Your morning jolt: Grover Norquist, tea party split on tax overhaul

Oh, the dilemma.

House Republicans this morning will be presented with a letter from Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, informing the lawmakers that he won’t give them any trouble if they vote to pass HB 387, the tax overhaul bill.

But Georgia Tea Party Patriots this morning is urging lawmakers to vote against it:

”One can not just look at the tax rate cut, one has to look at the deductions/exemptions that are slashed and, in many cases, removed in this bill. Taxes will be raised for some and will be cut for others. In other words, this bill re-distributes wealth.”

Grover Norquist, president of Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform

Grover Norquist, president of Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform

Norquist had opposed the first version of the bill, because of its suggested restoration of a state sales tax on groceries, and an increase in the tobacco tax. He declared that the bill violated the no-new-taxes pledge signed by many GOP lawmakers in Georgia.

Norquist’s statement will soothe Republicans worried that voting for the measure could result in primary opposition next year.

The president of the anti-tax group did not address statistics that Georgia Democrats distributed on Tuesday, showing that – while the tax overhaul advertises a 25 percent decrease in the personal income tax rate – those who earn between $20,000 and $180,000 a year, and itemize their returns, would see slight tax increases because of a cap on deductions.

Click here to see the Democratic spread sheet.

From the statement posted on ATR’s web site:

“I commend the legislature and Gov. [Nathan] Deal for recognizing that tax reform can never include tax increases,” Norquist continued. “That axiom is reflected in this amended legislation, which is in compliance with the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.”

“Reducing the personal income tax rate is especially important for Georgia, as it is wedged between two states which levy no personal income tax at all,” Norquist concluded. “As Gov. Deal and the legislature continue to work together to reduce the size and burden of state government, the next goal is clear: Scrap the income tax altogether.”

Norquist and his Washington-based group also stepped into the Georgia fray over the Sunday sales of packaged alcohol this session.

***
The House on Tuesday voted 167-3 to pass a Senate resolution in support of the deepening of the Port of Savannah. From Morris News Service:

House Speaker David Ralston pointed out that the South Carolina legislature has passed its own resolution in opposition to the deepening while seeking federal funds for deepening the Charleston harbor.

One of the no votes in the Georgia House came from Rep. Mark Hatfield, R-Waycross who objected on fiscal concerns.

“Do you propose the federal government go deeper into debt for this project?” Hatfield asked.

Rep Penny Houston, R-Nashville, reminded Hatfield that Georgia sends more to Washington in federal taxes than it receives back in federal benefits, grants and appropriations.

***
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss should have a closet full of leather jackets by now. From this morning’s The Hill:

Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) are reviving a bipartisan “gang” of senators they formed in 2008 to craft sweeping energy legislation, Conrad [said].

“We are reconvening the group of 10, Sen. Chambliss and I — we are going to put together a plan to dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign energy, and so we are going back to work,” Conrad said Tuesday in the Capitol, adding that the group plans to meet this week.

The meeting is set for Wednesday afternoon, Senate aides said. The gang’s revival could mark a major political shift in what have been sharply partisan disputes over gasoline prices, climate change and other energy matters.

***
A certain Republican-turned-Libertarian will make a most ironic appearance in Texas next month. The Dallas Voice reports that former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, who authored the Defense of Marriage Act but now favors its repeal, will be keynote speaker at Log Cabin Republicans’ National Convention in Dallas next month.

Today’s AJC Politifact takes a look at whether Georgia public employees have bargaining rights, or a say in their working conditions.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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44 comments Add your comment

ProgressivePeach

March 30th, 2011
9:17 am

Well if Grover says it’s ok, then I guess we Republicans can vote for it.

Because the GOP represents Grover, not those of us who elected them.

Sounds like a Wimpy Move

March 30th, 2011
9:18 am

Is Mr. Norquist a Georgia resident? Why does his voice count for more than the voices of thousands of Georgians? I am tired of politicians on both sides pandering to special interet groups and not listening to their constiuents.

td

March 30th, 2011
9:18 am

If Grover Norquist says this will not be a tax increase then the Democratic spreadsheet has to be lying.

Road Scholar

March 30th, 2011
9:25 am

Repubs say no, demos say yes as it pertains to the bill increasing the tax burden on the middle class. What does Clark Howard say? He’s the only one left who is not partisan.

BW

March 30th, 2011
9:28 am

This is what happens when one or two people are allowed to dictate to 9 million Georgians. We don’t have a spending problem here it is revenue. Yet we need to deepen the Savannah harbor, improve transportation in Metro Atlanta, and possibly build new reservoirs to combat a potential water supply issue in North Georgia….we must raise this money somehow…we are all in this together even though don’t think that we are.

Sideshow Bill

March 30th, 2011
9:32 am

I don’t remember the majority voting for Grover Norquist?!?! I’ve actually never seen him on a ballot. And the Democratic numbers are from GAState, not their own internal numbers. For once I actually agree with the tea party, it is wealth re-distribution, upward.

Just Wait

March 30th, 2011
9:35 am

Sorry, I just can’t trust anyone with a name like Grover Norquist. I really can’t trust anyone from D.C. who feels it is necessary to stick his or her nose in Georgia’s business. And I really can’t respect ANY Georgia lawmaker who bows to the likes of this guy. And if anyone does not believe that the middle class will be hurt by this tax change, you’ve been watching too much Fox News.

jd

March 30th, 2011
9:45 am

Why isn’t Grover registered as a lobbyist?

Last Man Standing

March 30th, 2011
9:48 am

Public Enemy Number One . . .

The enemy of the American people can easily be recognized. He or she is either democrat or republican, but democrats are the more dangerous of the species. He or she has been known to mingle with the masses when to do so is in their interest, but prefers the company of peers.

The enemy is elected politicians. It is the nature of our enemy to use our resources to further their own ends. They squander the fortune of our country and its’ citizens buying votes to increase their power. They will shamelessly break the promises made to the electorate to acquire power and often punish the very people who elected them with punitive taxation.

The majority of Americans are complacent and accept the ill treatment of the Enemy. A very large segment of the population vote for a living. Their votes are bought and paid for using the money of productive citizens. This form of vote-buying did not result as an accident, but was planned and put in place by the Enemy.

Despite our best efforts to elect honest and capable people, we always end up with the Enemy in office. This is an enemy who treats us with careless disdain ang goes about his/her business of increasing their power and their fortune.

Understanding the problem provides no resolution. Identifying the Enemy doesn’t correct the problem. Only when honest and capable people see serving as elected officials as a public service to their fellow citizens can the Enemy be defeated. Even so, the Enemy will still exist and still struggle to control the masses in a quest for power and wealth.

findog

March 30th, 2011
9:53 am

Norquist is a scam artist who is constantly increasing the size and cost of government with his, “rename everything after President Reagan project,” in an open attempt to completely disable all levels of government in their ability to resist his attempt to drown them in a bath tub.
I hope the Tea Party has a primary challenger for every republican that votes for this bill, and that every democrat that does the same is defeated.
At some point the Tea Party, Libertarians, and Moderate Democrats have to unite to purge our Augean pig trough under the Gold Dome.

jconservative

March 30th, 2011
9:53 am

If a person’s taxes go up, then that person has had a Tax Increase.

I realize this may be a difficult concept for some Republicans.

I would suggest Georgia Republicans copy the Republicans in some other states and actually reduce the size of State government.

After the size of the Georgia State government has been reduced, then and only then, address taxes.

You know, for 31 years the US has worried itself sick over taxes and totally ignored spending. The result is the $14.4 trillion National Debt.

findog

March 30th, 2011
9:59 am

Road, the GOP has not released any details as to how their bill is not a tax increase, who are you going to believe a politician with the backing of a national nut case or a straight forward computer calculation you can download?

Sam I Am

March 30th, 2011
10:02 am

Maybe we need to start a fourth war.

DW (the real one)

March 30th, 2011
10:05 am

TD

You’re mentally challenged if you belive that

khc

March 30th, 2011
10:06 am

who cares what grover a$$clown thinks

Road Scholar

March 30th, 2011
10:11 am

findog: The repubs have said that it isn’t an increase on anyone, then have backed up and said that some may see a tax increase from $40-400.

I’ll put my trust in someone who is not aligned to examine different scenarios and present the result in a simple and honest way- Clark Howard. Has the GSU Prof who does the state economic forecast said anything on his findings?

Is there a program?

Finally, putting the bill out on Wednesday and voting for it on Friday: Is this the length of transparency the Repubs claimed the healthcare bill was to use?

JP

March 30th, 2011
10:12 am

So if it raises taxes on some people but not everyone is that still OK? Does that mean the R’s are raising taxes? Do the Dems have a better option?

DW (the real one)

March 30th, 2011
10:17 am

@JP yeah.. do nothing

DW (the real one)

March 30th, 2011
10:19 am

oh and quit kicking the little guy (lower and middle class) to help the rich and big corporations like they always do.

gsueagle

March 30th, 2011
10:24 am

i will be so glad when i can VOTE AGAINST SAXBY .

td

March 30th, 2011
10:27 am

jconservative

March 30th, 2011
9:53 am

“After the size of the Georgia State government has been reduced”

I agree with you on most issues but I must correct the record on this statement. Sonny (a RINO that I truly did not like) made more actual cuts and reduces the size of government workers more than probably any governor in the states history. The field level staff in DOR, DFCS, DNR, Public Health, EPA, food inspectors and even GSP have been cut by at least 30% over the last 4 years. He also instituted furlough days, increased the cost of health coverage by 40% and slashed the retirement system for new employees by 50%. He did not cut the high level management staff of these agencies and very little was cut in the colleges. The biggest thing he did not cut was services. Medicaid is costing the state 30% of its budget (2nd to only Education) and this amount is only going to increase substantially in the next 5 years under Obama care.

The state staffing levels in every agency, except Education, are at or below levels 10 years ago while adding an additional 1 million people to the state. The is very little more that Deal can cut on this side (without severely impacting services) except in management> Management will not be cut because these are all the appointees of the governors office making all the high salaries.

What we the people need to decide is what is important for the state to do (services). If we think all the services that the state offers now are important and needed then increased Medicaid and Education costs (70% of the entire budget) is going to force the state to find other revenue sources in the next 5 years or the economy is going to have to grow substantially.

Mr. KnowitAll

March 30th, 2011
10:38 am

We already know Saxby’s solution to the energy crisis—MORE ETHANOL!!
He needs to suck up to his big farm subsidy and price support buddies in South Ga.

Even Al Gore says Ethanol is a poor option for a source of energy.
…but not Saxby…….

The Goobernator

March 30th, 2011
11:07 am

Ehtanol is a boondoggle than takes more petroleum based energy to produce than the energy value it creates. Ethanol only supports PETRO businesses. It is not clean, renewable energy, the ethanol subsidies must stop!

ByteMe

March 30th, 2011
11:08 am

Should I be amazed at how much power two lobbying organizations — Norquist’s and the NRA — have over the Georgia legislature?

Real Athens

March 30th, 2011
11:09 am

Saxby’s son Bo is a lobbyist for Conagra. Conagra’s largest product is corn. Ethanol is the biggest energy scam going. The Federal government forces it into the tanks of cars driven in America. An example of corporate welfare at it’s finest.

It takes more energy to produce ethanol than it provides.

Last Man Standing

March 30th, 2011
11:09 am

NO!

NO MORE TAXES!

Cut spending to the bone BEFORE you increase any taxes. This econmy sucks and the taxpayers are Taxed Enough Already! If you don’t know ehere else to cut, I’ve got some suggestions. Start buy firing all the defeated politicians who have been given “jobs” in state government. Take a good hard look at the salaries being paid “executive secretaries” in ALL the state departments. Be leaders: cut your own salaries and quit maxing-out your per diem (that shouldn’t be a problem as there are so many lobbyists buying your meals now)! Look at state agencies with the idea of eleiminating one major agency, the Department of Administrative Services. That move alone will save the state millions upon millions of dollars.

findog

March 30th, 2011
11:36 am

LMS,
Also cut all these overlapping agency’s
Only one transportation division
Only one planning/zoning organization, no mountain, piedmont, coastal plain and metro sub-sets
Do away with regional planning authorities
Do away with every division of the state government, no more commissioners for each congressional district
Reduce the number of county’s
Change the basic function of local government to county level and get rid of all these little fiefdoms with their separate: school, fire, police, and jails
Make government efficient and then lower taxes
Reduce the number of state representatives and senator by one-half
Get rid of every special assistant [czars] the governor, lieutenant governor, and house speaker have on the payroll
Reduce the general assembly time frame where they can get travel and per diem to the 40-days they meet

Road Scholar

March 30th, 2011
11:45 am

Findog: Those planning orgs you want to cut are req’d under Federal law! The Metro Planning Orgs (MPO’s) and the Regional Development Commissions (RDC’s) assist GDOT and other state planning groups (DCA)in developing their work programs. They provide local contacts and input into the statewide plans.

or would you like the Legislature to do that for you? The legislature would adopt direction like the recent bill on billboards (yet again) would then have free reign over the state. Hell No!

GaBlue

March 30th, 2011
11:52 am

Bottom line: We’re *bleep*ed. Why? We weren’t paying attention. We let ourselves be divided by fear, greed, and prejudice. We found it more important to hate our neighbors than to come together to construct practical solutions for the common good. We failed to practice what we preach. So, get out the bottle of slippery stuff, bend over, and don’t make a fuss now. Complain, and you’ll take it without slippery stuff. (Those of you smirking at the ones being bent over now: as sure as August will be hot & sticky, YOU’re next.)

blue dog

March 30th, 2011
12:13 pm

This interview with former Republican representative of SC Bob Inglis is a “must read” for all Americans. He paints a scary picture of politics in the new Tea Party era. Just like these Ga Republicans who fear the Tea Party…so goes their “conservative agenda”.
Please read…
http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/08/bob-inglis-tea-party-casualty

Last Man Standing

March 30th, 2011
12:18 pm

“Also cut all these overlapping agency’s
Only one transportation division”

It would be prudent to allow the agencies to spec and purchase their own vehicles as they know what works for them best. The needs of a DNR Ranger are quite different from those of a State Patrol Trooper, etc.

“Only one planning/zoning organization, no mountain, piedmont, coastal plain and metro sub-sets”

That sounds plausible – if the fed doesn’t mandate it as a “must” for getting our federal tax dollars back.

“Do away with regional planning authorities”

I don’t know enough about that to give an educated answer.

“Do away with every division of the state government, no more commissioners for each congressional district”

I fail to see how the government could be operated in that case.

“Reduce the number of county’s”

Georgia has 149 counties and probably should be consolidated to 50. Good luck on getting counties to agree to merge/combine!

“Change the basic function of local government to county level and get rid of all these little fiefdoms with their separate: school, fire, police, and jails”

Not a bad idea, but again good luck on getting these entities to agree to go along with it!

“Make government efficient and then lower taxes”

No one would disagree with that.

“Reduce the number of state representatives and senator by one-half”

I definitely would support that!

“Get rid of every special assistant [czars] the governor, lieutenant governor, and house speaker have on the payroll”

No taxpayer in his right mind would disagree.

“Reduce the general assembly time frame where they can get travel and per diem to the 40-days they meet”

I concur. They currently have only 40 “working days”, but draw the per diem for much longer. In fact, they charge a per diem throughout the year whenever they travel on “state business”.

Jack

March 30th, 2011
12:18 pm

the tax bill is nothing more than another way to increas state tax revenue don’t let thos people fool you. I will vote against any one who votes for this bill, for what my vote is worth!!!!

Just the Obvious

March 30th, 2011
12:43 pm

Tax on Person-to-Person car “Casual” sales, isn’t it a “new” tax also? Also the money you’ll pay more to car dealers, that’s not technically a tax but it’s for job creation, right. Some people won’t see things with their eyes open.

Native Atlantan2

March 30th, 2011
12:46 pm

Hmmm….what seemed to be important to a majority of folks is Sunday Alcohol Sales, Right to Life, Protection of Marriage and Illegal Immigration so they voted that way. It appears the folks they voted for decided the middle class wasn’t enduring enough pain in this economy and decided to raise our taxes. But…wait for it…wait for it…isn’t this saving or creating jobs (another priority)? Nice….

Road Scholar

March 30th, 2011
12:47 pm

LMS: “It would be prudent to allow the agencies to spec and purchase their own vehicles as they know what works for them best. The needs of a DNR Ranger are quite different from those of a State Patrol Trooper, etc.”

It used to be that way!Perdue stopped it!

“That sounds plausible – if the fed doesn’t mandate it as a “must” for getting our federal tax dollars back.”

They do!

““Do away with regional planning authorities”

I don’t know enough about that to give an educated answer.”

We don’t need no stinkin’ planning! (sarc) Yeah, we could put strip clubs next to churches! (Did I hear Baptists shriek?) We have 2 million+ new residents coming to this state and we don’t need to plan? Think about it! We don’t need new transportation improvements? prioritize? How do you think the economy got this way? Have you seen all the open storefronts in the strip malls?

“Reduce the number of state representatives and senator by one-half”

The lobbyist would like that; reduces payout. the legislators would lik that; increases amount of “election contrbutions”. If you had a problem who would you talk to? Remeber the longer lines to get yur politician to help you! Representation would not be in our best interest.

Be careful what you ask for…you may get it.

Road Scholar

March 30th, 2011
12:49 pm

Jim Galloway: Where is an article…or blog.. that reports on the meeting last night to consider the City of Brookhaven?

Self_Made

March 30th, 2011
3:00 pm

I can’t believe what I just read from td@10:27 FINALLY a conservative who actually acknowledges that state government has been cut as far as it can be given it’s current construct. TAXES are not what is hindering growth and recovery people!! Shoddy infrastructure, deficient transporation, and sub-par school systems are what’s hindering growth and allowing other states to take it from us. We need a fairer, more stable revenue mechanism…not just more cuts!

double

March 30th, 2011
5:00 pm

Yep,and Obama has been to all 149 counties.

Last Man Standing

March 30th, 2011
5:32 pm

double:

“Yep,and Obama has been to all 149 counties.”

You meant to say, “all 157 counties”, didn’t you?

td

March 30th, 2011
5:33 pm

Self_Made

March 30th, 2011
3:00 pm

For the most part state government has been cut to the breaking point in its “current construct”. I think we need to a conversation about what is the core functions of the state. Identify them, fund them and cut out the rest. Example: Is it a core function of the state to provide health care insurance for 25% of its population? Is it a core function of the state to subsidize the college education of its citizens (not talking about hope)? Is it the core function of the state to subsidize the housing, heating and cooling of citizens?

td

March 30th, 2011
5:36 pm

Last Man Standing

March 30th, 2011
5:32 pm
double:

“Yep,and Obama has been to all 149 counties.”

You meant to say, “all 157 counties”, didn’t you?

We actually have 159 counties in the state. The smallest has less than 2000 residents. No way can they can collect enough money to run a school system.

Eclipse

March 30th, 2011
7:52 pm

Be interesting to know what the price was for Grover Norquist’s endorsement of HB 387. This inexplicable 180 degree reversal of his previous opposition didn’t just happen for free. Stinks to high heaven.

John Galt

April 1st, 2011
6:21 pm

If you believe that the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know, then follow the Pied Piper over the cliff, then follow the RINOS over the cliff. Some say Obama is the problem, but the “ox did not get in the ditch” with him, no long before him, he only has made it worse!
I submit that the targeted hits by Karl Rowe & et.al. on Miller, O’Donnell, Angle & et.al. are the real Trojan horses that will sink this country.
Just read about how much money the Federal Reserve has been sent overseas, and watch the hyperinflation coming down the pipe! You will not get a Fair Tax any more than getting rid of Barnes’ SB 285 bill signed into law in 2002 that allows for weapon confiscation at roadblocks during declared emergencies, will get repealed by the TPTB in GAGOP, evidenced Sonny’s veto of SB 291 in 2010, or restoring your property rights made into privileges via Sonny’s HR 1306 that so many in the public fell for in 2006.
Remember the three great lies;
The check is in the mail
I’m here from the government, & I’m here to help
I can’t remember the 3rd. great lie
You best demand court room taped sessions, because that will be the only way you will be able to possibly protect your Constitutional rights! Just like what was necessary to reveal my handcuff hands when the statists paraded me in front of the public to give them hope!