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