Your morning jolt: Senate Republicans uneasy about shifting T-SPLOST vote

With a deal struck among Republicans on congressional maps, attention is quickly turning to the remaining issue facing the Legislature during its special session – passage of a measure shifting next year’s regional T-SPLOST votes from the July primary to the November general election.

Last week, Gov. Nathan Deal met in private session with House Republican members to argue for passage. But he may need to do the same with GOP senators.

We’re told that – right now – the bill wouldn’t win a majority of the Senate Republican caucus vote. That’s especially important when Democrats in the chamber – specifically members of the Legislative Black Caucus – are still in a pique over the Senate Republican effort to take control of local legislation affecting Fulton and other counties.

No gubernatorial counseling session has yet been scheduled – but keep an eye out for it.

***
Regardless of when the regional transportation tax vote is held, proponents have their work cut out for them – especially given the dearth of Republicans willing to attach themselves to the referendum.

On Monday, in a reporters scrum after unveiling the state’s new license plate, Gov. Nathan Deal went out of his way to reiterate his support for the legislation.

“The more we have participation in the process of making a choice, the better off we are and more representative the vote will be,” Deal said. “I know some people expressed an interest in having all SPLOSTS moved to the general election time. I have no problem with that. In fact that’s probably a good idea.”

But the governor implied that a mandate to require November general election votes for all SPLOST referendums won’t be part of the special session legislation. “That is something members of the General Assembly are working on for purposes of introducing that in the regular session early next year,” Deal said.

But at a Cobb delegation meeting the same day, five legislators criticized what their county — a bastion of Republican votes — would get out of the sales tax levy. From the Marietta Daily Journal:

During a meeting in the Coverdale Legislative Building in Atlanta between the Cobb Legislative Delegation and Cobb Board of Commissioners, state Sens. Lindsey Tippins (R-west Cobb), Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) and state Reps. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs), Sharon Cooper (R-east Cobb) and Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) expressed doubts about the $856.48 million, 12.8-mile rail line project, which would only have about one mile of track inside Cobb….

“In speaking for the people of west Cobb, in commuting to Atlanta the biggest problem we have is getting to the Galleria,” Tippins said. “Once you get to the Galleria on I-75 you get downtown. The biggest problem is getting there.”

***
Also Monday, Atlanta Tea Party Patriots, reported that they would have a table at Saturday’s annual GOP fish fry in Perry, where tea partyists will collect to form a campaign against the transportation sales tax. They’re also talking about setting up a political action committee – raising the interesting question of who will pour money into the effort to block the transit vote.

***
Friends of U.S. Rep. John Barrow, a Democrat whose residence in Savannah just became temporary, are keeping a stiff upper lip.

“Republicans have clearly tried to gerrymander Rep. Barrow out of his district, but he has a proven track record of fighting for Georgia families and regardless of what the final lines look like, he will win,” said Adam Hodge of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Academics are mixed on Barrow’s future. From Larry Peterson and the Savannah Morning News:

Black voting-age population there — a rough indicator of Democratic voting strength — would drop from 42.5 percent to 33.8 percent.

“Taking it down that far really hurts a Democrat,” said Kennesaw State University political science professor Kerwin Swint.

But University of Georgia political scientist Charles Bullock said the new 12th, while difficult for Barrow, remains “very competitive.”

ScreenShot126

***
One Republican in the state Capitol has drawn our attention to a minor but not accidental jog in the new 14th District in northwest Georgia district occupied by U.S. Rep. Tom Graves.

The new district would sweep around Bartow County, home to that bank that sued him and Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, for failure to repay a $2.2 million loan. The lawsuit was recently settled, with neither side disclosing the terms.

***
Senate Republicans today are expected to pass the map of new House districts, apparently without addressing objections by Gov. Nathan Deal over the slicing up of his home Hall County.

***
Food stamp recipients in Georgia have increased by 42 percent in the last two years, to 1.8 million recipients, reports Fox5 Atlanta.

***
Georgia’s port chief told a senior U.S. trade official Monday he supports the Obama administration’s push to expand free trade, but he insisted the Port of Savannah needs a $600 million deepening of its shipping channel to fully reap the benefits.

From Russ Bynum and the Associated Press:

U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis visited Savannah, home of the nation’s fourth busiest container port, to promote passage of new trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama that President Barack Obama says will create jobs by boosting U.S. exports.

The Georgia Ports Authority’s top officials used that meeting as another chance to push Washington to fund the deepening of the Savannah River so that dredging might start next year. Like other East Coast ports, Savannah wants to deepen its harbor to accommodate supersized cargo ships that are expected to begin using an expanded Panama Canal in 2014.

Getting money has been tough amid Washington’s budget-slashing mindset.

“We’re the shallowest major port in the world today,” said Curtis Foltz, executive director of Georgia’s ports. “Unless we can provide a safer and better passage on our river, shippers are going to go elsewhere.”

Foltz said Savannah’s trade with South Korea is a prime example of the need for deeper water.

The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at Senate Majority Leader Chip Roger’s contention that that the U.S. is near the bottom of developed nations in education.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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64 comments Add your comment

Centrist

August 23rd, 2011
10:23 am

The rail line in the transportation bill is an expensive boondoggle and will make the overall tax hard to pass. The Taxed Enough Already (TEA) is certainly going to oppose it, and they are already organized.

Food stamps increasing will added taxes are being proposed for dubious transportation plans. No wonder there is opposition building.

It is just silly AJC blogging about not including Bartow County in the 14th district. Bartow County is whole along with Cherokee County which certainly makes more sense than cutting up Bartow.

Just Nasty & Mean

August 23rd, 2011
10:45 am

Somebody smarter than me is going to have to explain what the “community of interest” of Bartow and Cherokee Counties has with Buckhead. Last I saw, there weren’t many feed stores on Peachtree St.

WTF?

PTC DAWG

August 23rd, 2011
10:45 am

This vote is a joke, being a Fayette County resident, we don’t want mass transit and we will be nothing but a donor county.

rooster

August 23rd, 2011
10:47 am

Coverdell, not Coverdale.

Trains?

August 23rd, 2011
10:47 am

Unless there is a regional rail system that will actually get you somewhere the tax is doa. You can’t even take a train to Turner Field and they want billions? As usual, Georgia will blow it again. If someone with real vision would step up, maybe the people of Georgia would get behind a real plan.

DannyX

August 23rd, 2011
10:53 am

This whole transportation tax is just another in a long list of lame Republican failures. No one likes the transportation list unless you are mayor Reed or live in the core of Atlanta.

Republicans expect voters to go along with the biggest tax increase in Georgia history. Of course the Republicans newest lap dog, the AJC, is going right along with their new Republican masters promoting it.

Republicans can’t do anything right.

JJ

August 23rd, 2011
10:54 am

The t-splots is dead on arrival, it will go lose by 20 points or more. It is nothing but a hodge podge of disjointed projects. I found it interestng that the community meetings were loaded with road construction workers hoping to get some work. The rally cry is that these projects are good for the economy and will put them back to work. NO, the purpose of these projects is to improve the transportation needs of all the peple in the 10 collar counties. If they probosed nothing but rail projects from the various regions into the city it would pass, but Atlanta does not have enough vision to see the obvious.

Ghost Rider

August 23rd, 2011
10:59 am

“Of course the Republicans newest lap dog, the AJC,”

This has to be a ‘first’! I have NEVER heard the AJC referred to as a Republican anything!

Pompano

August 23rd, 2011
10:59 am

The T-Splost will not do anything to alleviate traffic in the Metro area. It’s just one big cookie-jar to provide hand-outs to connected Developer buddies and kick-backs for politicians.

Lamar Willis is on the ARC. How can any credible organization count this worthless criminal among it’s members?

mike 'hussein' smith

August 23rd, 2011
11:01 am

SPLOSTS? What does the third S stand for?

Ga Values

August 23rd, 2011
11:02 am

Just vote NO.

GAPeach

August 23rd, 2011
11:07 am

Republicans should not play politics with the T-SPLOST. The question is when would the voters get the best chance to choose whether they want it or not. The choices should be clear and voters should have a voice. They should not advocate holding the vote on T-SPLOST with the primary when voter turnout would be lower. Don’t the Republicans believe in democracy and the will of the voters?

Paddy O

August 23rd, 2011
11:10 am

If morons vote no, STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT TRAFFIC IMMEDIATELY. Unless of course, you are a moron & a hypocrit. This is the best tran funding vehicle you will receive, plus you have local input.

Paddy O

August 23rd, 2011
11:11 am

JJ – you are wrong.

Henry Grady

August 23rd, 2011
11:12 am

I assume Mr. Tippins is in favor of putting in a toll road from West Cobb to the Gallaria b/c if Cobb refuses to pony up for regional transportation solutions again…the state better not fund anything from West Cobb to anywhere. i’m telling you…assuming this doesn’t pass b/c of Cobb opposition, the reps from Fulton and DeKalb and so on better vote in block to prevent Cobb from seeing a dime of money beyond what they put in gas taxes. Frankly, I think if we can’t get this passed, we need to start excluding counties that want to be part of Atlanta but not pay for it.

Laurie

August 23rd, 2011
11:13 am

Did anyone else see the recent news story about GDOT and their granting a $21 million dollar contract to run the traffic management center? An investigative reporter uncovered conflicts of interest in who the contract was rewarded to, TWICE! I don’t care when they have the vote, I’m still making a point to vote NO for the T-SPLOST.

cs

August 23rd, 2011
11:15 am

No more “its just a penny” forever taxes! No more sales taxes!!! No more e-splost!! No more splost!

SpaceyG on Twitter

August 23rd, 2011
11:16 am

No rail, no way. Especially with Fulton/DeKalb having to double up.

Mr. KnowitAll

August 23rd, 2011
11:21 am

TSPLOST is nothing but a piggy bank for developers and the chamber of commerce to accomplish their utopian dreams of everybody living in apartment clusters around mass transit stations.
This is the United Nations Agenda 21 Sustainable Development scam–One world order–and fits to a T.

Those big buck developers can’t wait to sell all that land they have been sitting on to a hapless public still asking: “Why am I STILL stuck in traffic after handing these cons $6Billion?”.

Take your pipe dream Atlanta beltline, your unjustified Emery MARTA spur, and your useless Cobb link—— and shove it!

Why Approve the Largest Tax Increase

August 23rd, 2011
11:22 am

Henry Grady I hope Dekalb residents are smart enough to vote NO on this. The Clifton Corridor line will not get built, they don’t even have the right of way and its not even half way funded. Going after federal dollars? Ok maybe in 20 years they might start building it.

Why should DeKalb Residents have to pay an 8% sales tax with 2% going to transportation when everyone else only pays 1%. And City of Atlanta pays a 9% sales tax? Lenox Mall with a 9% tax? Wow!

And Paddy O if this is the best we can get then so be it. Maybe people will take congestion into consideration when they buy a house. Maybe demand will continue to build near all the underutilized land near existing transit stations when we stop building more sprawl inducing roads.

A better funding vehicle would be increasing the Gas Tax. And contrary to what they tell you all it takes is a majority of the legislature or a new opinion from the Attorney General to allow the % based portion of the sales tax on gas to be used for transit. A sales tax for transportation is unfair to those that responsible consume the transportation infrastructure.

Trains?

August 23rd, 2011
11:23 am

Without Atlanta, we’d be Alabama folks. No more roads! Think 20 years ahead if you are capable of that, GA politicians!!!

honested

August 23rd, 2011
11:24 am

Senate republicans uneasy about shifting the date.

Of course they are, they crafted this hodge-podge to fail while pandering to the loud-and-little-else teapottie minority.
The GA republican party wants this state kept ignorant, backwards and easy to rule by the least among us.
Adequate transportation might let people realize the world is a much bigger place than they had assumed and they have a responsibility to take part in it.

DannyX

August 23rd, 2011
11:32 am

DeKalb will help vote this down. The Emory spur is a joke. The I-20 bus plan insulting.

The Beltline funding was a gift to Reed. Those trips to Washington tagging behind Deal begging for the $600 billion dollar port pork project really paid off. The Beltline is a pork project, nothing regional about it at all.

Dumb and Dumber

August 23rd, 2011
11:33 am

The transportation tax is almost as stupid as the HOV toll lane project. At a cost of $110 million all we get is cameras and software for you to buy cards to pay extra to drive in a lane that taxes already paid for — and the best part is that expected revenues won’t even cover the cost of maintaining the system (cameras, software and billing) – let alone maintenance on the road.

Brilliant. You can thank GDOT and Sonny Perdue for this one. The I-85 toll lane is the only metro Atlanta road project to come out of Sonny’s two terms in office. But we did get some boat ramps in South Georgia and developers made a killing in the Oaky Woods fiasco.

Thanks Sonny, hope you are enjoying your millions that you made on side deals while you were governor. You’ve set a high bar for Nathan Deal!

double

August 23rd, 2011
11:40 am

Ghost what you have not heard would fill lots of books.Dannyx Do you not know our house speaker went to Europe or some place to investigate high speed rail and returned home with a different point of view.All this paid for non registered lobbyist.Think the money has been approved for the feasibility study.Read in Tn.newspaper.

Michael

August 23rd, 2011
11:46 am

Delta is ready when I am.

Dave

August 23rd, 2011
11:51 am

Transit Tax is a NO VOTE from the 5 members of my family.

MARSHALL

August 23rd, 2011
11:54 am

It matters not if the vote is in July or November, the Southside will not be behind the T-Splost.

John

August 23rd, 2011
11:55 am

Let’s be clear here – republican/tea party revolutionaries will not support the transportation referendum because republican/tea party revolutionaries believe public transportation means African-Americans will have a better means of getting into their suburbs. They also believe that means crime (they equate crime with skin color) will come, hence their opposition to public transportation.

Always has been. Always will be.

Since republican/tea party revolutionary voters control every statewide aspect of governmental operations, republican/tea party revolutionary voters will defeat the Governor’s plan. Isn’t the Governor a republican? Being a former democrat means that he is not enough of a real republican/tea party revolutionary to be one of them. To be one of “them” you must have “purity of thought” on all things relating to the dismantling of government, included in this “purity of thought” is support for seccession.

Tech '10

August 23rd, 2011
11:58 am

In case you haven’t noticed, we really need a rail line that extends into the metro areas. Unfortunately, mass transit in GA suffers from a bad image. New rails will need to be carefully planned and relentlessly promoted in order to get more people from metro-ATL to ride them. The reason there are so many people in metro atl in the first place is the same reason folks dont want a train in their county, too much crunk.

MrLiberty

August 23rd, 2011
11:58 am

The private marketplace already has a wonderful mechanism for funding major transportation projects – investors. If there are people in the community who actually think that there is money to be made in the kind of transportation projects being proposed then let them offer bonds to raise the money needed and let the citizens who support these kinds of projects pony up their own money to support them. Problem solved, and without more theft from the productive sector of society.

Privatizing all road ownership and control would be the best solution for ongoing maintenance and operation of the highways, but in lieu of that, at least tie the need for additional revenue to the usage. Raising the gasoline tax and ensuring that all monies received go ONLY to maintenance, repair,and improvements would be far superior to a blanket tax on every sale that just fills state coffers insuring waste and abuse.

Why is government so afraid of a private solution? Because it would show that government is not needed to address even the most basic of things they claim they are needed for. Such a revelation to the citizenry would undermine the whole premise of our oppressive and controlling state.

Armarsha

August 23rd, 2011
12:00 pm

“Food stamp recipients in Georgia have increased by 42 percent in the last two years, to 1.8 million recipients, reports Fox5 Atlanta.”

That is astonishing. I know many people need a helping hand right now, but come on. 1.8 million? I am a bit skeptical that 1 of every 5 Georgians needs food stamps. Gotta wonder how many of the recipients are legal U.S. citizens.

Tech '10

August 23rd, 2011
12:01 pm

To Mr. Liberty’s point: I find it amusing that GA and other southern states want the Feds out of our business, but when a county wants the state out of their business, they all get confused.
Our gov’t has been left unaccountable for too long and corruption is almost second nature to these thugs. A private solution certainly would make more sense given the state of our current state gov’t.

JJ

August 23rd, 2011
12:05 pm

Paddy O, here is my suggestion.
Marta to the following:
Up 75 to Town Center
Up 400 to Winward Parkway
Up 85 to the 316 split
East on 20 to Conyers
South on 85 to Peachtree City
South on 75 to McDonough
West on 20 to Douglasville
The one cent tax should be state wide as Atlanta is the engine. Without Atlanta the rest of this state is a third world country.
I am all for public transportation, but the plan as put forth is just a bunch of junk trying to give someting to eveyone, it won’t pass as is.

GL Georgia

August 23rd, 2011
12:19 pm

@JJ – I totally agree.

T.A.

August 23rd, 2011
12:21 pm

See this is why sprawl does not work. The region let sprawl get out of control and along with too many counties and jurisdictions, I would not be surprised if this does not pass. I want to see transportation changes in Greater Atlanta. However, I am starting not to feel optimistic about where it is headed. The project list is still big on roads and the southside doesn’t get any rail, for example. There isn’t enough equity in the proposal and we’re still going with the “Car is King” culture. It’s time for Greater Atlanta to grow up and act like a true region if we’re going to be competitive with places like Dallas.

Tech '07

August 23rd, 2011
12:25 pm

It’s all a shell game. You can pay your one penny tax, or privatize everything and let private industry gouge you with usage fees that’ll be far more than that 1% since they can. They tried privatizing Atlanta water and the the city had to take it back and up prices since all private industry did was put band aids on and cyphon the profits.

In terms of Cobb, if you had bought into MARTA ages ago it wouldn’t be so hard to get you linked in now.

Cog in the Cog in the Cog in the Machine

August 23rd, 2011
12:27 pm

Senator Tippins hit the nail on the head. The problem Cobb County faces is severe congestion on I75 between I285 and the Wade Green Rd. exit. Drive down I75 south at about 3pm and look at the traffic headed north. Already a bottleneck, while inside the perimeter flows freely. The transit plan does nothing to address this.

Ghost Rider

August 23rd, 2011
12:29 pm

double:

“Ghost what you have not heard would fill lots of books.”

That is a true statement which applies to all of us. Tell me, though, if everything I don’t know was compiled in volumes of books, who would you get to read them to you?

The Snark

August 23rd, 2011
12:42 pm

Ah, hell, let’s just continue to do nothing about the traffic. That policy has served us well for the last forty years.

Cujo Bendi

August 23rd, 2011
12:46 pm

PTC Dawg, as a resident of Atlanta that moved the heck out of rural ga because of y’alls bass ackward mindset, I’m totally okay with the car-obsessed fat people of Fayetteville, Cobb, Henry, Clayton and Gwinnett being “donor” counties because over 250,000 commute into my city everyday to work. You clog up my our roads, use our infrastructure, and strain our police and fire department, etc.

Why Approve the Largest Tax Increase

August 23rd, 2011
12:51 pm

The Snark, actually until about 10 or more years ago we were very aggressive road builders. The region probably was one of the leaders in road building and we still had congestion. To much road building is what caused the problem buy subsidizing or promoting unsustainable development patterns, and this project list’s heavy focus on roads risks returning to those patterns.

PatDowns

August 23rd, 2011
12:52 pm

@ GAPeach
August 23rd, 2011
11:07 am

“The choices should be clear and voters should have a voice. They should not advocate holding the vote on T-SPLOST with the primary when voter turnout would be lower. Don’t the Republicans believe in democracy and the will of the voters?”

How is having the vote during the primaries taking away voters voices or an act of democracy denied? If it is really an issue they feel strongly about, then they can still get off their lazy butts and go vote – no matter when the referendum will be held. If they don’t vote, IT IS THEIR CHOICE, no? Quite simple.

Pompano

August 23rd, 2011
12:56 pm

Ok, @John gets the dunce award for playing the race card today. An example of a tiny brain sponging off the welfare state.

If you can’t articulate a reasonable opinion about a topic, you should avoid contributing.

PatDowns

August 23rd, 2011
12:58 pm

Yeah, 1 cent tax for “just” ten years. Look how the political and bureaucratic weasels got the GA 400 toll extended. Plus, I live in Fulton and already am paying for MARTA. Why the hell should anyone living in Fulton, and DeKalb for that matter, feel good about being double-taxed for transportation?

November 6, 2012

August 23rd, 2011
1:00 pm

TSPLOST is DOA, don’t see any chance of it passing, anywhere.

Food stamp recipients in Georgia have increased by 42 percent in the last two years, to 1.8 million recipients, reports Fox5 Atlanta.

Way to go Obummer……what a way to buy votes……you are a real bummer and “You’re outta here”

Larry

August 23rd, 2011
1:03 pm

People who say the transit projects only benefit the city of Atlanta are very short sighted. What you fail to realize is that, what’s good for the City of Atlanta is good for the region. Atlanta is the engine that makes the region, the state for that matter run. The more competitive the city is globally, the more businesses are attracted to the region as a whole. This bill does not solve all the regions problems, but it is a start. If you vote no, places like Charlotte, Denver, and Tampa will quickly surpass us economic hubs. We’ve done roads to death in this city. Roads are reactionary. Time for us to start planning for the future…and the future is transit and this tax is at least a start.

Smoke

August 23rd, 2011
1:06 pm

The Beltline project was in the works long before Reed became mayor. Some folks got it backwards because the fact was widely reported that Deal tagged behind Reed to Washington.

Double Zero Eight

August 23rd, 2011
1:11 pm

The SPLOST will be a waste of money, if it passes.
The road construction will be obsolete in 10 years.
Remember the “Freeing The Freeways” campaign of the Nineties.
There is too little rail construction in the plan to be of any significance. It is a joke that one of the fastest growing counties
that borders Fulton, is not included in the regional plan. This actually
could be a blessing for Forsyth County, if the 10 County Atlanta region passes its tax.

sliderule

August 23rd, 2011
1:26 pm

Perhaps the most important project for the northern arc of metro counties was (is) the Outer Perimeter that was blocked years ago. Georgia needs an outer perimeter, especially a northern arc, not some silly trolly line in Atlanta. Vote NO.