A deserved defeat

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Georgia House Speaker Glenn Richardson pushed his tax plan as hard as he could.

Thankfully, a House majority pushed back. On Wednesday, by a vote of 110-62, legislators rejected Senate Resolution 796, a proposal that seemingly has had more ugly transformations than Dr. Jekyll.

The latest proposal called for phasing out car-tag taxes; limiting property assessment increases and local-government spending growth by having them mirror the inflation rate; and imposing a $10 per-vehicle fee to help fund Georgia's ailing trauma care network.

What made the plan -- and all of its predecessors -- so flawed was the insistence that local control of local governments' and school boards' tax money would be, in many ways, thrown to the state. That's unthinkable. Imagine the state telling you how much you can spend out of your paycheck every week.

Augusta's legislative delegation, with the exception of Rep. Barbara Sims, rightly voted the plan down. We are sorry she made that decision. As a Republican, she and her party colleagues likely felt heavy pressure from fellow Republican Richardson to get his proposal pushed through.

Under the guise of attempting to make Georgians' tax burden more accommodating, Richardson turned his push into little more than a power play that has no doubt cost him credibility.

Also, the decision to throw in desperately needed trauma care funding with the rest of the legislation was a transparent ploy to earn the tax bill more votes. Such a serious issue facing Georgia's hospitals and their trauma centers shouldn't be a political plaything.

And many lawmakers probably felt forced to vote for the bill because they felt that not voting for some kind of tax reform would cost them votes in November among constituents who want to see the state's tax system changed.

Georgia needs a change in its tax system, without a doubt, but Richardson's flaw-riddled plan fell well short of the mark, and voters should realize that. His proposal would have set up the state for massive budget shortfalls and governmental funding woes.

Now that this tax bill has been shot down, there are fears that Richardson may try to exact revenge on local governments by putting his weight behind House Bill 938, which would limit municipalities' collection of franchise fees. The bill would exempt utilities from paying the fees, and that would sap millions out of cities' budgets -- in Augusta's case, $16 million a year.

It would require only 91 votes to pass, which is within reasonable reach. This piece of legislation shouldn't be approved, either. Lawmakers should dispense with the political game-playing and vote against this bill.

Comments (23) Add comment
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DeborahElliott2
4
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DeborahElliott2 03/07/08 - 12:56 am
0
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Perhaps we the people should

Perhaps we the people should vote him out of office this next election for his position. Then the other republicans can see that we the people mean business and won't put up with this.

HillGuy
7
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HillGuy 03/07/08 - 01:39 am
0
0
You'd have to live in his

You'd have to live in his district to do that.

Dark_Knight
0
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Dark_Knight 03/07/08 - 04:48 am
0
0
This seems like a good plan?

This seems like a good plan? Whats the problem?

LordSesshomaru
0
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LordSesshomaru 03/07/08 - 04:53 am
0
0
Plan seems fine to me too.

Plan seems fine to me too. Budget shortfalls..who cares...spend less...I thought this was a conservative state.

He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named
0
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He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named 03/07/08 - 05:00 am
0
0
Okay, I haven't read the

Okay, I haven't read the whole bill but....eliminating taxes, limiting government spending....what's the problem? Yeah I thought it was a conservative state too, heck..I thought it was a conservative paper. The way this is written you would think this bill authorizes the holocaust. I'm sorry chronicle, if I'm on the wrong side of this, it's because you did a really lousy job of making your case.

Ralph_Wiggum
0
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Ralph_Wiggum 03/07/08 - 05:03 am
0
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WOOHOOO!! No more car

WOOHOOO!! No more car taxes!!! I was fixing ready to thought that was unpossible!

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 03/07/08 - 05:32 am
0
0
He Who, what this mess is, is

He Who, what this mess is, is a continuation of a series of bills Glynn Richardson has been trying to get passed that would shift the local taxes to state control. Not explaining what his goal is keeps Richardson on the wrong side of this issue.

He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named
0
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He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named 03/07/08 - 05:44 am
0
0
Personally I don't care what

Personally I don't care what his goal is. Again, eliminating taxes, limiting government spending...these are not bad things. Maybe that is his goal? If there is some kind of hidden agenda, please fill me in.

Brad Owens
4906
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Brad Owens 03/07/08 - 06:09 am
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HWMNBN, He was not proposing

HWMNBN, He was not proposing that. He was proposing having the state dictate to the local govenments how they will spend money. Not very 'conservative' but very much like Reichpublicans.

Its 5oclock somewhere
0
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Its 5oclock somewhere 03/07/08 - 07:16 am
0
0
It's better than letting

It's better than letting county commissioners throw tax payers money away after pet projects. TALIAFERRO COUNTY.

Must Think It Through
0
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Must Think It Through 03/07/08 - 07:29 am
0
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The year to year increase in

The year to year increase in local government spending is less than the increase in state spending, yet no mention by members of the Georgia House to limit what the sate expends each year. The Georgia house should be making efforts to support and help local governments meet their needs, be it public safety, clean water, economic development, educating our children, instead of trying to dictate to them (which has been the trend the last few years). The state can't pull the trigger on making tough decisions on tramua funding and needed transportation investments but want to tell your county, city or school board how much they can spend. The state should stick to state issues, locals to local issues. Your local taxes too high? Run for office, vote folks out, take an interest and learn how it all works, or doesn't work. The Speaker's efforts weren't for the people, they were for his ego and getting reelected. Time to look beyond the next election and to work with folks to finding solutions to issues instead of demonizing local governments. What a waste of time and effort.

Little Lamb
48879
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Little Lamb 03/07/08 - 07:33 am
0
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Glenn Richardson's agenda is

Glenn Richardson's agenda is a bit fuzzy, but when it becomes clear you can bet it will involve higher office for him (at least in his dreams). I am in favor of a well-thought-out tax reform package for Georgia that makes things simpler. But these piece-meal trial balloons that Richardson has been floating should be relegated to the dustbin. His trial balloons are made of lead. They do not address the whole picture.

LaTwon
1
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LaTwon 03/07/08 - 08:37 am
0
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the fuzzy agenda is called

the fuzzy agenda is called centralization. central planning. more control, more power, less liberty.

LaTwon
1
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LaTwon 03/07/08 - 08:41 am
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the medicaid budget is now

the medicaid budget is now larger than the whole state budget was 12 years ago. declining property values, a declining industrial base and a growing welfare state. there will be a meter on your toilet seat soon

johnsmith
9
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johnsmith 03/07/08 - 08:45 am
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You who are asking "what's

You who are asking "what's the problem" with the plan: While I support a TABOR-like plan (tying state spending and tax increases to the rate of inflation), the problem here was that the [filtered word]sales tax revenues would be gathered exclusively by the state, and then "redistributed" to local governments. Gee, I can't IMAGINE how that system could be manipulated at all to buy votes from huge urban centers like Atlanta that never met a welfare program they wouldn't enact. Total state spending could easily stay at the rate of inflation, while huge increases are allocated to ATL, and little ol' Blythe, GA gets stuck holding the bag...not a good plan...

mojo
0
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mojo 03/07/08 - 08:49 am
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RE: "Imagine the state

RE: "Imagine the state telling you how much you can spend out of your paycheck every week." They already do - to make it stick they take our money so we can't spend it - check the deductions from your paycheck - then check the deductions from the federal government - then check the sales receipt when you purchase items and pay the various sales and added taxes proportioned to direct our spending.

Tall1
1
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Tall1 03/07/08 - 10:27 am
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Considering the local track

Considering the local track record of spending it's money, why is it a bad thing to take that control away?

route66
0
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route66 03/07/08 - 10:28 am
0
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Yeah, I'm a little "irked"

Yeah, I'm a little "irked" when over 60% of my property taxes goes to the school system and I have no kids in school. Yet the guy down the street has 8 kids in school, lives in a rental doublewide and pays no school tax. Isn't there something wrong with this picture?

jack
10
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jack 03/07/08 - 11:31 am
0
0
No one has mentioned the

No one has mentioned the megamillions surplus the state of GA has. What's being done with that?

TCB22
694
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TCB22 03/07/08 - 11:44 am
0
0
As a conservative Republican,

As a conservative Republican, I applaud this as one of the best editorials ever written. SB 976 is one of the most flawed Senate Bills ever written in the history of Georgia. For those who think you were about to hit "pay dirt" with this scheme, I suggest you go back and actually read it and understand what your future was about to look like.

johnsmith
9
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johnsmith 03/07/08 - 01:31 pm
0
0
Tall1, yes, but if we posit a

Tall1, yes, but if we posit a future in which enough Augustans actually wake up and look at the "product" that is being delivered, we can believe that local bunglers can be replaced fairly easily. This is a process that has BEGUN, and that hopefully will continue. However, ATL would have the votes to suck in money from all over the state, and they would be able to maintain a power base in perpetuity precisely BECAUSE they are shorting the rest of us. This is precisely what happens in DC (Google "The Big Dig" and see what political influence will buy you). The closer the politician is forced to live w/those he "represents," the more likely he is to be replaced when found to be useless, unresponsive, a crook, whatever...

darth_froggy
0
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darth_froggy 03/07/08 - 02:16 pm
0
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This yet another pointless

This yet another pointless article written by another unintelligent person who decided that everyone needed to hear what they had to say about whatever met their fancy.

johnsmith
9
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johnsmith 03/07/08 - 02:23 pm
0
0
Well, darth, your assessment

Well, darth, your assessment of the writer's intelligence is, of course, your own. Other than that, your comment is fairly devoid of importance, since the same could be said of ANY news story, op/ed or LTE...

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