Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson had told reporters that unless lawmakers could agree upon a tax relief plan, it was probably curtains for the road tax and for the trauma-funding fee. Cagle chimed in a bit later, saying that to reach an agreement on tax cuts, there had to be an agreement on spending cuts.
“A tax cut has to be matched with spending reductions,” Cagle told reporters. “I think it’s hard to sell a tax cut when you’re not willing to cut spending, either.”
House Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter shot back in a statement he issued later: “The members of the Georgia State Senate want to vote on tax cuts, but unfortunately, the lieutenant governor has been able to find any number of reasons not to let them vote to eliminate the tag tax. The best way to cut spending is to cut state revenue by lowering taxes. The House has now voted three times for tax cuts, and we are ready to vote again.”
The House tax cut plan not only doesn’t decrease spending, it CONSTITUTIONALLY MANDATES INCREASED SPENDING, by requiring the state to make up the revenues lost by the car tag tax cut to cities and counties. The so-called compromise the Speaker offered provided had the income tax cut begin in 2011 – long after this recession will be over (we hope) thereby gutting the Senate’s position that tax cuts should be immediate to provide economic stimulus.
The Senate has disappointed on Sunday Sales and not voting on overrides as intended by our state constitution (even if the language is legal), but they are a far better body than the House.