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Tax Reform and our General Assembly

HB386, the "tax reform" bill has had inadequate study and inadequate public promotion and does irreparable harm to our trust in government.

As a perpetual optimist, I keep expecting the people we vote for to adhere to the values and positions they take during the campaign once they get elected, and to do the right thing for us when they go to the legislature.

It seems I am perpetually disappointed.

The legislature's behavior, led by supposedly "conservative" legislators and our "conservative" governor have exhibited behavior that would embarrass Nancy Pelosi.  The "tax reform" bill, HB386, is a mishmash of items that have had insufficient study, and in the end will have unpredictable results.  It was posted, voted on and will be passed in three days. 

To quote the AJC "The pace was deliberate — legislators learned last year that introducing a tax overhaul measure earlier in the session is an invitation for opponents to pick it apart."

While I can comprehend the discomfort that opposition poses for our legislators, if they can't support and sustain the terms of the bill in the face of opposition, perhaps the terms aren't as good as they seem. That certainly doesn't seem like an excuse to short-circuit study and debate and cram something down this fast.  This bill has inadequate study, inadequate promotion to the public, and does irreparable harm to our trust in government.

See the bill here, the House vote here and the Senate vote here.

As with the TIA-TSPLOST bill, I say to our legislators: we can do better than this.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Frank Jones March 29, 2012 at 12:08 AM
@Bill...You're right, I did misunderstand you. Thanks for the clarification. I agree with you that internet innovators are a good thing and that the archaic sales tax system is flawed, and yet Georgia and the other states are going to fight tooth and nail to preserve the system. They want every retailer in every jurisdiction to accurately collect sales tax on all transactions based upon where the consumer lives. The problem with this is that all states charge sales tax differently...different rates, products and services...and it is confusing! Their solution? Internet innovators will form to decipher all sales tax rules and sell the information to merchants, increasing their costs. Sounds like the states are trying to suppress internet businesses, stifle competition and protect brick and morter businesses. And in the process, make consumers pay more.
Grassroots April 25, 2012 at 12:05 AM
I am amazed at how ill informed all of these comments are. This bill has been in total or in part introduced, study, and had hearings for the past 7 years. You can nit pick the bill for not going far enough not being directed the way your interests would like I get it but how about not making up stuff. For instance this bill does not affect the education budget. The internet tax is the first step toward the change to eliminate the income tax and move to a consumption tax. If you want to complain go ahead but be smart about it.
Frank Jones April 25, 2012 at 02:21 PM
@Grassroots...some of these items have been discussed for more than 7 years as part of other tax plans. The problem with this plan and its changes was the haste that it was presented, the lack of study of the specific impacts of these items, and the lack of time for public comment. If you recall, in 2010, the legislators presented a bill and a study that supported that bill. That study was proved wrong and the 2010 bill did not pass. Bills passed quickly often aren't good bills! I agree with you that this bill is a small move towards consumption based taxes (i.e. sales tax) with the ultimate goal of certain legislators to eliminate the income tax. However, the legislators increase the consumption tax on individuals while reducing the consumption tax on agriculture supplies and jet fuel (they carved out exceptions to big business). If you're smart, you know that any shift towards consumption/sales taxes will allow the wealthiest to shelter sizable portions of their income from taxes while forcing everyone else to pay tax on every dollar they earn and spend.
IamJohnGalt May 08, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Chip Rogers calls himself the "Conservative Workhorse". If he were truly conservative it would not be necessary to label himself. David Rawlston is a Boss Hogg caricature that needs to be voted out of leadership. Governor Nathan Deal was a raw deal from the very start of his candidacy. Other than that Georgia politics is just peachy.
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