Legislating out of the majority

In keeping with the theme of my column this week, I wanted to point out what could possibly lie ahead for Georgia Republicans if they continue to pursue their tax-and-spend course. The article is called How to Turn a Red State Blue from February of 2006 and it appeared in the Wall Street Journal. It describes why Republicans lost control in Virginia:

Republicans in that ostensibly “red” Southern state got their clocks cleaned in November’s elections after they refused to take a coherent stand on taxes, and Democrat Tim Kaine squeezed to their right on pocketbook issues. As GOP state senator Ken Cuccinelli explained, “We ran on a message of almost being for tax cuts, almost for smaller government, almost for protecting Second Amendment rights, and almost being pro-life. As a result, the voters almost came out and voted for us.”

And they apparently have learned nothing from that rout. When the legislature reconvened last month, the first proposal from the majority Republicans in the state senate was to endorse a $1 billion tax hike for roads and transit projects — the second huge tax increase in two years. The GOP plan would increase auto fees, the gas and diesel tax, and even taxes on batteries and tires. This is the same party that last won the governorship under Jim Gilmore in 1997 promising to abolish the very car taxes they now want to increase.
These tax-hike proposals keep coming despite a state revenue office report that Virginia now has a $2 billion biennial budget surplus. As a high-tech state, Virginia has been a huge beneficiary of the expansion spurred by the Bush investment tax cuts. But the entrenched senate Republicans — many of whom have been fixtures in the capital of Richmond for decades — want to spend the tax windfall and then some.

A Virginia Institute for Public Policy study notes that, over the past decade, the state budget has swollen at twice the rate of inflation plus population growth in the state. That’s an $11 billion bonanza for state agencies, or about $500 more spending annually per Virginian. It’s true that roads have been neglected during these high-spending years, causing some of the worst pockets of traffic gridlock in the country. But that’s because state pols spent like crazy on social services and schools — though student achievement tests show virtually no gains.

Every detail may not be the same (although you can make the argument that we don’t have a Republican governor) but Republicans in the Georgia General Assembly, specifically in the State House, are headed down a dangerous path and those who do not learns from lessons of the past are destined to repeat it.


  1. Harry says:

    Yep. It starts to feel like a lot of Republicans will not be super motivated to get RINOS re-elected, and just ordinary folk will sit home on election day.

    What happened to the promise that this year they were going to take a hard look at cutting the excess in a couple of major departments? What happened to pension reform?

  2. Cuccinelli ran against the worst candidate I have ever seen and barely hung on by about 100 votes in a district that is quickly trending Democratic.

    Personally, I don’t think voters want to dismantle government. However, it’s also hard for Republicans to effectively manage a government that, at their core, they don’t believe should exist.

    So, you guys are in between a rock and a hard place eventually, but might as well stick to your guns and try and dismantle it. That will at least make your voters happier.

  3. IndyInjun says:

    Here at PP we are not always consistent.

    Here we have suggestions that the Governor is less than a Republican and less than fiscally conservative.

    In an earlier topic, Ben Harbin is said to be fighting the Governor’s budget cuts.

    Who is more fiscally conservative, “true” GOPer Harbin or the “RINO” Perdue, keeping in mind that Harbin got that godawfull appropriation last year for the GGHOF&G?

    I also recall that Perdue had the guts about this time last year to actually do something about the $20 billion unfunded liability in the state employee health plan, but was quickly overwhelmed by the protests from teachers and state employees when he suggested that they might be needing to ante up. This was fiscal conservatism in action. It was political bravery in action, although one notes that he made no mention 3 months earlier while running for reelection.

    There are lots of things I don’t like about Sonny, but compared to Harbin and the rest of the House, he comes a hell of a lot closer to fiscal conservatism than the lot of them.

  4. Bull Moose says:

    When I go to church, my pastor says, don’t put your faith in me, I’ll let you down, put your faith in the Lord, he won’t let you down.

    The same can be said of Republicanism and the constant determination to wrap the party in the arms of whomever is the candidate of the day.

    We should all remember that the principles and convictions of Republicanism aren’t defined so much by the standard barer as they are of the guiding philosophy of the party.

    Each candidate or officeholder, regardless of party, are going to have different stances on different issues. That doesn’t make them a bad party person or a bad politician, it just means they have a different position.

    Sonny did for the Republican Party what no one else could do and that was to make us the Majority Party in Georgia. Many people, myself included, didn’t think he could win back in 2002. Boy have we been proved wrong that, not only did he win, but he was reelected.

  5. Martiros says:

    Competition and a working coalition between parties is a habitat for good government.

    When one party has a lead over the other that is so solid and appears to not be contested as much as possible, bad things happen.

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