increase, cause you’re all Republicans.) I trust you to go ahead and lower the state income tax. SOMEDAY. iF YOU folks were democrats I would not trust you. Everybody knows you can’t trust those lying liberal Democrats. Oh way didn’t you people all used to be democrats?

FairlyOdd

January 11th, 2011
7:44 am

Republicans promising to lower a tax. I can think of at least 400 good reasons not to believe that promise.

This Week in Congress | Progressive Fix

January 11th, 2011
4:04 pm

[...] increases in sales taxes. Conservative policy commissar Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform condemned a Republican-sponsored proposal in Georgia to boost net revenues through a broadening of the sales [...]

[...] increases in sales taxes. Conservative policy commissar Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform condemned a Republican-sponsored proposal in Georgia to boost net revenues through a broadening of the sales [...]