Archive for the ‘Grover Norquist’ Category

House ethics bill would require Grover Norquist to register as lobbyist?

House Speaker David Ralston has dropped his bill that contains a total ban on gifts from lobbyists to state lawmakers:

Ralston said his bill, introduced Tuesday, also restores the state ethics commission’s ability to create new regulations and provides a specific ban on tickets to nearly all sporting events and concerts.

Along the way, my AJC colleague Chris Joyner talked to House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams of Atlanta, who said the broader definition of lobbyists contained in the measure should capture “fly-in lobbyists, those corporate folks who come in and aren’t captured by anyone’s rules.”

That also would include some specific people who work for non-profit pressure groups, she said. Abrams had someone specific in mind:

“I think Grover Norquist has had an outsized influence on the way we discuss and debate issues here at the Capitol. I think anyone who can change the direction of a state should be considered a lobbyist and should be captured by our rules …

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Your daily jolt: A state Senate under new management

In the minutes surrounding the passage of Senate Bill 24, Gov. Nathan Deal’s solution to the “bed tax” dilemma, the sharp-eyed could – through the door leading to President pro tem David Shafer’s office – spot a giddy state Sen. Jeff Mullis dancing through the anteroom, arms in the air.

That’s how happy the new leaders of the state Senate were on Thursday, following passage of the Hospital Medicaid Financing Program Act. The bill, which now will receive the same railed treatment in the House, solves the sticky problem of legislative approval for a continued levy on hospitals by shoving the issue behind the executive curtain of the state Department of Community Health.

In fact, the contrast with Senate passage of the original “bed tax” in 2010 couldn’t be starker. Three years ago, GOP senators tortured themselves over the issue for three months. The caucus split, and two Republicans lost chairmanships when they refused to go along – despite furious …

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Grover Norquist’s verdict: ‘Bed tax’ solution a ‘step in wrong direction’

Last October, Grover Norquist, president of the D.C.-based anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform, warned state lawmakers not to renew the state’s “hospital bed tax” passed in 2010 to plug a hole in the state Medicaid budget. The tax/fee expires on June 30.

Today, in a statement obtained by my AJC colleague Greg Bluestein, a spokesman for Norquist doesn’t like Gov. Nathan Deal’s effort, unveiled today, to shift the burden of raising the cash from the Legislature to the state Department of Community Health. From Josh Culling, the ATR’s state government affairs manager:

”Gov. Deal’s decision to shift taxing authority from the legislature to the Department of Community Health does nothing to improve the hospital bed tax. Instead, it is a step in the wrong direction, attempting to absolve the governor and legislature of any potential blame for the looming tax increase.

“The hospital bed tax remains a job-killing tax hike that will increase the cost of health care …

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‘Plan B’ Update: Norquist thumbs up; DeMint thumbs down

House Speaker John Boehner has gotten scattered grumbling from conservatives in his caucus over his leverage-seeking plan to vote on a proposal to extend marginal tax rates for all income at $1 million or below — allowing taxes to rise on income above that level. But Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist (you might have heard of him) has Boehner’s back — for now — in a way that likely seals Republican support for the measure. Hot off the presses from ATR:

ATR has consistently maintained that individual Members of Congress make a pledge to their constituents to oppose and vote against tax increases.  The House this week will vote on a tax bill.  This legislation—popularly known as “Plan B”–permanently prevents a tax increase on families making less than $1 million per year.  Republicans supporting this bill are this week affirming to their constituents in writing that this bill—the sole purpose of which is to prevent tax increases—is consistent with the …

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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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Broun: ‘This is not about a race in 2014′

Until he gives a firm yes or no, this is what Athens Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Broun’s life is going to be like: The first question at a Capitol Hill news conference this afternoon — from National Review’s Robert Costa, who is basically on the Georgia beat these days — was to Broun, asking if he would run a primary against U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss if Chambliss votes to raise taxes in a fiscal cliff deal.

Rep. Paul Broun at a press conference (AJC/Daniel Malloy)

Rep. Paul Broun at a press conference (AJC/Daniel Malloy)

“This is not about a race in 2014. This is about the next two weeks. This is about the petitions that are signed here,” said Broun, gesturing toward 160,000 artfully stacked petitions asking lawmakers not to break the no-new-taxes pledge.  “I will not cave in. I am going to vote against raising taxes on anyone. Period. So not looking forward to any particular race. This is all about just what makes sense financially for your children and your grandchildren’s future.”

This of course is a more definitive …

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The power of a name at the center of Medicaid debate

The first step on the road to wisdom, Confucius declared thousands of years ago, is to call a thing by its proper name.

Republicans in Washington have taken the Chinese philosopher’s advice to heart, and are now engaged in a debate over whether an increase in federal revenue can correctly be labeled a tax hike. Anti-tax guru Grover Norquist says yes. U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss says no.

A Georgia version of this name game – no less intense than the one in D.C. — is already percolating. Two-and-a-half years ago, the state Legislature passed what came to be known as “the bed tax” – a levy on Georgia’s hospitals used to leverage federal dollars and prop up the state’s Medicaid program.

It expires next year. Gov. Nathan Deal, House Speaker David Ralston and soon-to-be Senate president pro tem David Shafer all agree that without it, there will be hell to pay.

But a bed tax? They’ve never heard of it. “Medicaid assessment fee,” says Ralston. “Provider fee,” …

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Your daily jolt: How Paul Broun and Tom Price might figure in Saxby Chambliss’ future

Hints at the roles that U.S. Reps. Paul Broun of Athens and Tom Price of Roswell might play in U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ future surface in a piece today:

One Georgia-based GOP consultant [said] he expects the fiercely conservative Broun to launch a Senate campaign as soon as January. A spokeswoman for Broun said he hasn’t decided.

“I feel very confident that Paul Broun’s running for U.S. Senate,” said Republican strategist Joel McElhannon, who is already feeling out recruits to run in Broun’s Athens-based 10th District. “You have senior staff quietly calling around for jobs, that’s why I think it’s legitimate.”

…But [state GOP chairman Sue] Everhart said Price poses the biggest threat to Chambliss.

“Tom told me a good while back that he wouldn’t run against Saxby if Saxby ran again. But he said if a whole bunch of people jumped in, that he would think about it,” Everhart said in an interview. “Saxby would have his work cut out …

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Saxby Chambliss: ‘I don’t want to be dictated to by anybody in Washington’

Updated below with some back-and-forth between Norquist and Chambliss staffers.

Original post: U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss on Saturday morning made the case for ignoring Grover Norquist and his anti-tax pledge before an all-important group of Cobb County Republicans.

It was the largest home-state crowd Georgia’s senior senator had addressed since his pre-Thanksgiving Day declaration that the coming fiscal cliff and a $17 trillion federal deficit has changed the way that Republicans must think about taxation.

“I think that you sent me to Washington to think for myself. And I want to vote the way you want me to vote,” Chambliss said. “I don’t want to be dictated to by anybody in Washington, as to how I’m going to vote on anything.”

The packed hall of 150 activists included Attorney General Sam Olens; state GOP chairman Sue Everhart; J.D. Van Brink, chairman of the Georgia Tea Party; and Phil Smith, national political director of the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan …

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First cracks appear in House GOP opposition to tax hikes

For those who believe that avoidance of the “fiscal cliff” boils down to a test of will between the White House and House Speaker John Boehner, this Associated Press piece matters:

WASHINGTON — The first cracks are developing among Republicans over whether to accept a quick deal with President Barack Obama on allowing the top two income tax rates to expire.

Conservative Oklahoma GOP Rep. Tom Cole told GOP colleagues in a private meeting on Tuesday that it’s better to make sure that tax cuts for the 98 percent of taxpayers who make less than $200,000 or $250,000 a year are extended than to battle it out with Obama and risk increasing taxes on everyone.

Cole’s remarks are noteworthy because he’s a longtime GOP loyalist and a confidant of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. They were made in a meeting of the House GOP Republican whip team, which is a sounding board for GOP leaders.

“If we don’t believe taxes should go up on anybody, why can’t we accept a deal that takes 98 …

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