Transportation sales tax effort implodes

Gov. Nathan Deal’s push to move the date of next year’s transportation sales tax vote imploded late Wednesday.

Attached to the end of a notice that Deal had signed House and Senate redistricting plans:

The governor today reached a joint decision with House and Senate leadership to suspend further consideration of legislation to move the date for T-SPLOST referendum.

“We’ve had a healthy debate on the T-SPLOST referendum date here at the Gold Dome,” Deal said. “I’m a supporter of the referendum, and I believe it’s important to job creation and economic development throughout Georgia. I further believe that it is a sound conservative principle to allow as many taxpayers as possible to participate in this important decision. Our time during this special session, however, is precious, and it’s now obvious that it will take too much time to reach a consensus on changing the date. It’s best for taxpayers that we not let this special session drag on. Redistricting was our priority, and we have delivered a great product.”

So in January, we’ll have a full-fledged donnybrook between the two most powerful entities now existing in the Republican party: The state chambers of commerce, and the tea party.

My AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin has more details here.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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77 comments Add your comment

Skram30082

August 24th, 2011
8:15 pm

In theory, I support the concept of the T-SPLOST. However, I can’t help but feel like our elected representatives are passing the buck. Rather than passing a bill to raise the gas tax and dedicate the funds from that increase to solving traffic/transit woes, they window-dress their support for the T-SPLOST, all the while planning their “the voters have spoken” speeches when the T-SPLOST is defeated.

Sometimes government needs to drag the people (kicking and screaming) to a solution that they just might appreciate.

We elected these nuts to do a job, and it’s not easy, but that’s what they are there for.

Centrist

August 24th, 2011
8:17 pm

Easy call for me which side I’ll be on since Taxed Enough Already is what those party initials stand for.

Wondering

August 24th, 2011
8:20 pm

Skram: Nailed it on the head. If we want the masses ruling the state, make propositions legal and rename the state California. We have a republic for a reason and these clowns are booting it by kicking the can to a T-SPLOST. When the city dies due to an inability to handle its traffic, they will say it was the public’s will. In the mean time we build rural roads to nowhere with our scarce gas tax money.

Johns Creek Outsider

August 24th, 2011
8:22 pm

I find it HILARIOUS that the Tea Party sent out a press release hailing the compromise when no compromise existed. They were listening soley to the Governor’s Office without any confirmation from House or Senate leaders. Great job, Julianne.

Cherokee

August 24th, 2011
8:22 pm

I agree Skram – we pay these jokers to make tough decisions – they should have approved an increase in the gas tax a long time ago, with proceeds to be used on infrastructure.

bug

August 24th, 2011
8:27 pm

Again you have accomplished POOR reporting. The transportation sales tax as written gives 25% of the tax to the counties to go into their general fund.

Georgia has very poor news reporting along with the rest of the United States.

double

August 24th, 2011
8:34 pm

Is centrist and mugwump the same?

Centrist

August 24th, 2011
8:35 pm

@ bug – that sure makes me feel better. The Transportation – Special Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST) is neither special or all for the bloated boondoggle list, but a hidden .25% County tax increase.

Centrist

August 24th, 2011
8:37 pm

Is double and SPUSA the same?

Atlmom

August 24th, 2011
8:39 pm

Really – with gas taxes this high, there was NO NEED to raise taxes on gas. The gas tax is already a percentage of the gas price, so they have been making out like bandits the last few years.
I totally and completely agree with you skram. We elect these people to LEAD. So lead. Sometimes what we WANT isn’t good for us (I want a train, though. So I don’t have to drive ever again. I know some people around here love their cars, but really, I hate mine. Y’all can drive, I’ll take the train!).

double

August 24th, 2011
8:44 pm

Centrist when you look upon the mountain,what do you see?Then what are your thoughts?

td

August 24th, 2011
8:44 pm

Deal is showing his RINO side again on this issue. The CoC needs to stop trying create special taxes for their interest by putting these issues on the ballot when they can control the outcomes or some of us on the conservative side is going to get POed.

Centrist

August 24th, 2011
8:54 pm

double, be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.

double

August 24th, 2011
9:01 pm

SPLOST in my opinion is one of most fair tax.As all taxes just never ends.

Michael

August 24th, 2011
9:08 pm

Bet you Jawjans will vote YES on the next SPLOST for a library or some such. You all tax the hell out of yourselves every time a SPLOST is on the ballot yet scream if the politicians want to raise taxes. Since those votes are 100% for SPLOST, I guess that means you are all for taxing others. Feel free to continue to ignore your blatant hypocrisy.

MiltonMan

August 24th, 2011
9:11 pm

I don’t care when they put it on the ballot. I will be voting HELL NO!

shirley

August 24th, 2011
9:24 pm

I agree time is valuable. So is money for infrastrucure improvements whether for transit, water system and bridge repairs valuable. 40 years is way too long to wait for major investment in regional transportation infrastructure. As I learned with the city’s water system the repairs just get more costly the longer you wait. Leadership on tough, costly infrastructure issues is as precious as gold. Clean air is more valuable than gold.

Angus

August 24th, 2011
9:41 pm

OK so the TSPLOST just got dealt a potential, final nail in the coffin.

Anybody working on Plan B yet?

Tondalaya

August 24th, 2011
9:45 pm

“Gov. Nathan Deal’s push to move the date of next year’s transportation sales tax vote…”

Gov. Deal seems to be in a big hurry to get his hands on this sales tax money. I was initially in favor of it, but his overzealousness is giving me second thoughts.

double

August 24th, 2011
9:54 pm

Yep,freeloaders pay splost same as responsible.

Alex

August 24th, 2011
10:11 pm

Georgia entered the 20th century because forward thinking leaders (Ivan Allen among them) made Atlanta the transportation hub of the south. It was a corporate backed, government driven policy that literally paved the way for most of you to come here.
Today’s leaders, supported by an obtuse electorate, are as regressive in their thinking as the bright stars of the last century were progressive.
It is instructive that the buzz word pushers have even turned the word , progressive into a negative.

To the “taxed enough already” guy, if you think Georgia will be prosperous without transportation reform, here’s your sign.

Centrist

August 24th, 2011
10:14 pm

Remember that abortive regular legislative session attempt at rejiggering the tax system? It will return along with TSPLOST rationalization next January.

No doubt a little tax rate cut for big sales tax increases that will be billed revenue neutral with lots of accounting gimmicks. Legislators learned their lesson not to let an independent accounting get ahead of their smoke and mirrors.

SAWB

August 24th, 2011
10:29 pm

I am actually starting to get excited about next year’s elections since we get to vote NO when it comes to tax dollars for corrupt politicians. If you guys want to extend MARTA or build that stupid bohemian boondoggle beltline than get some money back that you have wasted over the last few decades. As to the fact that a NO vote means an end to growth in the Metro Area – well good. Growth makes politicians like Jackson, Young, Franklin, Deal and others rich, but just makes the average person’s life more difficult.

debbie dooley

August 24th, 2011
10:59 pm

Johns Creek Outsider , which MARTA Republican Legislator are you? We had talked to someone that worked in the state senate and they said the deal was done. Also, Gov. Deal had enough confidence to make an official statement there was a done deal. We kinda figure after we sent out our email, school board members would be horrified and call Speaker Ralston’s and Rep. Jan Jones office and ask they kill the deal – which they did. The tea party got exactly what they wanted.. I am horrified that some Republican elected officials want to turn to Obama Democrats for help in passing the largest tax increase in Georgia history…

Centrist

August 24th, 2011
11:05 pm

Just imagine what proposed tax increases would be if the TEA Party wasn’t so successful.

The Ghost of Lester Maddox

August 24th, 2011
11:29 pm

Hmm…interesting how you allow blogging after this story, but NO BLOGGING after John Lewis loses part of Buckhead in the new Cong. Maps.

I am not convince that he lays awake at night worrying about Buckhead, but I AM SURE that he hates losing that Buckhead campaign money that will now go to Gingrey.

Ole Guy

August 25th, 2011
12:17 am

This TSPLOST money, contrary to the apparent thoughts of civic “leaders”, is NOT Monopoly money; it is not intended to fund so-called pet projects, but to be directed toward the “biggest bang for the buck” projects.

Running a rail line between two major points on the map which are currently served by bus routes is nothing short of ludicrous. The current north/south east/west MARTA rail system is probably the smartest thing this region has ever done to address auto traffic conditions, yet, on my two-to-three times a month ride to/from the airport, one continues to see miles upon miles of single-occupant vehicles sitting in stalled congestion. Transferring from train to CCT, one continues to observe the very same apparent aversion to public trans.

Virtually every metro area in the U.S. employs public trans on massive scales, yet this self-annointed “world class city” seems to shun this mode of transportation.

Before we start building more unnecessary rail lines, lets address the major challenges, like “convincing” the public. Build more toll stations. When the public has a choice between public trans and the “convenience” of toll roads and $5.00/gal gas, these idiot hicks just might start making responsible choices.

daddo

August 25th, 2011
12:34 am

Here is a point nobody ever makes. If the corporate and business community wants to raise taxes for transportation on me and you, what are THEY prepared to raise to pay THEIR fair share? What is their part? Crickets.

SAWB

August 25th, 2011
12:52 am

Ole Guy:
What’s up with all this social engineering? I mean why can’t you just leave people alone and let them do what they want instead of trying to force them to do what you think they should? If you want to ride the train fine if I want to drive why in the world should your care?

Leave other people alone to make their own choices and you make yours. If you want to give more money to MARTA than I am sure they will take your check first thing tomorrow morning. Personally I prefer to put my money to other uses and guess what I should be free to do just that.

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Buckhead Boy

August 25th, 2011
5:20 am

Some of my Republican friends are really disturbed by all of this. They feel betrayed, and that you are forgetting your place. To here them tell it: We have a compact with these people. If we need government to promote our interest, they must pay for that through regressive taxation on themselves. In return, we pander to their prejudiced, Bible-thumping, gun-toting existence. We’re the moneyed class. They can’t really expect us to pay inheritance tax or much in the way of capital gains or corporate tax. Don’t they recognize that we have a duty to our class to get the “progressive” out of income tax? If not, haven’t we told them over and over again that “progressive” and everything else that is bad for us is really evil for them? All that pandering, and now they may not even vote as we expect. Maybe the “southern strategy” isn’t working out too well for us after all.

ByteMe

August 25th, 2011
5:20 am

I am horrified that some Republican elected officials want to turn to Obama Democrats for help

and there’s your sign about how supposedly “non-partisan” the tea freaks are. Just the crazy Republican base with a silly name.

Whitney O'Keeffe

August 25th, 2011
5:43 am

I was ready to vote no on this matter then, last week, heard a talk on the subject. The speaker said that if the vote fails the projects will be done anyhow and funds will come from other taxing sources. Seems to me that the sales tax is the best way since everyone pays rather than a few of us. Let’s take our medicine (eat our peas) and select the lesser of the evils.

debbie dooley

August 25th, 2011
6:08 am

Byteme, I just quoted Rep. Davis with the Black Legislative Caucus. He said the GOP wanted to rely on Obama Democrats to pass T-SPLOST. We have been critical of both Democrats and Republicans equally. One of the tenants of the GOP platform has been no taxes. Gov. Deal campaigned that he would not support tax increases and so did Speaker Ralston. They are both campaigning on behalf of the largest tax increase in Georgia history.

Clinton "Skink" Tyree

August 25th, 2011
7:09 am

There is an intellectually challenged element that thinks all you have to do is cut taxes to spur jobs and economic development; but studies show that businesses tend to locate in areas with there is excellent transportation and educational opportunities — both of which our esteemed politicians tend to disregard as evidenced by their funding decisions.

Support the Tea Party: Racing Toward the Twentieth Century!

Open Mind

August 25th, 2011
7:30 am

Squawking endlessly about the “largest tax increase in Georgia history” is just a buzz word scare tactic by the fringe right. The proper question that any true fiscal conservative should be asking is what do we get as a return on this massive investment? It’s not as if these tax dollars just disappear in a puff of smoke – actual projects will be built that may position Atlanta to compete better in the national and global marketplaces. The verdict is still out on what the return on investment will actually be, so I’m still waiting on more information on what benefits the project list will provide. Anybody who has already made up their mind for or against the tax is doing so for raw ideological reasons, not based on the facts (many of which stilla aren’t available).

Being a fiscal conservative means more than just reflexively opposing all taxes. It means expecting value for your investment, demanding accountability and transparency from our government, and having a willingness to expend money when it’s reasonable to expect that it will pay a suitable dividend in the foreseeable future. Under that definition, the TEA party crowd is not comprised of fiscal conservatives, just self-absorbed nuts prancing around in silly hats, waving cheap flags and trying to boil down extraordinarily complex issues into position statements that will fit on a bumper sticker.

Bill Orvis White

August 25th, 2011
8:00 am

All these SPLOSTS are jobs-killers. Companies and good folks don’t want to pay for stupid boondoggles like these. Let the free market$ and the free market$ say we need more roads to move the vehicles that WE THE PEOPLE choose to operate, pure and simple. I’m working hard with fellow Tea Party activists throughout the fruited plain to STOP these stupid SPLOSTS and other draconian taxe$.
Amen,
Bill

Centrist

August 25th, 2011
8:11 am

@ Open Mind – Many tax payers (investors) want to diversify their portfolios. Their investment advisors (politicians) always push them to “invest” more in the way of taxes, because of their commissions. More and more of these taxpayers are saying they need to self direct some of their investments.

ByteMe

August 25th, 2011
8:19 am

the TEA party crowd is not comprised of fiscal conservatives, just self-absorbed nuts prancing around in silly hats, waving cheap flags and trying to boil down extraordinarily complex issues into position statements that will fit on a bumper sticker.

+10

And, debbie, you can’t fool us with the “we criticize both the same” nonsense. You support Republicans even with their own obvious ethical issues (Graves, Deal). You are the Republican base dressed up with funny hats and dumbed-down-for-the-fools platitudes that mean little when exposed to reality.

Ayn Rand Took Social Security

August 25th, 2011
8:20 am

I don’t understand. Aren’t the Republicans the party who wants the citizens to be responsible for their own decisions? If I screw up, shouldn’t I be the one to pay the price for it? Why should someone else pay for my poor decisions? Isn’t that the main precept of the Republican Party?

Why should I, a taxpayer, pay for someone else’s decision to stay in Atlanta and their need to spend gazillions of dollars building roads to drive to and from work? I moved out of that cesspool 20 years ago for lower pay and a shorter commute. If Atlanta needs new roads to get their citizens to work quicker, let them pay for it with a SPECIAL TAX ON FUEL. Why should the entire state pay for their needs with a sales tax? If I need roads out in the hinderlands, let me pay for it with a SPECIAL TAX ON FUEL that I use. If Atlanta drivers spend more on gas, they must need more roads and need to pay the bulk of the tax. The more fuel you use, the more you pay. Isn’t that one of the main precepts of the Republican Party? Or are you guys just like the Democrats you despise? You know take from everybody else and give to those “other people?” HYPOCRITES!!

Reality Check

August 25th, 2011
8:32 am

The TEA Party has always said they are conservative. What am I missing here? Of course they are going to be for the Republican party 99% percent of the time because the Dems are only represented by entitlement lovers and big government. Tom Graves might have had a failed business but he has not done anything corrupt while working for the people.

Not sure how this is so hard to understand. Maybe the Dems should try a different track.

On a different note, everything I am hearing is the House folded and the Governor and the Senate stood strong. The sad part is the House leadership are a bunch of moderates who haven’t passed a government spending bill or an abortion bill in 10 years. Maybe their members will wake up and elect some conservatives over in the House.

Debbie Dooley

August 25th, 2011
8:38 am

Reality Check , right on!!

Morrus

August 25th, 2011
8:45 am

Skram at 8:15 yesterday did get it right. This state is eat up with incompetence and spineless bureaucrats. People are leaving this state because of it. I know I know, most of you don’t care but you should. If all that is left are the spineless and stupid.

ByteMe

August 25th, 2011
8:48 am

Tom Graves might have had a failed business but he has not done anything corrupt while working for the people.

Reality Check hasn’t checked with Reality lately. Perhaps he thinks that Graves response to the bank wanting their money back from that failed hotel business — which was “they should never have lent it to me in the first place because they knew I couldn’t pay it back” — is the height of ethics on Graves’ part. If so, that would be a sad “Reality”.

The TEA party is not conservatives in any sense I’m aware. They are authoritarians, (small L) libertarians, nut jobs. In other words, the Republican base.

honested

August 25th, 2011
8:50 am

Well this suggests it is time for the TeaPotties to step up to the plate and admit the fallacy in their misguided philosophy.
We need transportation improvements (roads, bridges, light and heavy rail) and our traditional way to pay for it is a FUEL CONSUMPTION TAX.
Raise the tax to a level commensurate with modern reality and current fuel costs (about 2 and 1/2 times it’s current paltry rate) and focus on STATE projects rather than these invented ‘regions’.
This whole project seems to have been nothing but a way to fund the various levels of consultants while new projects were developed. The likelihood that enough of the affected counties would pass the sales tax to really make a difference was always very slim. That the only multi-modal, fully functional public transportation system in the State was completely overlooked when planning this fiasco points to the narrow minded, ‘anti-Atlanta’ bigotry of the current House and Senate majority.

Keep it up, soon we may even be the laughingstock for Alabama.

honested

August 25th, 2011
8:53 am

reality check

Where do you go to check on what you view as reality?

‘The house hasn’t passed a spending bill or an abortion bill in 10 years’.

What’s next in pointless exercises? Do you want them to tackle fugitive slave statutes or do you accept that that issue is settled law?

Alex

August 25th, 2011
8:56 am

WHOA. This is interesting. someone writes that it’s good if Atlanta doesn’t grow because all that does is make politicians and others richer – that the little guy benefits none. Later, the same someone (SAWB) speaks of “social engineering.” So which is it -anti capitalist or anti socialist?

DannyX

August 25th, 2011
8:57 am

“Tom Graves might have had a failed business but he has not done anything corrupt while working for the people.”

The Tea Party is great. They developed a brand new economic system. It creates jobs. Just go to a “We The Peoples Bank” and sign yourself up for a 2 million dollar loan. No pesky government regulations, no collateral, no nothing. Just sign on the dotted line. Then spend, spend, spend and stimulate the economy. After you spend don’t worry about paying the 2 million back. That’s the beauty of the new Tea Party loan, the terms are fantastic.

Hissy Fit

August 25th, 2011
8:58 am

Debbie Dooley: to say that Jan Jones is a MARTA Republican is laughable. Go back and read AJC during the time of the votes. It was Jan that would not budge on the amendment allowing MARTA to ease up on their 50/50 split. It is comments like this that give you no authority what so ever.

Auntie

August 25th, 2011
9:06 am

Measure this syllogism:
If there is no transportation reform (including public transportation to offset the cost of the heavily subsidized automobile), then real estate prices in ALL of Georgia will remain flat or continue to decline for the next 20 to 50 years.
“Oh, dear grandchild, we didn’t know. Back in the early part of the century, society stopped thinking for themselves and a band of opportunists convinced them that living in a governed society was evil and we just believed them and voted against our best interest when it was so obviously wrong to do.” Grandpa, 2030