Archive for the ‘Fair Tax’ Category

Your Daily Jolt: Close to a fiscal cliff deal?

With Christmas one week from today, President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner appear to be nearing a fiscal cliff deal. Some details from the Associated Press:

[Obama offered] to drop his long-held insistence that taxes rise on individuals earning more than $200,000 and families making more than $250,000. He is now offering a new threshold of $400,000 and lowering his 10-year tax revenue goals from the $1.6 trillion he had argued for a few weeks ago.Obama’s move follows concessions by Boehner on higher tax rates for the wealthy.

In the new proposal, Obama abandoned his demand for permanent borrowing authority. Instead, he is now asking for a new debt limit that would last two years, putting its renewal beyond the politics of a 2014 midterm election.

And in a move sure to create heartburn among some congressional Democrats, Obama is proposing lower cost-of-living increases for Social Security beneficiaries, employing an inflation index that would have …

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The end of a Noble Experiment — and tax reform in Georgia

And so the Noble Experiment to rewrite Georgia’s tax code in a politics-free climate has been deflated into a routine bit of score-settling among lobbyists, a tax break for businesses and a slight decrease in the personal income tax rate.

Signed into law by Gov. Sonny Perdue last year, the effort was modeled after federal legislation used to close U.S. military bases.

The recipe looked so good on paper:

First, take a blue-ribbon panel of business and tax experts, and ask them to come up with a flatter, more reliable form of taxation that encourages growth.

Then demand that the recommendation of this disinterested panel be placed, in its entirety, in a bill offered up to the Legislature. Allow a joint House-Senate committee to make a few absolutely necessary adjustments — and then send the package to both chambers for an up-or-down vote.

Voila! Two-hundred-and-thirty-six lawmakers are handed a politics-free, eat-your-spinach moment to savor and enjoy.

But any cook will tell …

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Your morning jolt: Jack Kingston advocates closer ties to anti-tax groups

The insurgent push to make U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Savannah the next chairman of the House Appropriations Committee continues apace today with his appearance before the all-important steering committee.

On Monday evening, Tea Party Patriots held a telephone conference call that featured a bit of campaigning by two of the three candidates for the job. Reports Politico.com:

From a PowerPoint presentation by U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston/WSJ

From a PowerPoint presentation by U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston/WSJ

Tea partiers who listened to Reps. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) and Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) on a conference call Monday night overwhelmingly favored Kingston to head the House Appropriations panel.

81 percent of the members of the Tea Party Patriots group who voted on the call said they wanted to see Kingston as committee chair, while 15 percent said they supported Lewis. Just five percent of the callers said they wanted to see longtime earmarker Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) lead the panel.

The group’s leaders put out a glowing description of Kingston …

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In S.C., they could put a sales tax on water and lights

Georgia has a tax reform commission not unlike this one, headed by Gov. Sonny Perdue. From The State newspaper in South Carolina:

You could have to pay a state sales tax soon on the water and electricity that you use at your home, and the groceries and prescription drugs you buy at a store.

Members of the S.C. Tax Realignment Commission, a legislatively appointed group of finance and tax experts, will vote today on whether to eliminate nearly $700 million in state sales tax exemptions.

If the commission approves, the General Assembly will have the final say on whether the exemptions are eliminated during its session that begins in January.

But that’s far from a done deal. S.C. legislators have been loathe to increase any taxes.

The elimination of the sales tax exemptions would be paired with a cut in the state’s overall sales tax to 4.96 percent. That is down from the current 6 percent rate.

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Your morning jolt: John Linder says Tom Graves’ claim on Fair Tax is a ‘lie’

You don’t often hear a sitting congressman using the word “lie” when referring to a fellow – from the same party — who wants to be a member of the same club.

But it happened tens of thousands of times over the weekend throughout as U.S. Rep. John Linder, who’s retiring this year, declared that Tom Graves’ contention that he has “traveled the nation with John Linder to sell the Fair Tax” are overblown.

Linder’s voice was the meat of a robocall ad paid for by the rival Republican campaign of Lee Hawkins of Gainesville, who faces Graves in a 9th District runoff to replace U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal on June 8.

Linder represents the neighboring 7th District.

Listen to the robocall message here. But this is the script:

“Hello, this is Congressman John Linder. Until today, I had not intended to get involved in your election on June 8 to select your new congressman. However, I’ve been hearing from several people that Tom Graves is telling you that he has traveled the nation with John …

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John Linder endorses former chief of staff to replace him

You can’t categorize this as a surprise, but U.S. Rep. John Linder just endorsed his former chief of staff, Rob Woodall, as the man to replace him in Congress.

Woodall, who helped Linder and radio talk show host Neal Boortz write two books on the Fair Tax, said weeks ago that he entered the 7th District congressional race with Linder’s blessing.

(State Rep. Clay Cox of Lilburn, considered the other financially endowed Republican in the race, has been quietly collecting endorsements from his friends in the Legislature.)

But an endorsement from an 18-year congressman is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Said Linder in a press release:

“When deciding to retire from Congress, I had a fear that with all of the challenges facing our great nation, now would be the wrong time to change leadership in Washington. With Rob Woodall’s announcement that he would seek my current seat, that fear is gone. I am proud today to give Rob Woodall my unconditional endorsement in the race to be …

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The House bill that doesn’t contain a tax on Internet sales

Phone calls have been rolling in from anti-tax enthusiasts, pointing to a bill that had suddenly ballooned from a single page to dozens, then raced through the House on Friday.

H.B. 1221 was chockfull of new definitions that would apply to sales tax collection. There was great wondering over whether this might be a stealthy effort to impose a sales tax on items purchased through the Internet.

On Saturday, my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin tracked down state Rep. Larry O’Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

The Bonaire lawmaker swears the bill contains no tax increase – but concedes that the massive tax reform package is “real easy to misunderstand.”

“There’s not a single new tax in it at all. There is no tax establishment of any kind. It is a result of about a nine-year, sort of national collaboration of states that have been trying to conform all of their sales tax codes together — and it has to do with a very technical aspect of the tax law,” O’Neal …

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Your morning jolt

Found while combing through this morning’s ajc.com:

  • Georgia health plan reserves could be gone by 2010.
  • State employees can expect more furloughs, maybe layoffs.
  • Challenges to property values in metro Atlanta soar.
  • 10,000 foreclosed properties up for sale in April.
  • Johns Creek bridges can’t handle firetrucks.
  • Some opinion:

  • Sam Massell: No reason now to deny MARTA its sales tax revenue.
  • Jim Wooten: Shifting to a broader car sales tax is the right thing to do.
  • Elsewhere in Georgia:

  • MT: Lucid Idiocy on rejected state DOT projects.
  • And the nation:

  • WSJ: Minnesota senate standoff plays Into GOP’s hands.
  • WP: Richard Cohen on why we shouldn’t blame Jim Cramer.
  • WP: Obama team derides Cheney’s criticisms. “I guess Rush Limbaugh was busy,” says Robert Gibbs.
  • LAT: Obama approval rating drops below 60 percent for first time.
  • LAT: Conservative talk radio on the wane in California.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

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    Why a move to restore the sales tax on groceries shouldn’t surprise you

    The sudden movement of a House bill that would restore a four-cent sales tax on groceries, in return for a state income tax credit, has baffled many around the state Capitol.

    But perhaps it shouldn’t. This is very much in keeping with the theme pushed by House Speaker Glenn Richardson only 12 months ago.

    Richardson pushed for the abandonment of property taxes, in exchange for a shift toward a broader sales tax.

    In 2009, we have the same object, just a different revenue stream: Increase the reach of the sales tax, and decrease dependence on the state income tax. It’s all about shifting the burden.

    One senator watching things unfold, and not altogether happy about it, called H.B. 67 a variation on the Fair Tax — which is ever popular in GOP ranks.

    The grocery tax measure is sponsored by state Rep. Chuck Sims (R-Ambrose), and passed the House Ways and Means Committee last week. Georgia residents who file income tax returns would be able to deduct either the taxes they paid …

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