The ultimate odd couple: Roy Barnes, Glenn Richardson vs. Georgia Power

Former Gov. Roy Barnes, the ultimate Democrat, just confirmed that he has joined former House speaker Glenn Richardson, once the ultimate Republican, in a case against Georgia Power that will have a hearing in Fulton County Superior Court next Monday morning.

The lawsuit involves that surcharge approved in 2009 by the General Assembly, allowing Georgia Power to charge ratepayers in advance for some financing expenses related to the construction of two nuclear power plants.

“[Georgia Power] is charging sales tax on the finance surcharge and charging sales tax on the franchise tax paid to cities. You can’t charge sales tax on finance charges or on another tax. Looks to me there has been a $100 million overcharge,” Barnes wrote in a note this afternoon.

Politically, the two attorneys may be polar opposites. But they share geography. Richardson — who left the Legislature after passage of the Georgia Power surcharge in 2009 — still lives in Hiram. And Barnes, while he has a Marietta address, has a patch of ground in Paulding County where he raises prize-winning Herefords.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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39 comments Add your comment

Jon

March 16th, 2012
2:29 pm

They might be two of the most powerful politicians of recent years, but certainly even they are no match for almight SoCo.

Boogerhollar

March 16th, 2012
2:38 pm

This is not about the taxapyers , this is about two bloodsuckers looking for a large payday.

Insider

March 16th, 2012
2:52 pm

I guess it will take former politicians to explain how to remove a tax on a tax….

Richardson and Barnes should win this case!!

DannyX

March 16th, 2012
2:54 pm

“This is not about the taxapyers , this is about two bloodsuckers looking for a large payday.”

Right you are, Georgia Power and the Southern Company should be ashamed.

It’s not over yet though Boogerhollar, Georgia Power will now round up their huge team of lobbyists. There just may be enough time to get the legislators they own to pass a new law making the taxation legal. In fact as we type Georgia Power is probably writing the new bill.

[...] This should be interesting… [LEFT]The ultimate odd couple: Roy Barnes, Glenn Richardson vs. Georgia Power The ultimate odd couple: Roy Barnes, Glenn Richardson vs. Georgia Power | Political Insider[/LEFT] [...]

Jeff

March 16th, 2012
3:23 pm

If they were charging taxes that were not in fact taxes they paid to a legimate tax collecting body, the Justice Department should prosecute. This is not only wrong, it is illegal.

Jeff

March 16th, 2012
3:25 pm

DanX — Even the State legislature cannot pass a law for taxes to be paid to a private company.

Centrist

March 16th, 2012
3:28 pm

Do we care if two rich lawyer politicians get richer or Ga Power/Southern Co. profits more?

td posted here earlier this afternoon two blogs ago: “By the way you explain things then no Republican will ever have a chance to win another Presidential election.”

Little chance against an INCUMBENT that the media and the rest of the left adore, IF there isn’t either a charismatic Republican or overriding issues to overcome the left. I don’t see either of those (yet) in 2012 – but as you say, if Obama were to somehow be in trouble in Wisconsin ….

td

March 16th, 2012
3:30 pm

This is an excellent example to prove that any voter that would vote for an attorney to represent them in any political office is really not concerned about themselves at all.

DannyX

March 16th, 2012
3:33 pm

“Even the State legislature cannot pass a law for taxes to be paid to a private company.”

No problem, they will just call it something else. Recovery Surcharge Fee?

Ned

March 16th, 2012
3:34 pm

Stan Wise is already shedding crocodile tears at the prospect of Georgia Power having to give up some of the ill-gotten gains he promoted from his perch on the Public Utilities Commission.

td

March 16th, 2012
3:34 pm

DannyX

March 16th, 2012
3:33 pm

Or they will call the tax a penalty for not purchasing an insurance policy.

RonD

March 16th, 2012
3:35 pm

Georgia Power has been charging sales tax on the municipal franchise fee and environmental compliance cost fee for years. They charged sales tax on the nuclear construction cost fee as soon as it began. I think Barnes and Richardson should win this suit and Ga Power should be made to refund these taxes to the customers. (And I don’t think that Georgia Power should be able to charge us a fee to fund nuclear construction in advance. They should have to sell bonds to do it!)

DannyX

March 16th, 2012
3:35 pm

“Centrist” @ 3:28, what on earth are you babbling about?

Tellit

March 16th, 2012
3:41 pm

If the tax is recovered it will have to come back from the state and cities. GaPwr does not keep the tax they collect.

DannyX

March 16th, 2012
3:43 pm

“Or they will call the tax a penalty for not purchasing an insurance policy.”

Exactly. Case in point Massachusetts, Romneycare. Gov Mitt Romney signed a bill that does exactly that. Then the Democrats stole the Republican idea and we now have Robamneycare.

Of course the Republicans here in Georgia are worse, they concocted the perverted socialist Georgia Power prepay scam.

ugadawg2005

March 16th, 2012
3:47 pm

td – Obama, Romney and Santorum all have law degrees. Who are you going to vote for in November?

Lawyers make the best politicians because they understand the law and the ramifications of what they are passing. They know what is likely to be upheld as constitutional and what is likely to be unconstitutional. They know how the craft the language of the law to meet the spirit and purpose of the law. Nonlawyers in the legislature screw this stuff up.

Bobby

March 16th, 2012
3:49 pm

This is a perfect example of the uselessness of the PSC. The PSC has become nothing more than the supportive arm of Georgia Power in increasing fees to GP customers. Not to mention the law firm of Troutman Sanders that helps Georgia Power figure out ways to raise fees on Georgia Power customers and lobbying against Georgia Consumers in the Georgia Legislature.

td

March 16th, 2012
4:04 pm

ugadawg2005

March 16th, 2012
3:47 pm

We would not have to have 3000 page bills written in a way that no lay person could understand if it were not for lawyers. We are way to much of a legalistic country that are costing us up to 10% of our GDP every year.

Hillbilly D

March 16th, 2012
4:21 pm

Why have Barnes and Richardson joined forces? What’s 30% of $100 million? I hope they succeed, though.

GaBlue

March 16th, 2012
4:21 pm

The citizens of Georgia are being forced — by edict of corporate-owned government personnel — to become capital investors in the future endeavors of a private company. This special “arrangement” does not, however, work both ways. There will be no dividends paid on the investment. Furthermore, any power generated by these citizen-funded private plants will be sold back to the same citizens at a premium rate. Well, except for all the Grandmas and Grandpas out there, who are paying Georgia Power now for future energy they will not live long enough to purchase.

That they put a tax on top of these extortion charges is not “overcharging,” it’s double extortion. It’s nice to know SOMEBODY in this corrupt-as-it-is-hot-in-August state is actually standing up for the people — for a change! Dare I say it? Wooo-HOOO!

RonD

March 16th, 2012
4:23 pm

@Tellit – right you are about the taxes having to come back from the state.

@Bobby – I agree 100% with you about the PSC. The PSC will disregard the recommendations of its own advisory staff and vote against the interest of the consumer and in favor of Ga Power.

DannyX

March 16th, 2012
4:32 pm

“Centrist” – “Do we care if two rich lawyer politicians get richer or Ga Power/Southern Co. profits more?”

So you think it’s a okay for Georgia Power to overcharge their customers $100 million? You’re attitude is who cares? It’s okay to steal from your customers?

$100 million is still a lot of money, if this were a tax you would be going on and on promoting your “Taxed Enough Already Party.”

I bet you also think Enron was a great company.

DannyX

March 16th, 2012
4:36 pm

“$100 million is still a lot of money, if this were a tax you would be going on and on promoting your “Taxed Enough Already Party.”

CORRECTION: $100 million is still a lot of money, if this were a LEGAL tax you would be going on and on promoting your “Taxed Enough Already Party.”

and soon

March 16th, 2012
4:49 pm

those x3 rates kick in for the summer months. You either pay the high rates in the summer OR you can pay a flat fee of lets say, $200 a month for 12 months…When your bill in Jan,Feb and March may go as high as $65.00. They “get ya” either way baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

honested

March 16th, 2012
5:39 pm

Just to digress for a moment, if the rapacious monthly charge had been immediately put to financing and installing solar roofs, it would ALREADY be generating power.
There would be no 20 year lead, no hopeful projections to stay in budget and no probability the power generated would be too expensive to purchase.

Get ‘em Roy!

sirwinston19

March 16th, 2012
5:42 pm

It just goes to tell everyone that these companies tries to get rich from more taxes from us to support what they are doing. the plant has nothing to do with private citizens; we were not in on the action nor had any say…..let GP fund their own work and keep taxes from us out of it. This another way we as citizen get charge for things we have no control over. I thin GP has this figure in all of those years this mess has been on the table. And those who permitted GP to move forth and get tax payers involved needs to be fired. We are not paying for a private company job they use for their own gains.

Rabbit

March 16th, 2012
5:52 pm

TD
It’s shameful for you to put down the entire legal profession. No, it shows an ignorance of the freedom experiment. Of the 55 delegates to the constitutional convention, 35 were lawyers or had legal training.

‘The importance of lawyers in the contemporary society cannot be overemphasized. The Latin adage that man is a wolf to man gives the tip of what the world would have become in the absence lawyers. Lawyers are agents of peace and order in the society. In the actual sense no society can exist without lawyers.’

Jason

March 16th, 2012
6:00 pm

Surprisingly sales tax does not always go to the taxing authority. Often the entity collecting the sales tax is allowed to keep a percentage. This is under the theory that it costs them money to collect, handle, and remit the taxes to the taxing authority so they’re entitled to keep a cut to cover their costs, regardless of what those actual costs might be. Sometimes entities get the entire sales tax kicked back to the in the name of economic development. In return for building a store/attraction in the tax authority’s borders, the authority agrees to give sales tax collected to the entity for a certain period of time. So when you think your sales tax is being used to fund the local school, it can instead be used to refund the store for the cost of building in your town instead of the next one over.

I don’t know if either of these scenarios apply to Southern Company but I mention them since most believe that sales taxes are always given to the government, which simply isn’t always the case.

Hillbilly D

March 16th, 2012
6:05 pm

Jason

Good point.

Jeff

March 16th, 2012
6:12 pm

Not entirely true Jason. The tax has to be collected for a taxing entity. They must be reported in the entire amount collected. Private companies cannot legally tax on their own. If Georgia Power is collecting taxes and not reporting and remitting, they are violating the law.

Bob Loblaw

March 16th, 2012
6:28 pm

Can’t tax a tax! And a recovery of a “financing cost” is expressly excluded from sales taxes in the Tax Code. Nice work, Glenn. Way to get back in the world of helping Georgians out. Not a bad partner for the case, either.

Honest Abe

March 16th, 2012
7:52 pm

Why did the Former Speaker allow a vote on this if he didn’t agree with it? Thought it was a ripoff to consumers?

Cynthia

March 16th, 2012
8:33 pm

Correct Jeff. But they can get it via a refund/credit which is how they dole out money to companies via a tax expenditure. If they collected it from their customer I do not beleive they can keep it unless they also refund their customer. I had a consulting company do a refund for my business but they had me fill out some forms and provide examples to show I refunded customers.

Oldtimer

March 16th, 2012
8:46 pm

Doesn’t the State of Geogia charge tax on gasoline taxes?

Buckhead Boy

March 16th, 2012
8:53 pm

Jason is indeed correct about the vendor’s compensation for collecting Sales Tax. In this instance, it would be a deduct of 3% of the first $100,000 and .5% thereafter of State Sales Tax remitted timely for the reporting period. For State Tax on motor fuel sales and local Tax it can be somewhat different.

Michael

March 17th, 2012
6:13 am

@ Boogerhollar – PLEASE come to my law office so I can rip you off. Bring lots of money.

Edward Ruffin

March 17th, 2012
8:51 am

I don’t like Roy “King Rat”, or Glenn R., but I like Ga. Power even less, therefore I offer my best wishes to Mr. Barnes and Mr. Richardson.

Chip

March 17th, 2012
3:12 pm

That dumbass, drunken, adulterer Ben Harbin was the corrupt dirt bag that made sure Georgia Power could screw the people with their surcharge. Georgia Power has to have the tax to keep him liquored up and supplied with women.