Archive for the ‘transportation’ Category

Your late jolt: Examining the Achilles’ heels of 12th District GOP candidates

Vidalia, Ga. — The four GOP candidates fighting for a chance to face down U.S. Rep. John Barrow gathered at a Monday night forum at Southeastern Technical College.

There was widespread agreement on the major issues. All four pledged to support federal financing for the dredging of the Port of Savannah. All four pledged to vote against any further increase in the federal debt ceiling – which is likely to become the first issue facing the White House next January.

But each of the four – businessman Rick Allen of Augusta; state Rep. Lee Anderson of Grove City; Wright McLeod of Augusta; and Maria Sheffield of Dublin, Ga. – were asked by a quartet of panelists to address a personal Achilles’ heel:

Vidalia Tea Party chief Jim Anderson asked Lee Anderson to explain his vote, as a member of the General Assembly, to put a transportation sales tax on the July 31 ballot:

Lee Anderson: “What I voted on was to let the people have the freedom of choice to decide whether they …

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Your morning jolt: GOP women key to passage of transportation tax in metro Atlanta

Those backing metro Atlanta’s transportation sales tax vote said Wednesday that they’re turning their focus to Republican women. From Jonathan Shapiro and WABE (90.1FM):

Speaking before about a hundred well-dressed women at Home Depot’s corporate headquarters in Vinings, former Atlanta city councilwoman Lisa Borders, who is now with the Grady Foundation, began her remarks with a very deliberate appeal.

“We are fixers as women. Don’t we fix everything everyday? Don’t we fix everything everyday? So we have a problem, so who do we come to? Women.”

David Hill, an Alabama consultant in charge of polling and strategy for the campaign, provided the numbers:

“We’re expecting to do poorly with Republican males. We’ve got a vote goal of only 35 percent because it’s a historically anti-tax position that Republican men take. If we can get the 50 percent from Republican women who we find more open to the arguments here, we can make it work,” said Hill.

According to his research, …

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Your morning jolt: Tea party challenges that didn’t happen

In politics, the only thing more dangerous than throwing a spear at the king and missing is declaring that you intend to throw the spear – then failing to do so.

This spring, a new coalition of conservative groups called the Peach Tea Party declared that it would target 16 House Republicans and the chamber’s sole independent for their votes against HB 954, a bill to shorten the period during which a woman can seek an abortion, and another measure to eliminate discrimination in public hiring by sexual orientation or gender identity.

Of those 17 targeted, only four ended up with Republican opposition last week:

– Incumbent Republican Amos Amerson of Dahlonega retired. Three Republicans and one Democrat will try to replace him;

– Tommy Benton, R-Jefferson, no opposition;

– Mickey Channell, R-Greensboro, no opposition;

– Sharon Cooper, R-Marietta, has no opposition;

– Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell, no opposition;

– Mike Jacobs, R-Atlanta, picked up no GOP opposition, but has a …

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Your morning jolt: Local races will create climate for transportation sales tax vote

The qualifying period for candidates seeking a spot on the July 31 primary ballot began this morning.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp has promised live updates here. My AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin has a rolling blog going – plus an advance that focused on tea party ambitions:

[Debbie Dooley of Atlanta Tea Party Patriots] said a tea party candidate has already announced a challenge to state Sen. Jack Murphy, a Republican from Cumming and chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. The movement is also hopeful, she said, to have a serious challenger for state Sen. Don Balfour, a Republican from Snellville and chairman of the Senate Rules Committee….

Dooley said if former state Rep. Clay Cox, R-Lilburn, doesn’t qualify to run against Balfour, she will — reluctantly.

While candidates are ponying up qualifying fees in the Capitol, the watchdog Common Cause will lead tea partyists – and state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus – further down that frightful, liberal path to …

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One day later, pro-transportation tax forces say their side is winning

On Monday, Channel 2 Action News released an automated poll that put metro Atlanta support for a transportation sales tax at 42 percent – with the measure gaining a bare majority only in Fulton and DeKalb counties.

Twenty-four hours later, the campaign arm of the metro Atlanta pro-sales tax campaign released news of its own poll, completed two weeks ago, that shows support for the measure in the winning column at 51 percent.

Jeff Dickerson, spokesman for Citizens for Transportation Mobility, said there was no causal relationship between the two events noted above. But the first paragraph of the memo below – basically a description of the Rosetta Stone/Channel 2 poll – argues otherwise:

TO: Citizens for Transportation Mobility

FROM: David B. Hill, Ph.D., Director [Hill Research Consultants]

DATE: May 21, 2012

SUBJECT: Polling results

From May 6 through May 8, we conducted a telephone poll of 600 voters likely to vote in the July 31 transportation referendum. Our …

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Your morning jolt: About those tax credits for donors to private scholarships

From down in south Georgia, Sid Cottingham pointed us to this New York Times article, likely to become a topic of discussion during the upcoming charter school debate:

When the Georgia legislature passed a private school scholarship program in 2008, lawmakers promoted it as a way to give poor children the same education choices as the wealthy.

The program would be supported by donations to nonprofit scholarship groups, and Georgians who contributed would receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits, up to $2,500 a couple. The intent was that money otherwise due to the Georgia treasury — about $50 million a year — would be used instead to help needy students escape struggling public schools.

That was the idea, at least. But parents meeting at Gwinnett Christian Academy got a completely different story last year.

“A very small percentage of that money will be set aside for a needs-based scholarship fund,” Wyatt Bozeman, an administrator at the school near Atlanta, said during …

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New poll doesn’t bode well for metro Atlanta’s transportation sales tax

Channel 2 Action News is touting a Rosetta Stone poll that shows strong opposition outside Fulton and DeKalb counties to the July 31 transportation sales tax initiative:

The poll found 42 percent support the referendum, while 45 percent oppose it. Thirteen percent remain undecided.

Voters in DeKalb and Fulton counties showed overwhelming support for the tax, by a 52 to 33 percent margin. The numbers are nearly exact opposites in the other eight suburban counties where the measure is opposed by a 20 point margin.

This isn’t what proponents were looking for – not midway through a campaign that has already blanketed voters with direct mail and not a small amount of TV.

We hope to have some cross tabs and methodology to offer you soon.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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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, …

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Your morning jolt: Nathan Deal steps up on transportation sales tax

On Monday, Gov. Nathan Deal chose Savannah as a venue for one of his strongest endorsements yet of a penny sales tax to boost transportation spending. From Larry Peterson and the Savannah Morning News:

Deal acknowledged that people don’t like higher taxes.

“The question,” he added, “is what is the alternative to keep your area growing and progressive?”

…He said funds from the measure would help move goods more efficiently in and out of the port of Savannah.

Deal said the increase, which would boost sales taxes in Chatham County to 8 percent, is needed because other revenues haven’t kept pace with growth.

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On a similar note, Lori Geary of Channel 2 Action News draws a line between July 31 transportation vote and the burgeoning race between Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock and Republican challenger Brandon Beach:

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Then we have the case of Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee, who took time from his re-election campaign last week to refer to …

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Slow traffic on Ga. 400? Blame the media, says lawmaker

Just got a morning drive call from state Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta. He was driving south on Ga. 400, where authorities have opened up the emergency lane to traffic as a means of relieving congestion.

He crawled at 20 miles per hour until he passed the Northridge Drive exit, then was free to hit the speed limit. The difference? “All those TV trucks on the Northridge Drive exit,” Martin said. Drivers were slowing down to take note of their bright lights.

There’s already been some skepticism over the emergency lane tactic. “But before we declare this a failure, let’s remove some of the outside elements,” Martin said. Only half in jest.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

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