Your morning jolt: A poll to soothe GOP anxiety about tax overhaul

A joint House-Senate committee today is expected to vote today on a tax overhaul package that will be reduced to writing only a few short hours before it is passed out of committee.

Included will be new sales taxes on satellite TV and cell phone service, on casual sales of automobiles and boats, and on the labor for auto repairs.

In return, lawmakers plan to reduce the state personal income tax from 6 percent to 4.5 percent or so.

House members would vote on the package first, without amendment. Sure to be lying on their desks this morning is a survey conducted by a group called the Communications Flat Tax Coalition, showing that nearly 75 percent of Georgia GOP primary voters (60 percent of all voters) endorse a shift to consumption taxes.

And 73 percent of GOP primary voters (60 percent of all voters) favor a 7 percent tax on cable TV, cell phones, land phones and such.

The essentials: MOE +/- 4 percentage points, automated calling, conducted March 25 — the day after the deal was announced. The group that commissioned the survey has a dog in the fight, and describes itself as a “coalition of telecommunications, cable, and cellular companies supporting a Communications Flat Tax and the elimination of franchise fees and state and local sales taxes on services and network investment.”

Cross tabs and poll question wording can be found here for 638 GOP voters and here for 691 general election voters.

The tax package has several hurdles over the next seven working days. Content, of course, will determine much. Here’s a demand from former House member Mitch Kaye of Cobb County, e-mailed this morning:

”The tax on the casual sales of used cars hurt the poor and the working poor the most. However, if you go down that road (no pun intended) for tax neutrality, please level the playing field.

“For example, when one trades a $5,000 car to a dealer and buys a $20,000 new or used vehicle, they pay sales tax only on the difference of $15,000. If that individual sold the car privately (probably getting more money), and then bought that same $20,000 vehicle, they would pay sales tax on the full $20k. That is not fair, but a bonus to the car dealers. Leaving this loophole in, is a sellout to the auto dealers, both new and used.

“If you add a casual sales tax, please eliminate this unlevel benefit to the dealers.”

Democrats in the House and Senate have yet to declare whether they’ll take a party-line stand on the overhaul – and are unlikely to until they have something to read.

But nearly all eyes will be on Senate Republicans, who are in their first year of self-rule. GOP senators stripped Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle of much of his authority over the chamber last year — in part because of the arms he twisted to obtain passage of a hospital bed tax.

The above poll is intended to calm any GOP fears.

Allow me to recycle a few quotes from House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, on Saturday. As it now stands, the tax overhaul legislation about to hit the Legislature contains only a small taste of the consumer-based taxes recommended by last year’s blue-ribbon tax policy panel.

But Republicans have talked for years about moving in that direction. “Now we’re about to find out if we’re serious,” he said. “Or are we going to cave in to the pressure of a few lobbyists?”

***
A few details emerged over the weekend about former President Jimmy Carter’s trip to Cuba that begins today. From the Associated Press:

[Carter] is scheduled to meet with Jewish leaders shortly after arriving in Cuba Monday, hinting that his visit will deal partly with the case of a U.S. contractor whose conviction has further dented relations between Havana and Washington.

An agenda released Saturday by Cuba’s Foreign Relations Ministry says Carter is to visit a Jewish institution. The imprisoned contractor, Alan Gross, had said he was trying to improve internet access for the small Jewish community when he was arrested in December 2009.

The agenda indicates Carter also is scheduled to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro as well as Roman Catholic Cardinal Jaime Ortega before leaving on Wednesday.

At least one Republican in Congress supports President Barack Obama’s decision to go into Libya. From this morning’s The Hill:

One of the strongest congressional backers of the president’s handling of Libya is Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), a conservative Republican in his second term.

In a phone interview, Hunter, a Marine captain who served combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, offered unswerving praise for Obama’s decision to intervene and suggested critics of the policy were “politicizing” the issue.

“I agree with the president. I agree with what he’s done so far on his use of force. I agree on his timing. I agree on the fact that he went in with a coalition,” Hunter said.

***
The state Democratic party has provided this video proof that they have supporters outside metro Atlanta – from a ceremony surrounding the opening of a party office in Augusta on Saturday:

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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27 comments Add your comment

Tom

March 28th, 2011
9:23 am

Gonna be an interesting home stretch to Sine Die.

LMAO

March 28th, 2011
9:29 am

Any move to a consumption tax should mean the end of income taxes all together. A 1.5% decrease will not offset the amount I’m paying in consumption. As a Democrat I support a flat tax but not both.
It appears they are playing the “she’s a little pregnant game”. You can’t be both.

The Ghost of Lester Maddox

March 28th, 2011
9:30 am

How about a tax on the amount that lobbyists spend on the good ol boys?

A big, fat tax.

blue dog

March 28th, 2011
9:38 am

Jim

When Zell started collecting sales tax on casual sales of autos and boats, the law was found to be illegal. What is going on with this current law that makes it OK ?

td

March 28th, 2011
9:41 am

After reading these blogs about Sunday sales, it has become clear that a $1 or 2 additional tax on alcohol sales would mean we could stop furloughs to teachers and even reduce class size. This would be a true consumption tax.

Bill

March 28th, 2011
9:51 am

Car dealers are the big winners and the liquor lobby too! Seems like the demos are still in control, but with “R”s by their name.

GaBlue

March 28th, 2011
9:55 am

td,

How about a $1 or $2 additional tax on friggin Krispy Kremes? Why should those who smoke and drink pay all the sin tax in this state? It’s not like deep-fried, sugar-infused lard rings are actually food! It’s every bit as much a vice as a six pack of beer! It’s time the heavyweights started pulling their fair share of the sin tax, especially since they’re responsible for more potholes and sidewalk damage than those not addicted to sugar and lard. Just a thought.

Mr. KnowitAll

March 28th, 2011
10:02 am

How ’bout a tax on the money spent on PACs and campaign contributions? And a tax on lobbyist-paid junkets to see bullet trains (and the like) we don’t need?

…no….these self-centered scumbags aren’t going to slay their own goat. They want yours.

Centrist

March 28th, 2011
10:04 am

Most of the anxiety was from media like this.

td

March 28th, 2011
10:12 am

GaBlue

March 28th, 2011
9:55 am

I was being a little bit sarcastic but to answer your question we do already pay sales tax on fast food (not exempt from the food tax in GA.)

Now what is not fair is that smokers have to pay higher insurance premiums that people that drink and are overweight. If your body mass index is over whatever the obese number then your premiums should go up just like smokers should.

td

March 28th, 2011
10:20 am

Bill

March 28th, 2011
9:51 am
Car dealers are the big winners and the liquor lobby too! Seems like the demos are still in control, but with “R”s by their name.

I think you are very close to the truth. Looks like a good many of the “R”s(especially leadership) are really RINO’s and need to voted out of office in the primaries.

GaBlue

March 28th, 2011
10:35 am

td @ 10:12,

I agree about the insurance premiums! The selective scapegoating commonly utilized by our corporate masters to justify continuous rate jacking is totally bogus.

Diogenes

March 28th, 2011
10:36 am

td,

not happening. Any of it. The are real republicans. The Democrats have no power. If the GOP looks like they are leftists to you it is because you are to the right of Attila the Hun.

deegee

March 28th, 2011
10:39 am

I want to know what they are doing about collecting the $995 million in delinquent taxes that are owed in Georgia?

Georgia Department of Revenue, March 2011
Delinquent Taxpayers List – Individuals Sorted by County and Name
Total: $995,339,173.51

td

March 28th, 2011
10:50 am

Diogenes

March 28th, 2011
10:36 am

“The are real republicans”

They just gutted the illegal immigration bill, protect lawyers and are working with the two biggest donors of former democrats. Sounds like a lot of RINO’s to me. To let you know where I use to tease Newt about being a moderate.

findog

March 28th, 2011
11:12 am

td likes taxes
Taxing beer to pay for teachers
This is a regressive tax that is not aimed at the end user, as it is illegal for student to drink alcohol
We should have an equally regressive tax on that bible that he keeps thumping

GaBlue

March 28th, 2011
11:35 am

findog,

YES! Tax the churches! All of them. No more deficit! No more slashing education to the bone until the last teacher who once cared walks away from the profession in disgust.

By striving to tax absolutely everything in this state except income, our GOP Feudal Masters ensure that the poor and middle class will never do any better than barely scraping by, while the well-connected thrive on all the cheap labor we can give them (if we’re lucky enough to be chosen).

DW (the real one)

March 28th, 2011
11:40 am

@td AKA: TOTAL D0UCHE!

Where ya been buddy?? Hows that fighting sunday sales thing going for ya?

yuzeyurbrane

March 28th, 2011
11:53 am

The poll is interesting but the questions were obviously designed to elicit a positive response. My choice would be eliminate all sales taxes on all tv and internet services whether or not they be satelite or land-line rather than impose the same tax on all. Republican lawmakers were more likely influenced by the grassroots outrage they have faced by even the suggestion that the grocery tax be reimposed.

DannyX

March 28th, 2011
12:48 pm

The new Georgia Power Smart Meter was secretly given the capability by the Obama administration to secretly record all of your internet downloading history and beam all the information to a big government complex up north.

Obama is going to start taxing internet porn knowing millions of good Georgia Christians will say nothing because it would expose all their deviant downloading habits. Of course the RINO’s in the statehouse are going to want their piece. Expect an internet porn tax next session. Yes it will wipe out our budget crisis but it is regressive against Republicans. Isn’t paying taxes for internet porn considered prostitution?

This tax could wipe out the Republican porn business. “Airport Stall 2007″ “Minister, Meth, and Massage” “Short Skirted Lobbyist” “Tom Brady Career Highlights Film” “My Three Wives” “Hiking the Argentine Trail”….All these classic movies may never have been made if high taxes forced these small business owners out of business.

In fact there may even be a film being made right now Georgia taking advantage of the state tax breaks. Filming could be taking place this very second, right here in Georgia, catching all the action of the next big Republican blockbuster. The new tax wipes out the benefit.

A tax on porn will lead to a modern rebellion in Georgia. It will totally kill the mood if Republicans are taxed during this form of recreation. It would be like thinking of sports scores.

We may have to grease a few Republican politician palms, but we must get rid of this tax.

“NO Free Porn (plus tax)”

td

March 28th, 2011
1:01 pm

findog

March 28th, 2011
11:12 am
td likes taxes

I am a realist and think we have to have some taxes because we have to have some government services. I think most of the services should be provided at the state level and not the Federal level. The Federal governments main roll is to provide for the nations defence and to protect the boarders (not doing tha last one very well).

Back to taxes. Taxes should be on ones consumption and should be flat (meaning that everyone should have the same skin in the game and everyone should pay taxes). Items that are deemed to be detrimental to the public’s well being should be taxed more than those that are good for the public.

td

March 28th, 2011
1:13 pm

DW (the real one)

March 28th, 2011
11:40 am
@td AKA: TOTAL D0UCHE!

Where ya been buddy?? Hows that fighting sunday sales thing going for ya?

Looks like you have won the battle. You know will be able to buy 7 days a week. The irresponsible drinkers will now be able to buy that extra 12 pack on Sunday. They will be able to sit, drink more and cheer for there favorite football team and watch their kids play with their toys in the background. The extra consumption will only lower there inhibitions more and when their favorite team looses the game in the last minute they will go take out the anger on their children for making to much noise during the game.

I hope you are happy because I want you to remember this every time you hear of a child or wife death on Sunday for the rest of your life and take the appropriate blame for helping cause the situation. My conscience will be clear because I have done everything in my limited realm of influence to stop this escalation of abuse that WILL happen now but I guess you will just crack open another beer to help you forget.

Good luck my friend.

td

March 28th, 2011
1:16 pm

GaBlue

March 28th, 2011
11:35 am

“By striving to tax absolutely everything in this state except income, our GOP Feudal Masters ensure that the poor and middle class will never do any better than barely scraping by”

I have a question for you. Why are people poor? What are the common characteristics of a poor person?

findog

March 28th, 2011
1:48 pm

td @1:01
Sin taxes only on the sinners not the corporate distillers
Like beer: sugar and salt are bad for your health in excess
Are you now a nanny-stater?

td

March 28th, 2011
2:07 pm

findog

March 28th, 2011
1:48 pm

A nanny-stater would be telling someone they could not do something. I look at it more as helping someone make the best decision possible. There are certain behaviors that most everyone thinks are good for society as a whole and some that are detrimental to the society as a whole. Making the right choices should be rewarded and making bad choices should cost the individual more money.

double

March 28th, 2011
4:55 pm

These Democrats remind me of hogs, in the woods eating acorns. Never stopping to think where the acorns come from.Love the post tax all lobbyist gifts.Demand term limits.Why are people poor?Because they have nothing.what do they have in common.They are broke.