If you were looking forward to your tax cut, blame the Speaker

Speaker Richardson is out blaming everyone but himself for the failure of the GOP to give the much touted tax cuts. The Speaker should be commended for his desire to end the ad valorem tax structure in the state, but he spent so much time diddling, retooling, and God knows what else with which lobbyists, the measure collapsed under its own weight.

The people of Georgia were promised meaningful tax reforms this session. Lowering the income tax would have been a meaningful reform as it would have been effective immediately, would have promoted business stability in a time of potential economic downturns, and would have increased available spending for Georgia citizens.

But Glenn Richardson wanted it his way. He wanted to end the property tax. But he didn’t. He wanted to end ad valorem taxes. Except he didn’t. He wanted to end the car tag. Yes, that’s it. That’s the ticket! After months and months of selling his plan and changing his plan and selling the new plan and changing the new plan and selling the new new plan and changing the new new plan and selling the new new new plan and changing the new new new plan, the Speaker was finally left with the bare outlines of his old vision that would be phased in over so long a period as to be economically useless in an economy going downhill.

Should we get rid of the tag tax? Sure. Should we have killed meaningful reform proposals that were not the Speaker’s because the little man didn’t get his way? No.

The Speaker, who probably should have spent less time doing whatever else he was doing, and more time getting the details of his plan right out of the gate instead of subjecting all of us to multiple revisions multiple times, failed to deliver.

At the end of the day, despite his throwing blame in every direction, but his own, it’d be nice if the guy would just admit that he himself screwed up and, in the process, screwed the whole state out of any sort of tax reform.

Likewise, I hope House Republicans keep this in the back of their mind and stew over it.

22 comments

  1. tinsandwich says:

    This is not totally the speakers fault. It takes two to tangle and both houses to pass a bill.

    What you fail to mention in your tirade is that the Lt. Gov. never allowed his chamber to have a say on the tax measures. There are many faults to find in the speakers style and leadership ability but he did put the plan before his people for a vote.

    I don’t care if you believe the tax was “meaningful” or not. Let the people have a say!

  2. Groseclose says:

    Well it might be debatable who is most culpable for the failed tax reform, but there is little doubt who is the most childish of the two chambers’ leaders. Members of the House should take a hard look at the Speaker post next year–Richardson is an embarassment to the whole party!

  3. Painterman says:

    Why is it the Speakers fault when 3 times the conference committee came to agreement and still the Lt Gov would not allow it on the floor for a vote? No! The blame lies at the feet of the Lt Gov. Cagle can kiss my bumper! I’ll remember this every birthday that he allowed this “birthday present” to still be around! Cagle would not even do the obvious thing in having the senate vote on the veto overrides! The man is a disgrace to the office and yet he’s the sensible one? My eye! Kiss my Bumper, you sorry excuse for a Lt Gov.

  4. Dave Bearse says:

    Though a critic of both Richardson’s substance and style, and an opponent of repeal of motor vehicle ad valorem taxes, I’ve got to agree with Painterman the failure to reduce taxes this seesion is squarely on Cagle.

    If Cagle was serious about tax reduction, he’d have made a serious proposal earlier in the session. The proposed income tax reduction instead came out of the woodwork at the end of the session only as Richardson’s proposal was gaining steam. The timing of the income tax reduction gives it the stink of a proposal intended merely to thrwart Richardson’s proposal, not a proponent of tax reduction.

  5. John Konop says:

    I am all for lower taxes like any other rational person.

    The truth is the system is broken via education, transportation and healthcare. Fixing the system will take a combination of utilizing resources better as well as people contributing to the system via fees or tax dollars.

    The truth is a growing drop out rate kills our economy and cost the state more money in the long run. The truth is the current healthcare system punishes people who play by the rules. The truth is developers and new homeowners want a free lunch on the real cost of new roads, transportation system, schools, water…..

    We need the debate to move toward solutions on both sides not political pandering.

    The real question is how?

  6. Chris says:

    If Richardson was serious about tax reduction, he’d have made a serious proposal earlier in the session.

    His plan was half cocked – he didn’t listen to the advice of this economist (Laffer) who said income tax cuts would have more impact – he kept revising it down to the last weeks of the session.

    The Tax Jesus came down off the mountain (I know mixing biblical metaphors is a sin) saying “behold! here is my tax plan. Aint it nifty. Now vote for it”. The grown-ups in the legislature all said wha? Even the house members didn’t like it, but as we saw earlier in the session, you don’t dis the speaker and not find your office in the basement behind the mildewing stacks of 1974 whitebooks.

    Frankly, I’m not sure I’m gonna pull out my credit card and donate a dime to the Georgia GOP till that punk-ass is gone.

  7. Gag Halfrunt says:

    In which piece of legislation did Sonny embed his personal tax cut for this session?

  8. Rpolitic says:

    Keep this in mind, for over 10 years Republicans have called for the end of the car tag tax, and now some (1) republican seems to have forgotten.

    This was all done for lobbyists in the hall by the lt gov. He wants to make suer their dollars continue to flow. The sad part is that for the most part they have kept around the old democrats and adopted their sleazy ways. What it is time for is Republicans to step up and tell the other republicans that we won’t do business that way anymore.

    Oh and one last thought on this argument, Casey cannot and will not lead, he could win a caucus election and only because the Senator chose to carry him did he beat Ralph. The mistake that those Senators made was to give a Senator who could not lead before the power back to try and lead the Senate now. I wonder if any of them realize what a mistake that was?

  9. Bill Simon says:

    Dunno about the senate, but I know there are some hopped-up pretty POed reps who stuck their necks out far for Casey Cagle in the race against Ralphie, only to personally experience and witness the sheer daftness of Lite Guv in action.

  10. bc_its_right says:

    What it is time for is Republicans to step up and tell the other republicans…

    Interesting, as that is exactly what is starting to happen.

    Casey Cagle – huh? interesting

    Just thought I’d share.

    April 3, 2008

    Representative Amos Amerson
    401 State Capitol
    Atlanta, Georgia 30334

    Georgia Senators
    Georgia Representatives

    Re: Georgia Education Legislation SB 461, HB 1321, HB 384 – A Travesty in Justice

    Dear Representative Amerson,

    First, I want to express my sincerest appreciation for your public service and that of Rebecca Hammock’s. As you know, a colleague and I met with you on Monday, March 31, 2008 regarding my opposition to SB 461. I shared my concerns about laws that are intended for good, but have unintended negative consequences and are currently being used against children, parents and families throughout Georgia. These shameful practices have gone so far that my own son, who is a good student in Forsyth County, has suffered retaliation, because of my volunteer advocacy work for the past 8 years.

    I have advocated in Fulton County, Dekalb County, Cobb County, Gwinnett County, Houston County, Gainesville City, Bibb County, Newton County, Worth County, Walton County, Hall County and Forsyth County Schools, just to name a few. I have witnessed and have evidence of the unjust, humiliating, disrespectful and abusive mistreatment of children across-the-board in Georgia. It is no surprise that children are coming into our schools and shooting others out of the frustration and hopelessness they feel. It truly is unbelievable, and that is part of the problem too. We don’t believe the children.

    I became extremely frustrated after trying to call, email, or fax several Senators and Representatives in Georgia that were elected to serve the interests of the public. My concern was for legislation that would negatively impact the 1.2 million children in Georgia public schools, as well as their families. Some of the responses I received were so troubling that I drove over an hour to The Capitol to personally find out what was going on. I understand the stress that many are under when serving the public- it is not an easy task. There are always two sides to every issue and no one can ever please everyone, but we are talking about the lives of our most valuable resource; children.

    Please understand that my concerns and those of others are out of frustration over bills and laws that have in fact been applied “unjustly” and used against children, their families and the public you serve. As I stated in my public comment on March 26, 2008, I considered bringing the boxes of case files that would fill a room which prove the children and parents are not lying, but there are so many they would not fit in my car.

    My experience at The Capitol, describes and explains the frustrations of many public citizens. When I called the offices of several Senators and Representatives, I was told not to fax the petition signed by public citizens, as they were expecting important contracts. I understand that contracts are important, but this concerns the lives of 1.2 million children in Georgia and their families. I then asked about emailing, as several public citizens wanted to email. It seems that too is a problem for some. It was explained to me that they get hundreds of emails and that many times the public citizens are uninformed. Is that surprising? I then asked: Well, if we can’t call, email or fax them pertinent information, then do you prefer that we come down there? Apparently, that too is a problem for some, not all, Senators and Representatives.

    I left messages for several Senators and Representatives, but some of the calls were not returned, even though some of the Senators and Representative I left messages for know that I have advocated for children and families in the districts they serve. I thought: this is contradictory to how the legislature was designed to operate. This is not democracy at work for The People of Georgia.

    How are Georgia Senators and Representatives supposed to know how we; the public citizens would like them to vote, if we can’t call, email, fax or have special badges for access. I even found that Senators and Representatives have an alternate email they only give to “certain” citizens. How will Senators and Representatives know how to vote for the average public citizens if they can’t call, email, fax or meet with them? So where is the voice of The People in this supposed democratic process? I guess I and other average citizens will have to sharpen our skills in Mental Telepathy to communicate with those we elected to serve the public interest. Perhaps ESP will have the same impact and influence on our Senators and Representatives as those that can afford attorneys and lobbyists to champion their cause.

    This brings me to my next area of concern. While at The Capitol I heard several lobbyists lobbying for public schools and educators. However, not once did I hear any concern for the CHILDREN, Parents and Families involved in Georgia public schools. There are lobbyists representing the interests of every educator, special interest group and others connected with Georgia Public Education, as you can see by the attached (Exhibit #1).

    Who lobbies and speaks for the children, parents and families negatively impacted in Georgia public schools? Since public schools are paid for with our public tax dollars; I’d like to know the amount of our tax dollars being paid by “our” public schools to lobby for laws and the interests of those employed by or affiliated with public schools? How is it that our public tax dollars are being used to protect the interests of government schools and others connected to them, while the children, their families and average citizens do not get the same? The average citizen does not have the financial means to hire a lobbyist or attorney. How is their voice heard, so that it may influence laws that are supposed to be by the people and for the people?

    Obviously, I am not a politician and I may not be politically correct in saying it, but it needs to be said:

    Special Interest Groups, their attorneys and lobbyists have high-jacked democracy in Georgia
    Georgia Laws are stacked AGAINST the children, parents and families in Georgia Public Schools
    Our God-given rights and responsibility for our children
    Do NOT stop at the doorstep of public schools

    I really want to know the answers to my questions, because I often hear we need to invest more in our public schools – “public education is under-funded”. If funding is really an issue, then my first suggestion is to limit the use of the people’s tax dollars to special interest groups, their attorneys and lobbying activities, which are sometimes unjust and negatively impact the children. This not only doesn’t serve the public’s interests, but in some instances it creates the issues we currently have in public education.

    Now, to another politically incorrect question: How much of our tax dollars are being spent for public schools and educators to have “legal representation” and “educational consultants” that work for attorneys representing and protecting the interests of our public schools? Again, we; the average citizens hear how public education is under-funded, yet there is enough money for attorneys, educational consultants that work for attorneys, and lobbyists for schools to protect the interests of public education, instead of educating the children. Surely, the voices of our children and families in Georgia do not fall on deaf ears.

    Please tell me that democracy is still alive and well in Georgia. Show us with your votes that the voice of our children and average citizens in Georgia is worth protecting, more than special interest groups that are using our public tax dollars to access our Senators and Representatives to lobby for laws that continue to be used against children, families and average citizens in Georgia.

    I, and others have simply asked for laws that give “equal” protections and legal representation for our children and their families in Georgia. We have been given a list of excuses as to why that is not possible. Well then, will someone please explain why our leaders in Georgia on both sides have passed laws giving protections and legal representation only to “certain” individuals in education? Attached please find the current Georgia laws protecting educators, but not children or parents (Exhibit #2). Who voted in favor of these laws, that currently can be used against the children, parents and others who disagree with educators in Georgia? Are children not individuals, protected under the constitution? How can we morally and ethically allow anything less for our children?

    As a Republican, I am ashamed of what I experienced and witnessed at The Capitol in Georgia. I am starting to wonder just how I will vote in the next election. Many Republicans, claim to be Christians, yet much of what I witnessed leaves doubt.

    I do applaud both Rebecca Hammock and you. I walked into your office on March 31, 2008, as a concerned constituent. I was not asked my name or anything. Rebecca Hammock greeted me, in a warm and inviting manner. She walked us straight back to your office to talk to you. You welcomed us and listened to my concerns and asked Ms. Hammock to get a copy of SB 461. We reviewed SB 461 line by line. I’ve heard several rumors about you, but I must say – Representative Amerson, as far as I am concerned, I am glad that you are my Representative. You were kind enough to ask about my older son’s experience, which took place over 8 years ago. You patiently listened to what my younger son has had to endure at Forsyth County Schools, as a result of my work. We may not agree every time and I’m sure we will communicate in the future. We may disagree in the future, but the manner of treating public citizens in your office should be adopted and be an example to be followed by all at The Capitol. I also want to thank Debbie Lynn of Representative Burkhalter’s office. She too has always treated me with respect and kindly assisted me, even though I was not a constituent or wearing a “badge”. The Clerk’s Office has also been very kind and helpful.

    It is because of you, Rebecca Hammock, Debbie Lynn and those in the Clerk’s Office that I have not lost faith and hope for Georgia.

    As we come to an end of this legislative session, many important bills will be debated on the floor. I, and others will be watching. The vote of every Senator and Representative will show us if you are willing to set aside the special interest groups and their attorneys, and do what is right for our children. I expect that for every law that extends protection to an educator, the same be extended to a child. In my opinion, to do anything less is unacceptable, unethical and certainly not Christian. I leave you and your colleagues with this verse, as you vote on Friday:

    Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people…
    -Isaiah 10: 1-3 (NIV)

    Respectfully submitted,

    Carmen Allen
    Georgia Education Advocate
    PLSP III

    Cc: House Education Committee
    House Rules Committee
    List serves serving children
    Distribute far and wide

    Exhibit #1
    List of schools and organizations connected to Georgia Public Education
    http://www.ethics.ga.gov/Reports/lobbyist/Lobbyist_Menu.aspx
    Georgia School Boards Association, Georgia Department of Education, Fulton County Schools, Atlanta Public Schools, City Schools of Decatur, Cobb County School District, Georgia School Superintendents Association, Dekalb County School System, Baldwin County School System, Bibb County School District, Peach County School District, Pulaski School District, Muscogee County School District, Georgia Education Coalition, Professional Association of Georgia Educators, Georgia Association of Educational Leaders, Georgia Charter Schools Association, American Board of Certification of Teacher Excellence, Teachers Retirement System of Georgia, Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals, Georgia Vocational Agriculture Teacher Association and the list goes on and on for those employed in Georgia public education.

    Exhibit #2
    Why can these laws be written to protect those employed in education, but not our children, parents, families and public citizens? Where is the justice for the children or parents?

    TITLE 20. EDUCATION
    CHAPTER 2. ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
    ARTICLE 27. LOITERING AT OR DISRUPTING SCHOOLS
    O.C.G.A. § 20-2-1182 (2007)
    § 20-2-1182. Persons other than students who insult or abuse school teachers in presence of pupils may be ordered to leave school premises
    Any parent, guardian, or person other than a student at the public school in question who has been advised that minor children are present and who continues to upbraid, insult, or abuse any public school teacher, public school administrator, or public school bus driver in the presence and hearing of a pupil while on the premises of any public school or public school bus may be ordered by any of the above-designated school personnel to leave the school premises or school bus, and upon failure to do so such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $500.00.

    HISTORY: Code 1981, § 20-2-1182, enacted by Ga. L. 1989, p. 1394, § 1; Ga. L. 2001, p. 4, § 20.

    TITLE 20. EDUCATION
    CHAPTER 2. ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION
    ARTICLE 18A. LIABILITY OF EDUCATORS FOR DISCIPLINING STUDENTS
    O.C.G.A. § 20-2-1000 (2007)

    § 20-2-1000. Limitation on civil damages for disciplining student; “educator” defined; frivolous or nonmeritorious actions; legal counsel for the educator

    (a) As used in this Code section, the term “educator” means any principal, school administrator, teacher, guidance counselor, paraprofessional, school bus driver, volunteer assisting teachers in the classroom, tribunal members, or certificated professional personnel.

    (b) No educator shall be liable for any civil damages for, or arising out of, any act or omission concerning, relating to, or resulting from the discipline of any student or the reporting of any student for misconduct, except for acts or omissions of willful or wanton misconduct.

    ——————————
    Current Georgia Education Legislation

    Vote NO on Georgia SB 461
    Anti – Bullying Legislation
    Hold in committee or vote NO.
    A vote “yes” is a vote AGAINST Children in Georgia Public Schools, unless revisions are made to extend “equal” protects to children, parents, public citizens and good educators. Equal Protections and Justice for ALL, anything less is not an option. http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2007_08/fulltext/sb461.htm

    Vote NO on Georgia HB 1321 –
    False Allegations on School Personnel Hold in committee or vote NO.
    A vote “yes” is a vote AGAINST Children in Georgia Public Schools. Vote NO unless you give “equal” protections to children, parents and ALL under the law. To do anything less would be UNJUST. Equal Protections and Justice for ALL. http://www.legis. ga.gov/legis/ 2007_08/fulltext /hb1321.htm

    Vote NO on HB 384 – Legal Representation for Educators
    Vote Hold in committee or vote NO
    Unless you give “EQUAL” representation to Children. This request was made to the Georgia DOE and denied. Children in Georgia deserve the same “equal” protections under the law. Otherwise there is no level playing field. Using our tax money to protect educators, but not Children, sends a message we do not care to protect our children and value their need for “equal” protections too. This has lead to much of the educator to student bullying stories you hear about today. A Vote YES, without revisions is a Vote AGAINST Children in Georgia Public Schools. http://www.legis. ga.gov/legis/ 2007_08/fulltext /hb384.htm

  11. albert says:

    yeah Bill, but those same fellows stuffed their head up Richardson’s arse. The man is a nut bag and will be the shortest serving speaker, as his antics has inspired many a Dem in this election cycle.

    Look for smiley Glenn’s face with his squirrelly voice on many a campaign ad, and not Republican ads.

    For that he can kiss my pearly white arse.

  12. SOUTHERN BREEZE says:

    The house needs to take a long look at how they conduct this great states business. They act like a bunch of frat boys in Panama City, there is a reason the Senate is the upper chamber. The speaker hurt himself with this diatribe and any reps that follow suit will end up will fall on the same sword. Casey is a clear thinker and is not trying to pass a bill to simply to offset his personal shannanigans.

  13. eburke says:

    If my republican repesentative will not commit to do something about Richardson, then I will vote for the democrat in the state house race.

  14. Rpolitic says:

    WOW you will topple the speaker becasue he did what he said? OK well since he is not the only one who has been cuaght with his pants down you better be prepared to clean out a bunch more folks. In both chambers and on both sides of the aisle.

    If you are complaining about his approach then you must be new to the party. I have worked with many of these folks for 10+ years and they made promises over that time and they were determined to make some real and significant changes. Glenn and many others worked through last year and saw no leadership from Sonny or Casey and took the bull by the horns. They promised to take bold action and they did.

    Here is the other part, I hope Erick you have not succombed to this problem, but ACCG and GMA were the brokers of disinformation. They had a chicken little the sky is falling posture and would not give straight answers.

    Yes there is plenty of blame to go around but it is unfortunate to see and read that Republicans who demanded sweeping changes and group that would fight to accomlish the right thing to now turn their backs and become whiney soft RHINOS

  15. albert says:

    no substance, just rhetoric.

    Richardson can kiss my pearly white arse. This is about as professional as the speaker…

  16. joe says:

    For me, it is not Richardson, Cagle, or even Perdue that failed. It is the GA GOP that was an abysmal failure. Had your chance, and you lost my vote. It will take a mighty big turn around…better start soon.

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