…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.”