Tax proposal needs careful scrutiny

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We are nearing the end of the 2011 legislative session, and one of the long-awaited issues is beginning to take center stage: reforms to Georgia's tax structure. We established a tax council to review our tax code during the last legislative session and we are now delving deeper into their recommendations.

State leaders specifically designed the council to be independent and not include any member of the General Assembly. Rather we tasked private citizens with the beginning steps of this vital process. This way, we could ensure that the reform efforts were not muddled with politics.

We also required their recommendations to be introduced as legislation without any changes so that we could vet their proposals in the same way we analyze other bills.

A bill was introduced recently in the House of Representatives. This does not mean we will keep any or all of their proposals. There are a wide variety of ideas presented in this bill that we will consider. The lawmakers' goal was to look at the tax structure and find areas that lacked stability and fairness, so with every proposed cut, there is also the potential for a tax hike. Some of them are controversial.

The tax rate on the income tax is lowered from 6 percent to 4 percent, but a sales tax on currently non-taxed services is established. We must be very careful in how we proceed with this idea. A service that we all use every day is a dangerous place to impose a tax. I am adamant that services such as automotive repair, veterinary medicine or barber and hair salon services should not be taxed.

Food not currently taxed also would be taxed under their plan, which is preposterous. We cannot tax the very thing we depend on to live. Food is a necessity and we, as lawmakers, must understand that.

The council recommends eliminating income tax cuts for seniors that were passed in 2003 and 2010. But we need to focus on our priorities. Placing an extra burden on one of our more vulnerable populations will have serious implications that we must consider.

These are only some of the biggest proposals in the legislation. I will continue to monitor the changes as the bill goes through the legislative process. My colleagues and I will work to make sure the end result is truly a fair revision of the tax code.

State Sen. Hardie Davis

Augusta

(The writer has represented Senate District 22 in the Georgia General Assembly since 2010, and House District 122 from 2006 to 2009.)

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usapatriot
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usapatriot 03/22/11 - 11:06 pm
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I live in SC, so without

I live in SC, so without knowing if Sen Davis is (D) or (R), lets take a look at an incongruous letter.

"We established a tax council to review our tax code..."

Ok, then you should want to follow their recommendations. It's a typical ploy by politicians too gun shy to make tough choices. Appoint a "commission" to make policy then attack the commission.

"We also required their recommendations to be introduced as legislation..."

Huh? Is this constitutional in GA? The US Constitution requires legislation be originated in the House of Representatives, by Representatives.

Is it legal for a private citizen body to write legislation in GA? Or do you not know Senator?

"The lawmakers' goal was to look at the tax structure and find areas that lacked stability and fairness, so with every proposed cut, there is also the potential for a tax hike."

Get a clue. The problem is not revenue, the problem is spending.

"Placing an extra burden on one of our more vulnerable populations will have serious implications that we must consider."

You seem to want to fear monger that grandma making poverty wages will be taxed when the recommendations are for wealthier retired seniors. Who, btw, will avoid GA if you tax their retirement they saved for in spite of government.

" I will continue to monitor the changes as the bill goes through the legislative process. My colleagues and I will work to make sure the end result is truly a fair revision of the tax code."

How high and mighty of you Senator. You show the side of politicians that Americans have gotten fed up with.

YOU will....MY COLLEAGUES AND I will....

You neglected to ask for you constituent's ideas and feedback, didn't you, Senator? You didn't bother to include a phone number or website for constituents to contact you with their input, did you Senator?

You and your colleagues punted the ball to a private citizen council and now discount their input. Where you didn't have the political guts to make the tough call, you denigrate those asked by you to offer ideas.

By appointing this commission of private citizens, you admitted you can't make the decisions. But you can degrade them, can't you? That's the easy part. They made the recommendations, not you.

I hope you get shown the door next time around Senator.

wribbs
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wribbs 03/23/11 - 05:34 am
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Senator Davis. I wanted to

Senator Davis. I wanted to write and say thank you so much for looking for ways for us to get just a few more scraps that falls from the government table. You and your colleagues working so hard for us like this shows how much you admire us peasants and we are truly grateful.

bettyboop
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bettyboop 03/23/11 - 05:51 am
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"I am adamant that services

"I am adamant that services such as automotive repair, veterinary medicine or barber and hair salon services should not be taxed.".....What!? (What about nail salon services Hardie?)....Why the heck not?............these are just the sort of things that should be taxed.
No food item or medication should be taxed.

4headedbeast
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4headedbeast 03/23/11 - 05:56 am
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Republicans can't balance the

Republicans can't balance the budget on the backs of the poor and middle - class their must be shared sacrifice.If there is one thing, Sen. Hardie Davis, we've learned from years and years of Republican misleadership it's that you can't trust Republicans with your money.

seenitB4
97022
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seenitB4 03/23/11 - 06:15 am
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BE HONEST.. We are going to

BE HONEST..

We are going to pay for 3 wars....millions on free give-a-way programs..more millions coming across borders with needs....
WE NEED the FairTax & congress members need to feel the pinch too.

DuhJudge
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DuhJudge 03/23/11 - 06:24 am
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If businesses that SELL

If businesses that SELL services collected sales tax the way that merchants do, then you could drop the income tax and the sales tax rates for everything. But also......CUT SPENDING IN A MEANINGFUL WAY.

Chillen
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Chillen 03/23/11 - 07:56 am
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Cut government expenses way

Cut government expenses way back. Then cut our state income taxes. Leave the sales tax alone - it's a consumption tax so it is optional.

So Simple.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 03/23/11 - 08:01 am
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duplicate?

duplicate?

rmwhitley
5547
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rmwhitley 03/23/11 - 09:53 am
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We need more bureaucracy.
Unpublished

We need more bureaucracy. Without it, how can we financially support our poor unions and "guvmint" workers?

dichotomy
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dichotomy 03/23/11 - 10:25 am
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So, the good senator will

So, the good senator will "consider" the serious implications of heavily increasing taxes on retired seniors but is adamant that hair salons should not be taxed. The good senator is warped or has family in the hairdo business.

The seniors are retired and they made the decision to do that based on the taxation rules that were in place at the time. It is not right to change the rules on a senior population who have no way to adapt to the change you greedy politicians have proposed. But Lord knows we don't want to put a burden on the sisters and their 'dos.

follower
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follower 03/23/11 - 11:42 am
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A more disingenuous letter

A more disingenuous letter you will not find.

It's a spending problem my man. Don't take two dollars and give me one and think that I'll thank you.

I've been self-employed for almost 24 years and don't need a Harvard degree to tell you spending can't exceed revenue. While I might raise prices to affect revenue, raising too much will cause customers to go elsewhere. But I can always adjust spending. Why can't you?

Ontarian
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Ontarian 03/23/11 - 01:15 pm
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Don't let the car dealers

Don't let the car dealers have their way and allow private sale of used car to be taxed again and again on transfers. Dealers already got tax breaks on their inventory and they are not at a disadvantage. Know your accounting and don't be fooled.

socks99
250
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socks99 03/23/11 - 01:47 pm
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First, citizens have a right

First, citizens have a right to know if the 'reforms,' in net effect, raise government revenues; or, are they revenue neutral.

That's important because I think most citizens believe state government needs to cut its spending. If more revenue is raised and spending is not cut, then the so-called 'reform' is just a bad joke.

Finally, I don't know of any single GA voter who has demanded we do away with the state income tax. Why is the legislature and it's little group pushing to repeal the state income tax through backdoor channels and with out 1 single legislator coming out and saying this is what they intend to do? If they want to do so, then at least have the guts to come out and say so. Why has NO ONE in the media asked about this?

Taylor B
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Taylor B 03/23/11 - 02:30 pm
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There isnt any way these

There isnt any way these proposals are being moved on this year, so all this is just a moot point. How about lets work in the realm of possible and not complain about things that arent going to happen anyway... Sine Die is April 14th, there isnt time to rewrite our whole state tax system.

Lori Davis
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Lori Davis 03/23/11 - 03:57 pm
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Fair Tax now.

Fair Tax now.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 03/23/11 - 08:37 pm
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In other words taxes are

In other words taxes are expanding along with government... They all PROMISE smaller government, and lower taxes UNTIL they get elected.

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