Essig: Speaker’s plan “a disaster” but it will pass.

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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8 comments

  1. StevePerkins says:

    I’m my heart of hearts, I still just can’t imagine anything this grossly retarded actually passing. Yeah, I’m sure there are lots of right-wing blogger activists, who don’t concern themselves with “math” or “reason”… and merely cling to the faith that they’ll wind up slightly better off than someone else after the shell-game gets shuffled (i.e. the FairTax mentality). Also, there are probably plenty of right-wingers who understand good and well that this would be horrible for our state’s public school systems, and favor the plan BECAUSE of that reason. However, I just can’t see moderate Joe Sixpack jumping on either bandwagon… and Main Street hasn’t even begun to pay attention to this issue yet.

    As an aside… what the hell is a “blue-ribbon” panel? I’ve never understood what the term is supposed to mean. In practical use, it always seems to mean “Some politician is passing the buck to a phony proxy in order to cover his ass for making the decision… but it’s okay, because we’re using a special, impressive-sounding term to describe that panel.” Whenever I hear the term “blue ribbon”, I always assume that someone’s trying really hard to distract from either a fraud or a lack of willingness to be decisive themselves.

  2. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    No one has been able to explain this to me, so I think I’ll just cut and paste it into every discussion we have on the “GREAT” Tax:

    If you live in an area with low property tax rates, like I do, wouldn

  3. Jmac says:

    By ‘left-leaning’ do you really mean ‘gee, frequently their findings don’t match my ideological beliefs’ …

    And I concur LIMH.

  4. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    Jmac, well they are generally left-leaning, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot come up with the correct conclusion…which in this case, they have: The “GREAT” Tax sucks ASS.

  5. Jmac,

    GBPI is left leaning and GPPF is right leaning. It wasn’t meant as an attack. However, when Essig says we need to raise taxes he doesn’t sound like a Republican. Well, let me rephrase that. He doesn’t sound like a Republican used to sound.

  6. kog says:

    As I understand it, your problem with the GREAT tax is not how schools would be financed, but rather the level of funding provided for education? And whatever happened to the lawsuit filed by a consortium of school systems claiming the property tax funded schools are unconstitutional?

    Off topic, but since you bring it up most of the people I know are “hostile” to the public school cartel only to the extent to which the schools fail in their mission. As a very basic measure of how bad our state schools are, consider the dropout rate. If the Post Office failed to deliver 40% of the packages they accepted, would you consider it “hostile” to advocate for alternatives and common sense reform?

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