Nathan Deal: Climate isn’t right for tax rewrite

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, right, and aide Tom Willis exits the third floor of the state Capitol – legislative territory – on Thursday. AP/David Goldman

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, right, and aide Tom Willis exits the third floor of the state Capitol – legislative territory – on Thursday. AP/David Goldman

On the fourth floor of the state Capitol this morning, those behind a proposal to rewrite Georgia’s tax code will be trying to persuade anti-tax guru Grover Norquist to drop his condemnation of it.

But they might want to invite the fellow on the second floor, too. In an interview with Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News, Gov. Nathan Deal said he has no taste for two of the tax reform panel’s recommendations: A cigarette tax hike, and a return to a state sales tax on groceries. To wit:

[Deal] took big-ticket revenue-raising ideas off the table and signaled that hopes for major tax overhaul will simmer for another year.

Those include his proposals for lower and simpler state income and corporate taxes.

“We’re not going to sign anything that is a tax increase … in this climate, no matter how intentioned it is,” Deal said.

The General Assembly is considering a package of tax reform proposals with proposed increases and reductions that the authors say eventually would be “revenue-neutral.”

So far, lawmakers seem uninterested in acting on it any time soon. And, while Deal didn’t rule out signing it if it were passed, he called the idea “problematic.”

“I don’t think the climate is right for any of that is right for any of that,” he said, adding that legislative leaders he’s talked to agree.

One thing to remember: Deal had no part in the creation of the tax reform panel that ended its work in December.

***
An InsiderAdvantage/Rosetta Stone poll for Channel 2 Action News gave Gov. Nathan Deal his first approval ratings on Thursday. Not surprisingly, a good number of people are waiting:

Favorable: 39 percent

Unfavorable: 25 percent

No opinion: 36 percent

The survey included 456 registered voters, with an MOE of +/-4.5 percentage points.

***
The same InsiderAdvantage/Rosetta Stone Communications survey also shows that the addition of hard liquor to legislation that would permit local referendums on the Sunday sale of beer and wine has made the effort more dicey than you might think.

According to InsiderAdvantage:

Fifty-two percent of Georgians favor allowing local referendums for the sale of beer, wine and liquor by cities and counties, while 40 percent oppose. Eight percent had no opinion….

The prospects for the enabling legislation become even grimmer when the results are broken out by region. The greater Atlanta area was the only region to support the measure, by 66 percent to 23 percent.

Jerry Luquire, head of the Georgia Christian Coalition, noted this morning that the proposed Sunday sales measure wouldn’t eliminate a blue law – only shrink the time period it covers.

The legislation, he said, “requires that stores cannot sell alcohol until 12:30 Sunday afternoon….So the hung-over weekender who wakes up Sunday at 10:00 needing more of the devil’s brew must still wait until after church to buy any more.”

***
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., sent out word Thursday – as he said would happen – he’s now the ranking Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He’s now the vice-chairman of the committee. And if the GOP takes over the Senate anytime soon, he’d be in line for the chairmanship.

Chambliss gives up his ranking status on the Senate Agriculture Committee. In a separate note, the Georgia senator said he would “continue to be a strong voice” on agricultural issues – though he won’t be at the center of negotiations over the 2012 farm bill.

***
The Georgia Association of College Republicans informs us that they have landed the first “leadership interview” – never, ever call it a debate — with the three candidates for the chairmanship of the Georgia GOP: Incumbent Sue Everhart, Shawn Hanley, and Tricia Pridemore.

A panel of college Republicans will question the candidates at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7, on the campus of Georgia Tech. The event will be livestreamed on Facebook.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

53 comments Add your comment

ProgressivePeach

January 28th, 2011
9:08 am

Translation: “Grover says we shouldn’t do it, and Grover’s my boss, so I’m not gonna do it. ” Yet another spineless Georgia Republican letting a crazy man lead the state to ruin.

the original and still the best John Galt

January 28th, 2011
9:09 am

Good for Governor Deal! The tax commission’s proposals constitute raising taxes, the last thing needed in a depression. His recognition of that is a good thing.

jconservative

January 28th, 2011
9:09 am

As usual the Liberals in the state insist on wanting to decide how citizens spend their leisure hours. Only a Liberal in love with Big Government would favor a law preventing a business from selling, or a citizen from purchasing, liquor on Sunday. Apparently Nanny State is alive and well.

ProgressivePeach

January 28th, 2011
9:09 am

Also, am I the only one who sees the humor in Saxby Chambliss being the lead Republican on the *Intelligence* Committee? I think that speaks volumes.

ProgressivePeach

January 28th, 2011
9:12 am

Um, jconservative, you might wanna just go back and check out how our just-departed *Republican* governor kept Sunday sales from going on the ballot for 8 years. But don’t let facts get in the way of a good, juicy anti-liberal rant, dude.

BPJ

January 28th, 2011
9:14 am

Interesting attempt at spin, jconservative, but futile. It isn’t liberals who are opposed to Sunday alcohol sales; it’s the religious conservatives, who are also your fellow Georgia Republicans.

Bill

January 28th, 2011
9:20 am

In fact, the recent election is driving liberals to drink. hiccup.

ByteMe

January 28th, 2011
9:20 am

For those who haven’t read jconservative’s postings before, he was likely being ironic.

David

January 28th, 2011
9:21 am

We need to eliminate the state income tax and replace it with a sales tax. If you look around the country the states that have done this are overall doing better than the states with an income tax. Plus, it’s simpler for the taxpayers.

Rule .303

January 28th, 2011
9:26 am

LOL. I guess for some people, a Sarcasm Font would be very helpful.

JD

January 28th, 2011
9:31 am

@ David — hmmm.. Florida, no income tax, unemployment is 12%, Texas — no income tax – -running a $25 billion deficit, and unemployment growing at a rate faster than New York

Sounds like a Wimpy Move

January 28th, 2011
9:34 am

“The time is not right for a tax rewrite”. Then when is a good time? Real leaders make tough choices and the state tax code is just as bad as the federal tax code. The time is now to begin working on revising the tax code so that it makes sense and is fair to individuals and businesses alike. Deal’s coments sound like a wimpy move that benefits his political future and not the future of Georgians!

Nathan Knows

January 28th, 2011
9:34 am

This is totally a rewrite that will benefit the wealthy gentry of the Republican elite. They passed a bill last year that no one even knew about, until it was over.

There is a sickness in GA

January 28th, 2011
9:34 am

@Rule .303 Dude, seriously. Sarcasm Font. That’s not a bad idea.

Reality

January 28th, 2011
9:45 am

@jconservative -

You have GOT to be kidding! You are so very far off base are you on Mars?

Liberals have led the charge to legalize alcohol sales on Sunday. It has been the conservatives (mainly the religous right conservatives) that have stood in the way. If you don’t believe me, then at least look at the numbers and a map. It is the areas of south Georgia that are firmly against alcohol sales on Sunday. Those “liberal folks” in Atlanta have wanted it forever.

Get a clue!

Bill Orvis White

January 28th, 2011
9:45 am

I love Governor Deal, but he’s wrong on the grocery tax. We all could afford it if we got our paychecks in full. If folk would understand that they would get their entire paycheck in full, this would be a dealbreaker. Yes, why tax cigarettes? It’s something that people all over the world have enjoyed for centuries. Why tax pleasure? If we just taxed the bare necessities, then revenue would be raised in these states. The key is for people to hang on to their money through a more thrifty lifestyle. You cannot afford gas? Get a cookie jar and put your money it in and see how it grows. Neal talks about that all the time. Americans who voted Socialist-Democrat don’t understand the concept of saving dollars and then investing them. We all need to take our dollars, put them in the free markets and watch them grow! Are you scared of the stock exchange like I am sometimes? Buy gold!

Amen
Bill

jconservative

January 28th, 2011
9:45 am

ProgressivePeach and BPJ – think!

ByteMe – nice catch!

And the same thought would apply to the alledged conservatives in the state legislature planning on raising taxes.

Reality

January 28th, 2011
9:48 am

I just don’t understand why raising taxes on cigarretts would be a bad thing at all…..

The State of Georgia needs more income. This would help.

We need to lower rates of cancer and thus medical expenses in Georgia. Maybe this increased cost will force people to reconsider their nasty habit – or at least decrease it!

It just seems like a win-win.

Reality

January 28th, 2011
9:49 am

Adding taxes to groceries WOULD be a bad thing. This impacts ALL citizens of Georgia, and those unemployed and the working poor simply cannot afford it now.

Reality

January 28th, 2011
9:52 am

jconservative – LOL! I didn’t catch it either. Your ironic words sound too real – like actual words coming from Hanity or Beck. The thought of that is scary…

BPJ

January 28th, 2011
10:08 am

Yes, it’s hard to distinguish irony from the actual rhetoric generated by FauxNews and its homologues.

Small town citizen

January 28th, 2011
10:12 am

Privatize the following

Social Security
Medicare
Medicaid
Postal Service

Save trillians right off the bat and they will be well funded and ran in private sector without corruption or tax dollars.

Does anyone have any idea the amount of fraud in the Medicare/Medicaid program. It swarms in fraud and there is no checks or balance in this program. Its run by people who have no idea what a medical condition is.

Finally – de-certify all government unions. Yes teachers unions too. The unions are what is taking away the qualified and wonderful people and transforming them into stupid, high paid, union labor who could care less. Give the schools back to the teachers who are truely responsible and stop forcing them to follow rules that dont apply to their jobs.

Then – close down the EPA. This is a joke and they do nothing but regulate and cost companies money in the millions. People wonder why cost is so high, well heres most of your problem.

Then remove the pension plans and lifetime benefits programs of the politicians who voted for them all by themselves. Put that pension money into the social security program and let them use what Americans use. We are the Government not the politicians and they dont deserve perks like this.

Implement the fair tax laws. Do true welfare reform and do away with the IRS for good.

Thus, people work, government is reduced to what it was meant for (security, military, roads and bridges) and America will become the superpower it once was.

GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM, NOT THE ANSWER!

Give me a break

January 28th, 2011
10:21 am

Reality ….You want to raise taxes on the smokers but not on food. Ok well lets see. Right now the smokers are paying taxes that no other group in this country pays.

Food – raise the tax 5 times over for junk food and candy. This makes people fat and is not healthy. Causes dietary medical problems from being over weight.

Raise taxes 10 times for beer and wine, hard liquor. Drinking is bad for you and the smokers should not be paying for people who damage their livers from drinking.

Raise taxes 10 fold on things like scooters and bikes. People fall off these and break bones causing surgery and medical expenses. Why should the smokers pay for this, they dont ride motorcycles or scooters and they dont take risks that will lead to injury. According to you they are lazy and smoke all day long.

Oh and yes, dont you realize that the poor of this country are the ones that mainly smoke. They claim they cant afford medical care or food but boy they wont go without those lottery tickets or smokes or for that matter their junk food and beer/wine.

Get real and stop blaming the smokers for everything that happens. They way overpay for taxes as it is.

Sto start raising taxes

b.c.

January 28th, 2011
10:27 am

@Bill Orvis White: “Neal talks about that all the time. Americans who voted Socialist-Democrat don’t understand the concept of saving dollars and then investing them”

You and Neal are on to something. Those Warren Buffett types sure don’t know a thing about saving and investing ;~)

allen981

January 28th, 2011
10:40 am

Cigarettes can NEVER cost too much…they’re an irritating, useless, health-damaging carcinogen that kill thousands each year, and in the process, make good looking 30 year-old women look 60.

Double the taxes, and ban ALL indoor smoking in Georgia, just like the rest of the world (New York, California, Great Britain, France, Ireland, and hundreds more.)

allen981

January 28th, 2011
10:48 am

Hey, Give me a Break, “stop blaming smokers….??” I don’t blame smokers; nothing’s more addictive than a cigarette. My mother, just before she died at 70, would take the oxygen mask off to sneak a smoke.

My Dad, who died of lung cancer at 60, never had the chance. Just as he was diagnosed with lung cancer, he had a stroke that killed him in a week,

I dont’t blame either my Mom or my Dad; they were deeply addicted, and tried many times to quit.

You can’t tell me that we wouldn’t save lives, reduce health cares costs – and save poor people money – if cigarettes were $15 a pack…or even $20.

Yes, cigarettes are legal….blah, blah, blah. But why are they? We banned cyclamates because 10 rates had a higher incidence of tumors. With cigarettes, we know thousands die each year and many more thousands live diminished lives.

Let’s wake up and tax these damn things to oblivion.

deegee

January 28th, 2011
10:50 am

Why would anyone take seriously a self described BS artist? It is sad that Neal has made so much money convincing gullible people that they are intelligent because they listen to a nationally syndicated BS artist.

Last Word

January 28th, 2011
10:58 am

“The legislation, he said, ‘requires that stores cannot sell alcohol until 12:30 Sunday afternoon….So the hung-over weekender who wakes up Sunday at 10:00 needing more of the devil’s brew must still wait until after church to buy any more.’”

:o D

Jerry Luquire, Snark Sniffer

January 28th, 2011
11:13 am

Enter your comments here

gm

January 28th, 2011
11:17 am

jconservative: Since idiots like you are in love with the Rep in this state, I guess thats why we are last in everthing compared to others states.
More then 8 years in the office in this state the Rep party have done little of nothing, no jobs have been brought here, last in education but you idiots go out and vote and defend these selfish, crooks in the Rep party.

Jerry Luquire, Snark Sniffer

January 28th, 2011
11:18 am

I inexplicably find myself approving of Gov. Deal’s choices.

First, he turns over his personal finances to someone who is obviously more qualified than he.

Next, he comes out in support of ending a state ban on Sunday packaged spirit sales.

Then, he rejects calls for increased taxes on tobacco and groceries. However brainless his motivations for this were, the result will be to prevent hardships on the low-income families who would be directly and disproportionately affected by the proposed cost increases.

Who knows? Maybe he is the next Forrest Gump, or maybe some kinda idiot savant. Anyway, I give him a big stinky, crooked thumbs up!

rural education

January 28th, 2011
11:24 am

Small town citizen: You do realize that eliminating teachers Unions would not effect Georgia beacause we don’t have unions. I wish many people would quit listenting to Limbaugh and his ilk and realize that much of what they rant about is not applicable to this state.

deegee

January 28th, 2011
11:48 am

“Privatize the following

Social Security
Medicare
Medicaid
Postal Service

Save trillians right off the bat and they will be well funded and ran in private sector without corruption or tax dollars.”

Nevermind the spelling and grammatical errors, did small town citizen see any of the banking collapse report that was on TV yesterday? No private sector corruption or private use of tax dollars in that mess, was there?

Jerry Luquire, Snark Sniffer

January 28th, 2011
12:05 pm

. . . more like “small town moron.” Of course, the GA GOP considers nuts like he their base.

Johns Creek resident

January 28th, 2011
12:16 pm

The raise in the cigarette tax was skewed by data from Florida. A more appropriate cigarette tax increase would not include the Florida cigarette tax in the calculation. The legislator should concentrate on eliminating the income deduction for senior citizens and lowering the maximum income tax rate to 5%. There is no need to apply the sales tax to food.

khc

January 28th, 2011
12:29 pm

after scanning the financial crisis inquiry commmission, it was interesting to read the dissenting opinion….you certainly can tell which party is wholly subsidiary of the banks, while other party only partly owned

Sandra

January 28th, 2011
12:30 pm

@ small town citizen
The only thing that would be better is the companies who managed the privitization would be richer. Privitizaion is good in some things but not in all. You are not only foolish but don’t understand some of the facts.

Junior Samples

January 28th, 2011
1:09 pm

Privatize = Outsource
Do not think for one minute that the private sector will not send that work overseas.

[...] H/T Jim Galloway. [...]

Jerry Luquire, Snark Sniffer

January 28th, 2011
1:20 pm

Why is it that whenever I see someone driving really poorly in a Chevy malibu in metro Atlanta they have a license plate with a little apple and the word “Educator” on it?

Inman Park

January 28th, 2011
1:27 pm

Why should the state raise taxes when the rest of us haven’t had a raise in two years? If I have to cut back, so should the state. Common sense.

Einsteindawg

January 28th, 2011
2:02 pm

@Small town citizen 10:12,
I think you’re on to something. Why not outsource and privatize the Governor’s office, too. You know it would be less costly and more efficient.

catlady

January 28th, 2011
2:03 pm

Translation: We don’t want to mess up a good thing for my contributors, I mean constituents. We are doing just fine as we are, don’tcha know?

Thomas

January 28th, 2011
2:05 pm

Sonny Perdue’s Tax panel was made up with individuals who are not hurting by means of income and cannot reflect the real society of those who make less than $100,000.00 a year. Perdue was a man for himself and was bad for Georgia.

Ric

January 28th, 2011
2:28 pm

Nathan Deal spent the entire campaign boasting about his tax plan, and how the Tax Foundation (if I remember correctly?) said it would make Georgia the most competitive state in the nation for business?

Michael

January 28th, 2011
3:22 pm

Aw c’mon govuna, I need that last straw, taxes on services, to force me to leave this backwater. I’m packed, say the word . . .

Michael

January 28th, 2011
3:32 pm

OMG, Orvis said something that makes sense. The problem with these taxes are they tax money that has already been taxed. Like when Ga taxes us on our federal income tax return. But, didn’t I already pay tax on that? Or I pay employee, take out the taxes, then they buy something and get taxed.

Infrastructure is the problem. All these roads, police, medicaid and pensions are killing us. Stop taxation totally. Stop government totally. Stop all regulations. We need to go back to the state of nature and just fend for ourselves. We can be the best third world country ever!

ATF

January 28th, 2011
3:43 pm

Well, privitize social security and medicare and then regulate the dickens out of them. No way let the financial sector that ruined this economy, that already has companies “too big to fail”, grow astronomically without much stronger oversight. Since the supremes decided that corporations are people, my thought is to have looooonnnnnngggg jail times for CEO’s and board members who wreck the lives of Americans. Like, oh, 25 to life each time a client or stock holder is lied to and looses more than $1,000 dollars.

Good for Deal in holding back on taxing groceries. And, holding back on any major change like the so-called “fair tax” – which will just decimate the middle and lower class pocket books. Unlike the wealthy, they can’t hire the fancy accountants to figure out how to write off most of their income and they can’t pay the lobbiest to who pay the legislators to change the rules so they pay less, and less, and less, and….

(Oops, did I say “the lobbiest who pay the legislators…”? I mean “the lobbiest who make campaign contributions and buy meals and tickets to sports events and pay for trips to hunting lodges ….” I certainly don’t mean to imply that lobbiests unduly influence legislators or that legislators allow them to. No, no. There is something called ethics, afterall, and our state government has a panel to oversee it.)

TrickleDownStupid

January 28th, 2011
4:01 pm

I never thought I would agree with Nathan Deal about anything; but he is 100% correct about NOT raising taxes on food. It’s the one area where kids who are already not eating healthy foods would truly suffer, because things like taxes on fruits and vegetables; which are already extremely expensive would be entirely out of reach.

Dave

January 28th, 2011
4:44 pm

We need new sources for income, may I suggest, legalize casino gambling, horse or dog tracks, prostitution, and pot. If done right
these can bring in a lot of money and jobs.