House Votes Down Speaker’s Tax Plan

…And Glenn Richardson is giving a pretty angry and rhetoric-filled speech.

Click here to watch the debate live.

The key quote thus far is “For the last year, I have been assailed, maligned, and cursed. I have been the poster boy for anyone who wants to oppose anything.”

Thus sayeth the Speaker of the Georgia House.

[UPDATE 3:51]: The House has voted and the result is 110 – 62. The Speaker’s tax plan was ten votes shy of the 120 votes needed for passage.

[UPDATE 3:44]: State Rep. Jerry Keen, the House Majority Leader, is currently speaking. Keen was preceded by the House Republican Whip Barry Fleming. Calling it the largest tax cut in Georgia history, Fleming called on Democrats to support the proposed constitutional amendment saying, “If you vote no on this bill, you are voting no on $74 million in funding for trauma care. If this fails today, it will be because we didn’t get help from the other side of the aisle.”

[UPDATE 3:33]: DeKalb state Rep. Kevin Levitas becomes the first Democrat to defect and announce his support of the bill. Too bad the state Democratic Party has instituted its incumbent protection policy.

[UPDATE 3:29]: House Republican Caucus Chair Jay Roberts said the tax plan will “help rural Georgia.” Roberts concluded his remarks saying, “Give the people of Georgia the opportunity to vote on how they want to be taxed.” You know you’re in trouble when legislators start talking about the “people of Georgia.”

[UPDATE 3:17]: Speaker Pro Tempore Burkhalter called the car tag tax “a systematically bad idea.” He also said that “twenty other states don’t have ad valorem taxes on their vehicles” and that the plan would eliminate the tax on 7 million vehicles. The House Ways & Means Committee Chair Larry O’Neal is currently speaking.

[UPDATE 3:03]: Richardson has concluded his remarks; the Speaker Pro Tempore, Mark Burkhalter, is now speaking and is calling Richardson’s travels around the state a “crusade.” I’m curious about Richardson’s intent to return the money lost by the local jurisdictions back to them. It was a question asked by State Rep. Gene Maddox; “Mr. Speaker, how are we going to guarantee giving the money back?” Richardson’s response was that the bill would constitutionally mandate it. I’m not sure how that would work.

[UPDATE 2:49]: Speaker Richardson announces trauma care funding is attached to his tax plan. Another key quote is “Sometimes we can’t see the opportunities that we have. How many times have you had the opportunity to do this much good? You’re either going to say that you’re going to listen to the people in the hall or you’re going to listen to the people of Georgia.”


  1. landon says:

    Does anybody on the blog know how much more this plan will change after the House passes it?

    I just hope they take the car tax away, and keep a statewide assessment freeze. If Republicans want to continue to make gains, they need to cut, not just redistribute taxes.

  2. Chris says:

    “I have no intention of recommiting this bill. I have no intention of bringing back this bill”

  3. Chris says:

    landon –

    The house changed SR796 in committee, so it will have to go back to the Senate prior to appearing on the ballot. Const Amendments don’t require the Gov’s signature.

  4. landon says:

    Thanks Chris, just curious. Based on the Speaker’s actions, I think that this bill has the votes, or he would not have brought it to the floor.

  5. landon says:

    Representative Kevin Levitas
    HD 82 (D – Atlanta) – He spoke after Rep. Sean Jerguson (R- Holly Springs)

    It needs 120 votes, it is bi-partisan. People will oppose it, but they will most likely speak later. It was the same with I E squared.

  6. “For the last year, I have been assailed, maligned, and cursed. I have been the poster boy for anyone who wants to oppose anything.”

    Why not say that he’s pleased to provide some tax relief for the people of Georgia and that he’ll be ack for more?

    This whining is unbecoming Mr. Speaker.

  7. BobG says:

    In this debate, we shouldn’t confuse eliminating the car tax (fine with me) with an assessment ‘freeze’ (a local government funding disaster). And let’s also remember that the trauma center is the carrot, designed to shame folks into voting for the total package.

  8. dorian says:

    Main Entry:

    1 : a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power

  9. landon says:

    Wow, I was dead wrong
    I wonder what’s next for leadership, I thought after waiting this long they would not bring something to the floor that did not have the votes

  10. BobG says:

    Perhaps, now that this bullet has been dodged, we can all encourage our legislators to educate themselves on this issue. Property tax reform is needed, but an assessment freeze is not the answer.

  11. IndyInjun says:


    Cutting what spending is not political suicide?

    Cutting spending is the only answer, but until the Tsunami of horrendous price inflation in the necessities of life gobbles up all disposable income, we will continue to be gouged to the max to support bloated government.

    The majority of people enjoy getting taxed to . death. GREAT CRAP did nothing meaningful to cut taxes, only to shift them.

  12. Bull Moose says:

    Oh well, the best hopes for tax relief are the two senate bills… This Richardson bill had some gaping holes that would have left unfunded mandates passed down to cities and counties which would have required further increases in property taxes to make up the difference…

    Plus, we’ve got to get Republicans to realize that you should only cut taxes when you are meeting your obligations.

    The state continues to unfund counties for housing state prisoners causing another unfunded mandate and increases in property taxes.

    Not to mention the hundreds of millions that are cut from education.

    I’m all for tax cuts, but not if it means creating a disaster that has to be cleaned up in 10 years…

  13. IndyInjun says:

    “I’m all for tax cuts, but not if it means creating a disaster that has to be cleaned up in 10 years…”

    One of the absolutely worst attributes of the GOP is demanding tax cuts, everything else be damned.

    The governor had the temerity – read here as fiscal responsibility – earl;y last year to actually suggest that a combination of benefit cuts, tax increases, or premium deduction increases would be a sound way to deal with the $20 billion of unfunded state employee benefits.

    A firestorm promptly erupted. Between the fiscally irresponsible legislators and the employee interests, NOTHING was done.

    The pols are irresponsible.
    The teachers and employees are irresponsible.
    The people are irresponsible.

    Meanwhile the financial devastation grows like an untreated cancer.

    Leadership is nowhere to be found.

  14. dorian says:

    How lucky we all are Indy to have you as the majority of one point out everyones shortcomings, except yours. Funny, that’s exactly what most people don’t like about Glenn. As the sole responsible person. . .wait. . .it’s you, RON PAUL, and Chuck Norris. . .as the sole responsible persons in the universe, I vote we all submit to you absolute power.

    Turn down the boorish sophistry a few notiches, m’kay?

  15. IndyInjun says:

    Funny, Dorian, but my post was in praise of Governor Perdue’s attempted responsibility with respect to a whopping $20 billion problem, one that amounts to $10,000 for a family of four in this state.

    Responsibility quickly gave way to politics.

  16. StevePerkins says:

    Maybe if the Speaker could string together a two-week period of time without any scandal casting doubt on his personal ethics and/or political judgment, I’d have more sympathy for his whining over how he feels picked on.

    In all seriousness, WHY is this guy the Speaker? I understand that he’s the guy who finally brought down Tom Murphy, but so what? This state was trending so strongly GOP that most anybody could have pulled off that feat under the circumstances. Judged on the merits in the here-and-now, I don’t see how one could argue that Richardson is not a failure in the position.

  17. Progressive Dem says:

    This was a bad bill. The State needs to be focused on their revenue and spending. Local governments need to focus on their revenue and spending. Local governments will curb their spending and revenue in response to the demands of their citizens. When voters are fed up, they change local leadership. We don’t need a Mommy State government “protecting us” from our duly elected local government.

  18. ksuowls81 says:

    Am I the only one who was excited about the prospect of not having to pay $300 in car tax on my birthday?

    Just my opinion, but I don’t think that money going into the Ga. School system is the reason why our academics are so bad. I think that it is the type of family that our children come from that makes our system so bad. Simply put stupid parents=stupid children. I think that we could invest 100% more in our school system and we would still be at the bottom of the list.

  19. dorian says:

    So, who is kidding Indy? Look man, I gotta hand it to you, you know your facts. Really, really well, but debating you is like debating the Encyclopedia Brittanica. I mean, you may be right, but so what? Perdue is a disaster. He is a paper tiger. He does a good job of running the government like a business – if that business is a McDonalds. He saves money, but so what? Nothing works. The roads stink. Traffic in Atlanta is so bad it can’t be fixed. Mental health system is in shambles. DHR is in shambles. The education system is a nightmare. As far as I can tell, his only claim to fame is boat ramps. Wow! Color me impressed.

    And, no, he didn’t create the mess, but he darn sure hasn’t done anything to make anything better except stick my tax dollars in a $2 billion dollar bank account.

  20. IndyInjun says:


    I made no claim that the Governor is a hero of mine, either. I was merely pointing out that in the very rare occasions during which a politician even breathes something that suggests leadership, he is quickly shot down.

    Until the people elect folks who are not career politicians who care more about reelection than solving tough issues, this is what we get.

    From all that I can tell, no one displaying a hint of leadership can even get elected.

    As far as sticking our tax money in a $2 billion bank account, revenues are very likely to fall, so we might need the reserves. Also, $2 billion gets us 1/10 th of the way toward solving the employee liability.

    Had Perdue remotely hinted a curbs on the metro area growth, the GOP business interests would have had his head in 06.

    One thing we agree on – at $4 gas this summer and lake levels 15 feet low, those boat ramps are not going to be highly utilized.

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