Lunsford on the GlennTax

State Rep. John Lunsford wrote about the GREAT plan today over at his blog:

Unfortunately, there has been some confusion about the details of the current plan to eliminate property taxes. We are not proposing to raise the sales tax or income tax rates. When HR 900 was originally written, it was intended simply as a framework to open debate, gather ideas, and obtain input. Since then, we have received complaints, suggestions, and opinions from citizens all across the state and that is exactly what we wanted.
[…]
The GREAT Plan calls for a sales, use, and service tax of 4 percent. It also calls for an elimination of many sales tax exemptions that special interests have accumulated over the years. By taxing services and eliminating most exemptions, we can generate the same amount of money being generated from the property tax, and we can eliminate all property taxes in Georgia.

Local counties, cities and school districts will be guaranteed to receive no less than the amount they are currently receiving. If local control is what a community wants, they may continue local option sales taxes such as the SPLOST and ELOST, all of which will continue to be determined by the vote of the citizens.

We have opened a dialogue in this state on serious reform of taxes so that Georgia may lead the nation. I welcome any and all discussion and debate about tax reform and HR 900. Over the coming months, we will hold hearings and continue to seek advice. I look forward to hearing from you and working together to make Georgia a GREAT place to live, work, and raise a family.. If you would like to reach me, please call me at (404) 656-7573 or write me at: State Rep. John Lunsford, 401, State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334 or e-mail me at [email protected].

The Governor weighed in on the idea as well:

Perdue says he supports studying a plan by House Speaker Glen Richardson that would eliminate all property taxes in exchange for a higher sales tax.

He also says it bares studying the elimination of income tax as well.

“I think everyone agrees that property tax isn’t a pleasant surprise during the Christmas holidays, most of the time when they’re coming due, but neither are income taxes in the spring on April 15th as well,” says Perdue.

31 comments

  1. Donkey Kong says:

    The supposed solution to local control is purely short-term. As time progresses and communities develop, populations shift and grow, the current level of funding will be insufficient. This push for additional fund allocation is when we will realize this bill really does erode local control.

    I think the spirit of the bill is good-we do need to end property tax and broaden sales tax to spread the tax burden to all who receive governmental benefit. But the cost of this bill-widespread erosion of local control-is a cost too high to pay.

  2. Decaturguy says:

    I love how he just glosses over the huge tax increase that this would implement on services in Georgia or how cities and counties would now be at the mercy of the State Legislature and the all powerful Speaker when it comes to funding local services. Nice try Representative Lunsford, but you need to be honest with us about the fact that this bill raises taxes and essentially eliminates local control.

  3. Bull Moose says:

    My concern with the plan is the great tax shift that would occur in cities, counties, and school boards having to lobby the state to get money.

    That is my chief concern.

    Other concerns are the new burden that would now be on seniors (who presently enjoy large property tax exemptions in some counties) and what about those communities that have Stephens-Day. They will now be paying higher taxes on goods and services.

    I applaud the Speaker for initiating the conversation and in theory, I support this, but I just think some concerns need to be thought about proactively and not reactively.

  4. dorian says:

    What about folks that live in Augusta, Columbus, Valdosta, etc.? Those places would be extremely attractive areas to live in, since people could shop in another state and pay no extra taxes. Then again, I suppose the state could require “use” tax returns.

  5. Decaturguy says:

    I think you would have to tap my internet connection and confiscate my credit card bills in order to prove that I owe a use tax for items shipped from out of state purchased on the internet.

    So much for a smaller, less intrusive government!

  6. The Comma Guy says:

    The Moose is loose on this one. I still think that the GlennTax is going to be a way for the ruling party to exact revenge on locations that do not support them financially or politically. BM

  7. jsm says:

    “So much for a smaller, less intrusive government!”

    Yeah, the one that owns your property. If you fall on hard times and can’t come up with the cash to pay property taxes, your “less intrusive” government takes possession of what you thought you owned–for pennies on the dollar.

    I’d rather see the state allow counties to determine their own education sales tax rate and collect it in their own community. The state BOE could then be pared down and funded with income tax.

  8. Decaturguy says:

    JSM,

    It is time to use a little common sense and think. What kind of idiot is going to let the government take possession of their house for “pennies on the dollar?” If they can’t afford to pay their property taxes then they will sell the house. They will have plenty of notice before the government will have a tax sale.

    I don’t want our tax policy in this state to be a certain way because we want to protect morons from themselves.

  9. dingleberry says:

    Bull Moose,

    I heard you got the endorsement of our tax and spend liberal Lt. Governor!

    Congrats on a doomed campaign. Doomed.

  10. jsm says:

    You’re missing the point, decatur. Owning something means you don’t have to pay for it anymore. Under current law, I have to pay the government every year for the privilege of continuing to occupy my property. My government even has bonds that are backed by their right to take away my property. Do you not see a problem with that? Property tax is based on Marxist ideology.

    BTW, conservatives are not the group known for trying to “protect morons from themselves.”

  11. griftdrift says:

    jsm, maybe you should disconnect the Marxist sewer and waterlines. Oh and if you ever sell don’t forget to give back any gains caused by the Marxist schools and Marxist roads that created an opportunity for your property to be sold at a higher value.

  12. Painterman says:

    While the “GREAT” plan seems to generally criticized here and other political blog spots, I’m hearing from a lot of non political types, at work, grocery store, neighbors, acquaintances, who know I keep up with political issues, and all are asking me questions about the plan and if they will have a chance to vote on it. The “Average Joe”, at least those in my area, is very tired of property taxes, and is chomping at the bit for a chance to replace it with something like this.

  13. jsm says:

    grift, somehow I don’t think Marx came up with the idea of “promot[ing] the general welfare.” His ideology had more to do with how these services are funded and controlled. Nice try, though.

  14. Decaturguy says:

    Glad to know that this is all about ideology rather than being about the best way to raise revenue for government services. And, yes, in this case, jsm, you are trying to protect stupid people from themselves? Who else would let a fully paid off $200,000 house be seized by the government for non-payment of a $2,000 tax bill? A stupid person.

  15. Jason Pye says:

    I’m not the biggest fan of this proposal, but I like that debate that is ensuing around it.

    Who else would let a fully paid off $200,000 house be seized by the government for non-payment of a $2,000 tax bill? A stupid person.

    No, that is a principled person.

    Property taxes are a sham and you do have to ask yourself who owns the property, you or the government?

  16. Decaturguy says:

    Again, Jason, someone who so blindly follows an ideology that they would take a $198,000 loss over ideology might be principled, but they are also very, very stupid.

  17. dorian says:

    You know, of all the things that the government does to find objectionable, it is a sad, sorry, state of affairs to draw your line in the sand over property taxes. Congrats on being a lemming in Glenn’s demagogue delusion. Try not to push the rest of us over the cliff with you.

  18. Jason Pye says:

    I’ve felt that way about property taxes for a long time. There is something fundamentally wrong with taxing someone’s property.

    That said, I don’t support the Speaker’s plan.

  19. jaybird says:

    Question:

    How does eliminating property taxes impact CID’s and TAD’s, both of which relay on taxing properties? Both of these are being used by local governments to promote economic growth such as the Beltline.

  20. Decaturguy says:

    Final point from me. Even Speaker Richardson says that his plan is going to generate the same amount of revenue as the current tax structure (although I find that argument flawed since it will be much easier to avoid taxes under his system). So that means that the tax burden on the public will be the same. His plan does not lower the overall tax burden.

    The only difference will be that tax collection and distribution of revenues will now be centralized in an all powerful big state government (particularly in the hands of the Speaker) rather than local government, where the elected officials are more accountable to the voters. That, if find, unacceptable.

  21. dorian says:

    Yea, jsm, kinda like the ideology and principles of local control and decentralization which many support significantly more than whether or not people pay property taxes. Coincidentally, these are the same principles our founding fathers had. Don’t miss the forest for the trees.

  22. eburke says:

    I tend to agree with Decaturguy:

    “The only difference will be that tax collection and distribution of revenues will now be centralized in an all powerful big state government (particularly in the hands of the Speaker) rather than local government, where the elected officials are more accountable to the voters. That, if find, unacceptable.”

    Is this Tax Reform or Consolidation of Power in the hands of the General Assembly? I would like to see real reform. I am very afraid of this power grab by the State Government.

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