Thursday, March 01, 2007

I Wish I Could Make This Sexy

The tax code. Just the mention of it makes me want to fall asleep, and that's just exactly what Georgia Republicans hope those of us in the Middle Class will do as they devise ways to shift more of the tax burden to us. It's not sexy. It does not evoke the same emotion as ultrasound bills or pleas to let us buy alcohol on Sunday, but trust me, unless you are among the richest 1% in this state, you better wake up and pay attention. This is not going to happen this year, instead they are planning to save the fun for an election year when they coffers will be filled to over-flowing with contributions from the wealthy they seek to protect.

Consider these little known facts, courtesy of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute:

  • Georgia's tax code was developed between 1937 and 1951 and has rarely been updated.
  • Although Georgia's per capita income is 34th in the nation, Georgia ranks 43rd in state taxes as a percentage of personal income.
  • Georgia's corporate tax collection declined 62% between 1989 and 2003, based on % of GSP, due to loopholes that place a greater tax burden on small business and individuals.
  • Georgia's per capita health spending is 50th in the nation
  • Georgia's current tax system takes more from those who have the least. It is a regressive system.
  • When revenue from sales, property and income tax are combined, the lowest 20% of income earners in Georgia, pay a higher share of family income in taxes than any other group. Those who are in the top 1% of earners pay the lowest share of income in taxes than any other group.
The motivation for this is no real mystery. Money, and those who have it, control the political process. That's why I am so pleased to see Presidential candidates like John Edwards calling for public funding of elections. If you don't believe me, all you have to do is glance at the legislation that is moving through the General Assembly. Who's benefiting? Utility companies, developers, seniors who make up to $150,000 a year, payday lenders and other "haves." Who's taking it in the teeth? School children, the disabled, indigent defendants, those without access to healthcare and other "have nots." Even as our child poverty rate increases, never in the history of this State has money talked so loudly.

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3 comments:

Kathy said...

Sexy, no. Emotional, you bet! Perhaps this is just the argument we need to show the middle class that Sonny and company do not have their best interests at heart, after all.

Amy Morton said...

I believe that this is the single most important issue, the one that impacts everything from education to poverty to healthcare. And, it's all about where our priorities are.

Tina said...

I am a Georgian born and bred. I do love my home state!!...but sometimes we are just sooooooooo durn pitiful when it comes to social awareness.