Your morning jolt: GOP convention silent on transportation sales tax

Some things, in some places, are better left unsaid.

Gov. Nathan Deal is sticking his neck out for the July 31 transportation sales tax, in speeches and fundraisers. As noted by the Saporta Report:

On [Wednesday], Deal is inviting business and civic leaders to the home of Jennifer and Tom Bell in Buckhead to a reception aimed at raising campaign dollars to help get the tax passed in the 11 regions outside of metro Atlanta.

The goal is to raise a total of $4.5 million among the regions for a grass-roots campaign in favor of the transportation sales tax. So far, the Connect Georgia campaign has raised between $2.5 million and $3 million, according to Chris Clark, president of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

But more than a few Republicans at the state convention in Columbus noticed that, as Deal listed the accomplishments of his administration to the conservative crowd, the governor gave no mention to the Transportation Investment Act.

Deal was booed by the crowd last year, and apparently wasn’t eager to repeat the experience. But come to think of it, not a single person on the GOP stage gave a mention to the transportation referendums – either for or against.

Except for those lapel stickers in opposition, the issue didn’t exist in Columbus.

***
After his welcome to the state GOP convention, Johnny Isakson – interviewed backstage – said he’s not tempted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s musings that the U.S. Senate would be better off if it corralled the filibuster.

Even though Republicans have a good shot at taking control of the chamber in November. Said Isakson:

”I learned a long time ago, when you start trying to think about the future, and you scheme – thinking that you know what’s going to happen, you make a mistake.

“We have a history in the U.S. Senate of having a cloture rule – 60 votes. It used to be 67. Sixty votes to close debates and vote on pieces of legislation. It was designed to make sure that the minority at least still had a voice. Early on in the Obama administration they could beat cloture – after the 2010 election we got back to way over 41.

“As frustrating as it is when you’re in the majority, and I’ve been majority, to have the minority keep a vote from coming up, it also gives them leverage to negotiate a position. Having worked with it for eight years, six years in the minority, two years in the majority, I think it serves a good purpose. It keeps runaway government from taking place.”

***
The most important item to come out of the 2012 state GOP convention may be the strong ballot issues that will now be put before Georgia Republican primary voters on July 31. Below are the questions, as they will be worded:

1. Should Georgia have casino gambling with funds going to education?

2. Do you support ending the current practice of unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators by imposing a $100 cap on such gifts?

3. Should active duty military personnel who are under the age of 21 be allowed to obtain a Georgia weapons license?

4. Should Citizens who wish to vote in a primary election be required to register by their political party affiliation at least thirty (30) days prior to such primary election?

5. Should the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the paramount right to life is vested in each innocent human being from his or her earliest biological beginning without regard to age, race, sex, health, function, or condition of dependency?

***
When it comes to ethics, you’ll notice that the ballot question is more specific than the resolution approved by GOP convention delegates:

Whereas: Republicans believe that public service is a respected and honorable call and;

Whereas: Republicans have always expected high ethical standards for those in elected office and;

Whereas: Georgia elected Republicans have made substantial and continuous reforms in Georgia Ethics laws since becoming the majority party and;

Whereas: Special or extravagant gratuities and considerations extended to those in elected office can encumber and hinder objective and ethical policy making; and

Whereas: Georgia is still one of only a few states with no cap on gifts to elected officials;

Therefore let it be resolved that: The Georgia Republican Party urges the Georgia General Assembly to introduce additional ethics reform legislation as relating to a reasonable cap on gifts to elected officials from lobbyists in the upcoming 2013 Session.

***
The size of a gaffe can often be measured by the speed in which a politician attempts to unsay what has been said. And Newark Mayor Cory Booker — very, very quickly — attempted to spin his Sunday appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” in which he said he was “nauseated” by the Barack Obama campaign’s attack on Bain Capital:

***
The New York Times today explains the strong bond that has quickly developed between political strategists and Super PACs:

In the insular but fast-growing world of super PACs and other independent outfits, there are no cranky candidates, no scheduling conflicts, no bitter strategy debates with rival advisers. There are only wealthy donors and the consultants vying to oblige them.

***
In Sunday’s Florida Times Union, U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, pitched his solution for a redistricting process that has nearly eliminated partisan competition in Congress:

State-level efforts throughout the country seek to take the partisanship out of redistricting by establishing nonpartisan commissions to draw districts to represent the will of the people — not just the major political parties.

The American people want those of us in Washington to accomplish the same basic goals: Stop spending more money than we take in. Help people provide for and educate their families. And keep all Americans safe.

If our nation is going to get what the majority wants, people need a way to vote for it. But we’ll never get what we want if the districts our representatives run in have been rigged so as to produce leaders who would rather fight than cooperate.

***
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s statement that the recent distribution of $3 billion worth of airport vending contracts was the “most open and transparent procurement process in the city’s history.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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43 comments Add your comment

Tom

May 21st, 2012
9:23 am

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Yes
4. Undecided
5. No

[...] Jim Galloway notes in this morning’s Jolt, there was little discussion of T-SPLOST at the GOP convention this weekend.  Kyle Wingfield has a [...]

Double Zero Eight

May 21st, 2012
9:53 am

I guess “silence is golden” when it comes
to making tough decisions. Most politicians
in Georgia “speak softly” and carry “little sticks”,
versus “speaking softly and carrying big sticks”

They refuse to make the tough decisions which is
why they left it up to the public regarding Sunday
alcohol sales.

They are spineless witht the exception of fighting
to retain the status quo for lobbying.

Shar

May 21st, 2012
10:02 am

1, No
2, Yes
3, Yes
4, No
5, No

Re Number 5, the wording is, of course, not just absurdly biased but wrong. The proposal’s Christian Right sponsors should know full well that the fundamental Christian belief of original sin is imparted at the instant of conception and is crucial to the notions of both the innate sinfulness of Man and of Jesus’ virgin conception and thus exception from original sin and dual human/divine nature. Therefore, life in utero is not “innocent” to Christians, but already sinful.

The lack of any mention of the TSPLOST is indeed interesting. I wonder how many Republican political donors in the developer/bond financing/construction/paving industries had to be told that their bought-and-paid-for pols couldn’t admit to supporting it in public despite their already-purchased support behind closed doors.

td

May 21st, 2012
10:02 am

1. NO

2. NO

3. YES

4. NO

5. YES

hiram

May 21st, 2012
10:03 am

“…Deal listed the accomplishments of his administration to the conservative crowd, the governor gave no mention to the Transportation Investment Act.”

This is a signal that Deal is planning on a second term at the taxpayers’ feed trough. Life is good when you can dismantle all oversight.

double

May 21st, 2012
10:10 am

No-no-no-yes- yes.

butch hagert

May 21st, 2012
10:11 am

Wingfield On T-SPLOST & Plan B

May 21st, 2012
10:19 am

[...] Jim Galloway notes in this morning’s Jolt, there was little discussion of T-SPLOST at the GOP convention this weekend.  Kyle Wingfield has a [...]

Real Athens

May 21st, 2012
10:24 am

The development/transportation (read road building) industry has owned politics in this state time immemorial. It has mattered not which party was in control. I urge the Fourth Estate to keep an eye on the Connect Georgia campaign and its dollars.

1) No
2) Yes
3) No (too vague, a teenager can already get a hunting license. What kind of weapon?)
4) No (NON-PARTISAN ELECTIONS) Take the parties out of politics.
5) No

Cutty

May 21st, 2012
10:25 am

So TD would like the legislature to keep getting unlimited gifts/perks from lobbyists and companies doing business with the state? That says a lot, and not much at all at the same time.

td

May 21st, 2012
10:34 am

Cutty

May 21st, 2012
10:25 am

No it means I believe in the voters to determine what is in the best interest of themselves and to determine if their elected representative is doing what they want and is being moral enough for them. I never want an unelected bureaucracy or an elected majority to be able to determine the fate of a legally elected person.

yuzeyurbrane

May 21st, 2012
10:40 am

Spineless wonders. Transportation improvements can be handled through the normal legislative process but these guys are total cowards. By the way, Plan B is the normal legislative process.

Cutty

May 21st, 2012
10:41 am

Well like I said, “that says a lot and not much at the same time.”

[...] Your morn­ing jolt: GOP con­ven­tion silent on trans­porta­tion sales tax | Political Insider] Subscribe [...]

PMC

May 21st, 2012
11:00 am

Oh just keep ignoring it, surely it will go away. If there’s anything we love to do it’s putting absolutely worthless incumbants back into office until we eventually name roads or overpasses or buildings after them.

The Ruthless Way

May 21st, 2012
11:00 am

I “love” how the meebo toolbar (very annoying BTW) has a pop up for donating to President Obamas re-election campaign. HA! Certain people try and convince others that this newspaper is fair in its reporting on subjects, but yet they clearly favor one candidate and “Hope” that its readers will donate some of their “Change” for another 4 years of mismanagement and mediocrity. AJC you are a joke!

Marlboro Man

May 21st, 2012
11:05 am

Atlanta needs the tax as their needs are greatest, the rest of the state would be fine with the gas tax.

The Ghost of Lester Maddox

May 21st, 2012
11:10 am

So….Rep. JohnBama Barrow wants a non-partisan group to draw districts now.

Oh.

I wonder how long Rep. Barrow would be in favor of “non-partisan” and “cooperative” district drawing if the BamaCrats controlled both houses of Georgia’s Dome?

I think the time it took me to wonder that is about as long as it takes a BamaCrat to spend other people’s money.

Engineer

May 21st, 2012
11:10 am

1. Y
2. Y
3. Y
4. N
5. N

Don Abernethy

May 21st, 2012
11:38 am

On issues like abortion liberals continue to show their ignorance of what the Bible says on the issue.

The Snark

May 21st, 2012
12:00 pm

“Georgia elected Republicans have made substantial and continuous reforms in Georgia Ethics laws since becoming the majority party.”

Really? Like what? Defunding the Ethics Commission, firing anyone who dared to try and enforce the law against them, and repeating over and over again “but the Democrats did it too” …

clyde

May 21st, 2012
12:17 pm

1-no
2-yes
3-yes
4-yes
5no-no

Tell us what the Bible says,Don.

Danny O

May 21st, 2012
12:18 pm

No to casino gambling, yes to poker. Unlike slots and table games, poker is played against the other players at the table, not the house. It is legal in Florida and it draws many people from Georgia every weekend. Large tournaments attract players and media from all over the world. It’s an American-made card game and we should be allowed to play it in our state.

Brosephus™

May 21st, 2012
12:18 pm

1. No
2. Yes
3. No
4. No
5. No

Carole

May 21st, 2012
12:24 pm

The Snark
Really? Like what? Defunding the Ethics Commission, firing anyone who dared to try and enforce the law against them, and repeating over and over again “but the Democrats did it too”
+++++++

I thought I was the only one who caught that.

lars

May 21st, 2012
12:35 pm

td: I never want an unelected bureaucracy or an elected majority to be able to determine the fate of a legally elected person.
And yet you are willing for elected people to determine the fate of a woman’s body by declaring that a fetus has the same rights as a person from the moment of conception… which would be determined how?

findog

May 21st, 2012
12:37 pm

Don,
Please site the reference to the exact phrase, “abortion,” in the good book
The Abernethy’s continue to promulgate their interpretation of religious texts to their own narrow mindness

td

May 21st, 2012
12:38 pm

lars

May 21st, 2012
12:35 pm

You call it a fetus and I call it a human live that is constitutionally protected. Just because you do not think the unborn as being a human being does not mean it is so.

Tom

May 21st, 2012
12:40 pm

….and vice-versa…..

td

May 21st, 2012
12:40 pm

lars

May 21st, 2012
12:35 pm

BTW: If a woman does not want to have to carry and deliver a human being then she has the choice to not get pregnant in the first place. There are consequences to the choices you make.

td

May 21st, 2012
12:41 pm

findog

May 21st, 2012
12:37 pm

Please show us in the bible where a human being is not human inside the womb?

Tom

May 21st, 2012
12:44 pm

The fact that a similar “personhood amendment” was defeated recently in Mississippi…..which is even more bass-ackward of a thumper state than georgia…..should tell you something.

Bob Loblaw

May 21st, 2012
12:47 pm

What does that language in that abortion amendment even mean? What is an earliest biological beginning? Where is that defined? Thank the Lord this is non-binding. Do they think that a fertilzed egg is that moment? The “earliest biological beginning” could be the very sex act that leads to the fertilization. Wow. If so, then the fertility treatment clinics in town must have about 50,000 lives in their freezer. That “life” is going nowhere without a uterus.

findog

May 21st, 2012
12:49 pm

td,
Slight difference: I’m not writing legislation to decree that it is not
I am personally against abortion
I am personally against reduction of freedom by one group over another
Should the demographic trends continue in 200 years a real Muslim majority might be elected and I would hate for any of my decendants to have to live under their religious tenants

Cliff

May 21st, 2012
12:54 pm

1. No. Education is one of the primary purposes of the state government, and one of the critical factors affecting the state’s economy, competitiveness and quality of life. We should feel the responsibility to our children to fund it via the regular legislative process.
2. Yes, in concept. As td has pointed out, the devil will certainly be in the details in terms of what mechanism is set up to enforce the ban, consequences of violating it, and the loop holes that will force a lot of the gifts to go underground.
3. I admit not being familiar enough with the current law to know what the impetus is behind this one.
4. No. I don’t see what purpose this serves unless the county registrar’s are feeling lonely during the year. If the goal is to reduce participation in primaries, sure. I can see the images now of registered voters being turned away because they didn’t take the extra step of registering beforehand. I know there is the issue of cross-over voting in the current system, but I think this change will lead to smaller turnouts. Maybe it would be better to go back to nominations at conventions, which would save the state and local governments the expense of holding primary and run-off elections.
5. No. As we have already learned in other states, the “personhood” amendments have too many unanticipated side-effects and intrusions into unrelated areas. I have no business intruding into what is surely an already difficult time for these families. I would rather leave the decisions to the people affected and their doctors.

Tom

May 21st, 2012
1:13 pm

finddog, I would hate for my descendants to live under ANYONE’S religious tenets.

honested

May 21st, 2012
1:42 pm

Simple questions with simple answers:
1-No casino gambling until current education mandates are adequately funded through existing channels.
2-Yes, but even 100.00 may be too high.
3-No. When they are on base or deployed, use of the weapon is still controlled by another adult.
4-No. Why is the party of NO so afraid of the will of the people?
5-No. This places a religion based answer on a scientific question. This is Un-Constitutional on it’s face and we already have enough taxpayer funds at play to defend Un-Constitutional laws.

Why is the Party of NO so enamored with laws that have NO reason to be passed?

As for ethics, it sounds nice but until the faces change under the Gold Dome, the abhorrence of ethical behavior will no doubt continue.

slip

May 21st, 2012
2:23 pm

1.yes
2.yes
3.no
4.no
5.no

Question Man

May 21st, 2012
10:02 pm

Is it proper to use “$4.5 million” and “grass-roots” in the same sentence?

The Goobernator

May 21st, 2012
10:58 pm

Gee, what would I do if I had 4.5 mil to spend by July 31st???

The Goobernator

May 21st, 2012
11:01 pm

On the five questions, Dixiecrats need not answer, they don’t care what you think! Better yet, stay home , don’t vote!

No Teabagging

May 21st, 2012
11:08 pm

No
Yes
Yes and Required, only if they pass mandatory gun safety test
Hell NO
WTF NO!