A circular thought worth pondering when it comes to the intersection of redistricting and the move to shift next year’s transportation sales tax vote:
– Many Democrats in the Legislature have pulled their support for moving the date of the ’12 transit tax vote because of the GOP decision to seek dominance of local legislation affecting Fulton and other Democratically controlled counties by packing the local delegations. In the Senate, Republicans sliced Fulton into 11 pieces in order to assure themselves of a 7-4 majority.
– Democrats say that such packing amounts to a dilution of African-American voting power, but it is a largely untested area for litigation. Republicans dismiss objections as nonsense, because local legislative delegations are merely advisory in nature. The U.S. Justice Department doesn’t concern itself with window-dressing.
– Because Democrats have pulled their support from the T-SPLOST shift, Republicans in the Capitol will need all the votes their caucuses can muster. They have caved to a tea party demand that all SPLOST votes in Georgia – whether for schools, roads or local government operations – be held every other year, as part of November general elections.
The one exception: A local legislative delegation would be allowed to grant a waiver that would allow cities, counties or school boards to hold sales tax votes at other points in the calendar.
In other words, Republicans are about to give local legislative delegations a measure of real power based in state law – which they say does not now exist. Just in time for a federal lawsuit.
This is a head-scratcher.
Updated at 2 p.m.: Mitch Seabaugh, R-Sharpsburg, chairman of the Senate Reapportionment Committee, just called to say that there is no contradiction.
When giving a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to referendums held outside a November general election. local delegations would still be officially operating in a mere advisory capacity, Seabaugh said. Moving the vote off that date would still require passage of a measure by both the House and Senate.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider