Open warfare has broken out between Republicans in the U.S. Senate and anti-tax guru Grover Norquist. From the Washington Post:
A majority of Senate Republicans appeared to break Tuesday with two decades of GOP orthodoxy against higher taxes, voting to advance a plan to abruptly cancel billions of dollars in annual tax credits for ethanol blenders.
The measure, offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), fell short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster threat. But it had the support of 34 of 47 Republicans, most of whom have signed an anti-tax pledge that specifically prohibits raising taxes by any means but economic growth.
Coburn has argued forcefully that Republicans must abandon that pledge if they are serious about tackling the spiraling national debt. Though the Senate turned back his measure, he said the vote nonetheless marks the beginning of the end of GOP tolerance for wasteful giveaways through the tax code.
“You’ve got 34 Republicans that say they’re willing to end this, regardless of what Grover says,” Coburn said, referring to pledge creator Grover G. Norquist, the founder of Americans for Tax Reform. “That’s 34 Republicans that say this is more important than a signed pledge to ATR.”
Among those voting to end the enthanol subsidies were U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson. Ending expensive tax incentives is one of the key elements of Chambliss’ “Gang of Six” bipartisan plan to tackle a $14 trillion federal deficit.
Marketwatch picked up Chambliss’ comments from the floor:
“Even though I’ve supported this tax credit, for all of the years that I have served in both the House and Senate, I think the time has come,” Chambliss said…. “I do not intend to support an extension of that tax credit beginning from the expiration at the end of this year.”
TMZ has a vacation photo of GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who indeed was in need of some serious beach time. That, or a polar bear was washed into the Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, AJC’s Politifact Geeorgia takes a look at Newt Gingrich’s citation of tax cuts under President Ronald Reagan as proof that such tactics result in economic growth.
Score a big win for Republicans in Wisconsin. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Acting with unusual speed, the state Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the reinstatement of Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial plan to end most collective bargaining for tens of thousands of public workers.
The court found that a committee of lawmakers was not subject to the state’s open meetings law, and so did not violate that law when it hastily approved the collective bargaining measure in March and made it possible for the Senate to take it up.
Meeting in Arizona, members of the Southern Baptist Convention elected an African-American pastor to its No. 2 position for the first time on Tuesday.
Why is that worth noting in this space? Because, especially in the South, the growth of the Republican party and the nation’s largest Protestant denomination have run along parallel tracks. From the Associated Press:
This year’s meeting comes following the release of internal figures showing SBC affiliates baptized fewer people in 2010 than any time since the 1950s and also saw declines in overall membership and attendance.
David W. Key Sr., the director of Baptist Studies at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, said the decline reflects the fact that the membership of many Southern Baptist churches is aging.
“Over the next few years membership is going to drop even more dramatically,” he said. “And older members are the financial foundation of the churches. As they die off that trend is going to have a big impact.”
That plan for a toll road running west of metro Atlanta doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. From the Times-Georgian in Carrollton:
The Lamar County Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 Monday to decline to join a development authority. Last Tuesday, the Carroll County Board of Commissioners became the first to flatly say no, voting 7-0 not to join the authority. Carroll’s vote came after 13 area residents spoke passionately against the project.
The Joint Development Authority was the first step in developing the proposed Western Commercial Connector – a $2 billion, privately funded toll road spanning 113 miles – that would run through Carroll County while stretching from I-75 in Bartow County all the way to Spalding County on the south end and connecting with I-75 in Lamar County. The idea originated with the Paulding County Development Authority and to date Paulding County is the only government to approve the resolution.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider