Push for tax reform collapses with angry words on final day

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ATLANTA --- Georgians won't be getting a tax cut after all.

Republicans who had pledged to wipe out the car tag tax, slash the income tax and cap property assessments delivered on none of those promises Friday night as the clock ran out on a rancorous legislative session.

The logjam over taxes appeared to have doomed an ambitious effort to fund transportation improvements and another that would prop up the state's cash-strapped trauma network.

The tax cuts fell victim to a bitter clash between House Speaker Glenn Richardson and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Republicans who were each pushing competing plans.

Mr. Richardson pronounced the tax cut "dead" with an hour left in the chaotic final day of the legislative session and called for Mr. Cagle's ouster.

"When you go home on the tag tax, tell everyone it has a new name: the Cagle birthday tax. Every time they pay it, they can think of Casey Cagle," said Mr. Richardson. A last-minute compromise to funnel the state portion of property taxes to fund trauma care was scuttled. State lawmakers worked for months to cobble together a plan to allow local governments to levy a 1-cent sales tax for transportation projects to ease the state's congested roads. It stalled.

Lawmakers voted to allow Georgians with concealed weapons permits to carry their guns on public transportation, in state parks and at restaurants.

But vast changes to the education system and drought-inspired measures to bolster Georgia's reservoir system went nowhere.

Tax cuts were the biggest casualty and signaled a new feud among the state's ruling GOP.

The House, in a surprise move, voted Tuesday to adopt both competing tax plans -- which would cost a combined $1.7 billion -- but the Senate refused to follow suit.

They put aside their differences long enough to achieve their only constitutional duty -- adopting the annual budget -- late Friday when they voted overwhelmingly to adopt a $21.2 billion budget with virtually no debate.

The budget boosts salaries for state employees, funnels money into schools and slashes $245 million without any layoffs or major program cuts. Gov. Sonny Perdue had ordered spending cuts to deal with slowing tax collections.

The Senate gave final passage to a bill that would fix part of the sex offender law struck down by the state's top court.

BORDER LINE DEBATE

ATLANTA --- Lawmakers in drought-parched Georgia voted Friday to ask mapmakers to redraw their state's northern boundary in hopes of tapping the Tennessee River, in a vote that potentially escalates a conflict with their neighbor.


If negotiations fail, the bill would authorize Georgia's top attorney to file a lawsuit to try forcing a boundary change.


The House and Senate both approved the measure. It now goes to Gov. Sonny Perdue, who has not said whether he supports it.


Congress in 1796 designated that Tennessee's southern borders stretch along the 35th parallel, but surveyors in 1818 were a bit off the mark. They now know that the border was placed about 1.1 miles south of where it should be.


The resolution asserts that the flawed survey mistakenly placed Georgia's northern line just short of the Tennessee River, which has about 15 times greater flow than the one burgeoning Atlanta depends on for water.


Tennessee hasn't taken kindly to Georgia's drought-inspired bid, and a growing number of Georgia lawmakers are also began to question the measure.


-- Associated Press

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justsoyaknow
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justsoyaknow 04/05/08 - 05:25 am
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The opposite of "pro" is

The opposite of "pro" is "con". Thus, it's no surprise that the opposite of progress is, that's right, "congress"! Thanks for nothing.

NoDem
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NoDem 04/05/08 - 06:09 am
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Richardson is the one who

Richardson is the one who really needs to go. He has more schemes to put the bill to the tax payers than anyone else. These are supposed to be Rebublicans who support lower taxes, and all they can think of is way to raise those same taxes. We need some new faces in Atlanta as well as in Washington.

JimCox
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JimCox 04/05/08 - 07:39 am
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How and why did the budget

How and why did the budget increase from $16 billion last year to over $21 billion this year?

UncleBill
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UncleBill 04/05/08 - 09:43 pm
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Regarding the taxes, if they

Regarding the taxes, if they would just freeze the valuation of my house so that the tax doesn't go up every year, that would be dandy. I don't make twice what I did when the house was bought, and I faill to see why I should pay twice as much tax.
The County Commission announces proudly, "we didn't raise your taxes this year", as if they are doing us a favor.
Oh yeah, the tax doesn't go up, just the value of the house. The house being more valuable is no money in my pocket until the house is sold. I may be dead then.
This is what Proposition 13 in California was about some years ago. The taxpayers introduced this to be put on the ballot and it passed, locking in the value of the house as that when purchased. Whoops, can't do that in GA, only those bright ones in the state legislature can deal with it. What a bunch of hypocrites. Less government, lower taxes, while they tax your [filtered word] off.

bigalsc
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bigalsc 04/06/08 - 09:02 pm
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Georgia is lacking the yin

Georgia is lacking the yin and yang of having two competing political parties and tax and spend Republicans have no check on their spending spree just like it was in DC for six years under our glorious President Bush.

bigalsc
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bigalsc 04/06/08 - 09:02 pm
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Georgia is lacking the yin

Georgia is lacking the yin and yang of having two competing political parties and tax and spend Republicans have no check on their spending spree just like it was in DC for six years under our glorious President Bush.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 04/07/08 - 07:00 am
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Big Al, come on. The

Big Al, come on. The Democrats were the main reason the Republicans could not get the tax plans through. The intra-party bickering was a smaller reason. There is plent of push-back from the Democrats. They are more than holding their own.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 04/07/08 - 07:01 am
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And J-10, the answer to your

And J-10, the answer to your question about why had the budget increased? It's because tax collections have skyrocketed and the politicians would rather spend the money on new boondoggles than lower the tax rates.

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