US Rep. Nathan Deal, who is seeking the GOP nomination for Georgia of Georgia, told the Savannah Morning News that he’d sign a $1 per pack cigarette tax hike into law if it were passed by the legislature, hoping to use the revenues to plug the budget gap:
U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal says he’d sign a bill raising the state cigarette tax $1 a pack if he’s elected governor next year.
Campaigning this week in Savannah, Deal said the bill deserves consideration, but added he probably wouldn’t push for its passage.
The Gainesville lawmaker’s comments are the closest any GOP candidate for governor has come to backing the proposal.
Nevermind that Florida has seen a drop in demand because of a $1 per pack tax increase (once again showing that sin taxes aren’t really going to help revenue problems) and nevermind that it’s bad public policy, I want to know why Republicans in this state have such an amazing obsession with government, so much that six tax increases were put on the table last year.
Yes, revenues are falling. However, Georgia’s problems are not from a lack of revenue. Our legislators have a spending problem. As the Georgia Public Policy Foundation has pointed out, the the budget has grown far beyond the population growth plus inflation benchmark, because Republicans choose to preserve the status-quo when they took control of both chambers of the General Assembly in January 2005.
If legislators and prospective candidates for Governor are so concerned about the budget, they need to get behind the zero-based budget proposal (the Senate and House each passed a version of this last year, but it has been bogged down in committee in the other chamber ever since). Let’s start justifying every dollar we spend. Let’s see how much waste is really in the budget and how many programs aren’t deserving of taxpayer funding.