To understand tag tax, you must recall history

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Regarding the new vehicle tag fee law: I am all for eliminating taxes, fees and other means of taking money from the people. That said, Georgia government is distended with bureaucracy and fraud, and that should be tackled simultaneously. Politicians love to beat the tag tax drum because it is popular with much of the citizenry, but do they really understand the issue?

A few years ago, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute’s paper “With H.R. 1246, Georgia About to Pile on to Virginia Fiscal Car Wreck,” a response to then-Georgia House Speaker Glenn Richardson’s proposal to eliminate the tag tax, sounded the alarm – something about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Virginia eliminated the car tag local tax in FY 1999. “The cost of the reductions grew from $181 million in 1999 to $950 million by 2007… A $1 billion hole appeared in the state budget, which almost exactly matched the amount of money the state was sending to localities to reduce the car tax,” the GPPI said.

As a result, 12 Department of Motor Vehicle offices were closed; no state funds were provided for sheriffs to hire deputies; the community mental health system’s budget was cut by 10 percent (2003); state psychiatric facilities’ budget cut by 15 percent (2003); and in 2001 there were $275 million in cuts to state colleges. Since 2001, the Government Performance Project has noted the negative consequences of the Virginia car tax reduction in every issue of its “Grading the States.”

This red herring to distract us from the transportation special-purpose local option sales tax fraud that was embraced by the state’s and many local chambers of commerce (you remember the yard signs along roads) – and spun in a devious misleading fashion by local Georgia Department of Transportation member Don Grantham and Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross – will cause problems similar to Virginia’s.

In February 2012 the Georgia DOT was cited for its fourth consecutive year of financial mismanagement, and by using the good ol’ boy system, TSPLOST was put on the ballot, and then the Crosses and the Granthams traversed Georgia to tout a tax increase. Local legislators should have fought tooth and nail to keep this off of ballots and to hold the DOT accountable.

Keep electing the same old clique, but refrain from complaints when its consequences are before you.

Lee Benedict


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dichotomy 03/24/13 - 10:14 am
The vehicle ad valorem tax is

The vehicle ad valorem tax is the most hated tax in the state. It is an annual tax that was totally unrelated to the cost of registering or tagging a vehicle and totally unrelated to the "wear and tear" your vehicle caused to the roads. If you drove a clunker you pay virtually nothing and if you were the average family with a 2 or 3 year old vehicle you pay through the nose even though both cause an equal amount of wear and tear on the road. It is an unfair and unequal tax on something you paid an already unreasonable amount of sales tax on when you bought it. Glad to see it eventually go and I wish they had included ALL vehicles instead of this phase out thing. The gas tax went up last year...again....and now they have TSPLOST. They have plenty of revenue if they would QUIT MISMANAGING OUR MONEY, which they have been cited for now 4 years in a row and guilty of for MANY years except nobody was checking on them.

Lee Benedict
Lee Benedict 03/24/13 - 10:20 am
Checks were there...

it's just that the media refused to shine the light, and, the people, the voters, refused to call out the friends of friends because their political party "had the seat" which is unfortunately all that matters to many.

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