In a shocking development, Alan Essig of the left leaning Georgia Budget and Policy Institute doesn’t like Speaker Richardson’s GREAT plan. However, he thinks it will pass:
“Very few (legislators) tell me they think it’s a good idea,” Essig said. “At the same time, very few tell me they’ll vote against it.”
The speaker’s proposal requires a Constitutional amendment that can’t be vetoed, so Gov. Sonny Perdue has little say in it.
But Essig called on Perdue to appoint a nonpartisan blue-ribbon tax reform panel that could give cover to legislators who want to vote against Richardson’s plan but don’t think they can get away with it.
If it’s on the ballot, voters will pass it, he said.
“As Americans, it’s in our DNA to hate taxes,” he said. “We were born in a tax rebellion.”
That would be a disaster for the state’s economy and ability to provide services, especially education and health care, Essig said.
Low- and middle-income Georgians would pay an even bigger proportion of their incomes under Richardson’s plan than they do under Georgia’s already-regressive tax system, he said.
Taxing services and getting rid of sales tax exemptions like the one on groceries won’t make up the $8.5 billion to $9.5 billion property tax cut, Essig said.
“There’s nothing that adds up even close to $9.5 billion,” he said. “In my mind, the math just doesn’t work.”
Of course, Essig says what Georgia needs to do is raise taxes on the rich and tax some currently untaxed services. Pardon me while I pick myself up off the floor.
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