Regional taxes and the ARC

In an article on a possible regional sales to tax solve Georgia’s transportation funding problems, State Rep. Steve Davis has mentioned possibly changing the makeup of the ARC:

State Rep. Steve Davis, R-McDonough, who is skeptical of both the abolition of the gas tax in favor of an additional state sales tax and the regional tax, proposed another solution.

Davis said he plans to propose legislation to reconstitute the Atlanta Regional Commission, the planning organization responsible for drafting the region’s transportation proposals. The board, he feels, is too heavily stacked with members from Atlanta’s core.

His proposal would establish a board of members who are the commission chairmen of their county, who already have a seat, one mayor from each of the 10 ARC counties elected by a panel of the county’s mayors, and one member appointed from each county by that county’s legislative delegation. His proposal for a 30-member board, he says, would eliminate several positions from the heart of Atlanta.

“Before you even talk to me about voting for a regional sales tax, we’ve got to get equal representation,” Davis said.


  1. Davis is a moron. According to 2005 Census estimates, more than 4 times as many people live in DeKalb as in his native Henry. Yet he would propose giving each county equal representation on a metro planning board, thereby diluting DeKalb’s votes to 25% the strength of Henry’s.

    It’s obviously important that non-core counties have sufficient representation, and because they need transit alternatives (whether that is new roads or new rails or whatever) in many cases worse than the core counties which already have some options I would be fine in giving them a little bit more representation.

    Steve Davis’s real agenda is to stop transit alternatives like rail from expanding beyond DeKalb and Fulton. With every proposal like the Brain Train or news that Gwinnett Businesses now want a study on the feasibility of extending the Northeast line to Gwinnett Place Mall, Davis shudders at the thought of objective progress and alternatives winning out over his outdated stubborn ideology.

    His latest scheme to halt the forward progress and change that Georgians clearly crave is to replace a representative and deliberate commission with one comprised of small town mayors and county commission chairs who are bound to be more bought into the same exurban exclusionary thinking that Davis subscribes to.

    Do transportation minded legislators in the General Assembly really take this guy seriously?

  2. Donkey Kong says:

    I love Steve Davis. He’s a rare gem. I’ve talked to him a bit and he’s got some great ideas, starting with HB1667 abolishing the state income tax in favor of a consumption tax. I’ve heard that this bill should be on the table for the upcoming session. Let’s hope it gets out of committee and passes!

    Rep. Davis is a no-b.s. politician who pushes for real change. Take a look through the legislation he’s sponsored. Georgia could use more conservative politicians like him.

  3. Harry says:

    I too have a high regard for Steve Davis. He’s in nobody’s pocket…a straight shooter. The ARC proposal may require further discussion and fine tuning, but he’s on the right track (pardon the pun) with the need to make it more representative.

  4. ToddRehm says:

    Steve Davis has put out more innovative proposals based on conservative principles than anyone else elected to the House in the last two cycles.

    If Davis’s proposals sometimes seem a little out there, consider how seriously people took John Linder’s 1998 proposal to abolish the IRS and replace it with a national sales tax.

    The FairTax may still be a long way off, if it ever passes, but Linder’s idea that seemed way out in right field a few years ago can now be considered pretty mainstream. At the very least, Linder shaped the debate about taxation more than most other politicians have.

  5. I’m sure Rep. Davis is a great & honorable guy & all but is the ARC broken to begin with?

    Is there some kind of powerplay going on?? Like ATLANTA regional Commission vs. atlanta REGIONAL Commission.

    If given a choice I would want more power with Atlanta- Without Atlanta there is no region worth having a commission about. . .

  6. Donkey Kong says:

    candlerparklib, “I’m sure Rep. Davis is a great & honorable guy” is a far cry from “Davis is an imbecile.” Change your mind or just a little worried you may have misjudged the guy? I don’t blame you because power struggles are the norm in politics, but I would be shocked if Rep. Davis’ motive is power. GA has some GREAT state reps (there’s also a great one in Barrow county) that aren’t in it for the power. They may be few, but they are there, and Rep. Davis has always been in this group to me.

  7. Rusty says:

    Hmm, too many Atlantans on the Atlanta Regional Commission, Davis says. I propose that the Henry County commission be composed solely of me, a Decatur resident. My proposal makes as much sense as Davis’ does.

  8. DougieFresh says:


    When you go out to lunch with friends, do all of you weigh yourselves to see who can eat the most food to determine who gets the most sway in selecting the restaurant?

    If you want the agreement of the smaller counties to get them to agree on proposals that help your county, then equal representation is the way to go. Otherwise eat alone.

  9. CMOB says:

    Davis is on to something here. Isn’t there a law suit about the distribution of money for Education where smaller counties (who are not maxed out on their school mileage rates) are insisting on getting more money out of the coffers? These counties argue just because they are small they shouldn’t get penalized and not get a fair portion of the funds.

    Henry is smaller but should participate equally like all the other 13 metro counties too. All this talk about regionalizing the cost of MARTA and Grady so we all can benefit is great for Dekalb and Fulton but when it comes to sharing the money just screw the little guy.

    Perhaps Davis can sue the ARC to get a fair shake for his constituents and all the smaller counties. I’ll support him.

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