Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Great Big Tax on Everything Smacks of Socialism

The Telegraph's editorial board weighed in on the Georgia GOP's Great Big Tax on Everything today (Proposal should have stayed undercover until complete) and concluded that the proposal is not ready for public viewing. "While Richardson and his team are to be applauded for their efforts to tackle the tax gorilla, they may have let the cat out of the bag too soon."

Now there's a visual. Richardson. Sheets. A gorilla. And cats. All in a bag.

The confusion that would ensue is a perfect picture of the mess that would be created if the GBTE becomes law. As Alan Essig, director of Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, said in Macon on Friday, one the the big problems with the proposal is that no one really knows at this point what those details are. Sure, the bill appears on line, but Richardson and his comrades have disavowed that version. To know what they are really proposing, you pretty much have to pay attention to every speech. For instance, today, in the Telegraph op-ed was the first time I had seen the words "possibly" in front of taxing services for medical and dental care. I still want to know if they plan to tax private school tuition.

As Essig also pointed out, this is not a proposal that we can try on like a new shirt and discard if it doesn't fit. Retrofitting the tax system to accommodate this proposal will cost money-no one really knows how much because no one really knows yet what they are really proposing. And, this proposal, to be implemented, would require a change in Georgia's constitution (you know, that document conservatives claim to love until they need to change it to fit the needs of their base.) So, 'undoing' this would not be easy.

Essig says that the biggest problem with the proposal is not philosophical, it's mathematical: the numbers just don't appear to add up. He says, based on the data he currently has, it appears that a sales tax as described cannot make up the gap if all property taxes are repealed. He argues for a three-legged stool, a balanced approach to taxation and transparency in how tax money is gathered and spent.

The Telegraph said that the repeal of property taxes would have a proportionally much greater impact on local governments where such taxes make up more than 70% of local revenue, than on state government, where property taxes make up just .4 % of total revenue. "That aspect of the plan smacks more of socialism than the less government more local control mantra of most Republicans." Wish I'd said that.

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7 comments:

Tina said...

What would an editorial page be without the occasional really good mixed metaphor. :-) The classic example of course is Joyce Kilmer's poem, "Trees." And there's always the (apocryphal) quote from a VicLit novel, "The hand of death crept in and flew away with little Mary...."

Amy Morton said...

I just can't shed the image of all those critters in a bag together.

Tina said...

the old cat-and-gorilla trick...it confuses the reader every time !

VictoratGaImproper said...

i'm lost and you both well know how much it makes us lil ole georgia men's great big toe hurt to cipher.

Trackboy1 said...

Casey Cagle is expertly playing the senior citizen card on this, and that may end this once and for all, along with Glenn the Stache's hope for Guvna 2010.

Amy Morton said...

Hate it when I find myself in Casey's corner. He is an expert at this, and, while he is much better liked than Richardson, he has his own issues and is tougher to counter because he can sound reasonable. But, look at the results-we now have school vouchers in Georgia, thanks to CC. What I'm saying is, George Bush was seen as a 'nice guy', too.

Tina said...

As my brother says, in a much clearer metaphor, "It's all about taking $$ out of little pockets and putting it into big pockets."