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.”
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.
“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