Lowndes GOP Chairman Accuses Governor Of Offer To Campaign For Democrats In Exchange For T-SPLOST Support

Last week, Governor Deal got a bit chippy with media members who asked if his support for T-SPLOST violated his no tax increase pledge.  He stated at no time did he waive his first amendment rights.  Apparently, those rights extend to supporting Democrats over Republicans in re-election campaigns according to Lowndes County Republican Chairman Nolen Cox.

Cox, via press release announcing a 1pm press conference this afternoon, cites this email sent from Valdosta City Manager Larry Hanson who had been contacted by the Connect Georgia Campaign wanting to know which city officials supported T-SPLOST:

Mayor and Council;

Governor Deal has requested a list of all elected officials who support T-SPLOST.  He is willing to make a commitment to campaign for the reelection of any local elected official who will publicly support T-SPLOST.  How should I respond?  If each of you could respond to me I would appreciate it and I will merely pass it along.  I want to be sure I say this was presented in no way as a threat or a negative, just as a commitment to help and support those who support T-SPLOST.  Lt. Governor Cagle is also coming down for a fund-raiser for T-SPLOST soon.  Both of those are vocal supporters and advocates for T-SPLOST.

Thanks, Larry

Cox’s response, via press release, is as follows:

This is an unprecedented offer for a governor’s involvement in local elections. The majority of the Valdosta City Council run as Democrats, how would the governor fulfill his reelection support pledge? The impracticality of this offer makes it look more like a thinly-veiled threat to Republican anti-T-SPLOST members of city government, or possibly to provide cover for Mayor John Gayle who was originally against T-SPLOST when he was campaigning, but who recently switched his position after dining with Doug Calloway of the Chamber’s Transportation Alliance.”

“Governor Deal signed a “no new tax pledge” when running for governor, yet he has supported the voter referendum for taxpayers to approve a transportation tax in July. Deal has partnered with the GA Chamber to raise millions to promote a new transportation tax; that is supposed to be the voter’s choice. Deal is pro-tax on the largest tax increase in Georgia’s history; a massive tax increase of $18.7 billion over 10-years – on top of the other $19 billion already being spent on transportation.”

 “This is a bad tax in a bad economy. The governor has made political points as a tax-friendly governor by again rescinding a one cent tax on fuel, yet at the same time he is promoting a one cent sales tax on everything you buy: food, beverages, clothes, fuel, etc. In fact, the T-SPLOST would add over three cents on a gallon of fuel.”

Cox further stated; “It looks like Governor Deal has taken a page from Obama’s play book and is building an enemies list of T-SPLOST opponents and trying to use intimidation as a tactic for support. Or possibly Doug Calloway, the hired gun for the Georgia Chamber, has thrown Governor Deal – their biggest fundraiser – “under the bus” to save Calloway’s job and reputation in a failing effort to convince Georgians to vote themselves a tax during the worst recession in modern times. The people of Georgia deserve an explanation of this Quid pro Quo.”

Noted in his second paragraph is the Governor’s decision last week to not increase taxes on motor fuels by eight tenths of one cent per gallon because of a bad economy, yet asking voters the very next month to increase the tax on all sales by an extra cent, a 16% increase in sales taxes paid by most Georgians.

Furthermore, the GOP Chairman’s willingness to frame the debate as a Republican Governor siding with Democrats against Republicans is now moving beyond the little discussed math of the Atlanta Region T-SPLOST, where Dems are expected to do the heavy lifting in a region where Republicans overwhelmingly oppose the measure.  Moving this debate to Valdosta now takes the partisan aspect of the T-SPLOST debate statewide.

46 comments

  1. ryanhawk says:

    The list of elected officials opposed to TSPLOST would be much shorter, at least in my neck of the woods.

  2. seenbetrdayz says:

    Furthermore, the GOP Chairman’s willingness to frame the debate as a Republican Governor siding with Democrats against Republicans is now moving beyond the little discussed math of the Atlanta Region T-SPLOST, where Dems are expected to do the heavy lifting in a region where Republicans overwhelmingly oppose the measure.

    That was my first thought.

    All logical and well-thought-out cases for or against the TSPLOST are being reduced to a partisan cry that is nothing more than an attempt to anger and rally the base.

    I have multiple reasons for opposing Deal, but supporting democrats is last on that list.

    • Saxman42979 says:

      While some may be polarizing among party lines, its Socialism, plain and simple. Its taking the wealth from one county and giving it to another…or taking form 3 and giving it to 11 others.

    • Charlie says:

      Galloway also asks for a key piece of information, notably Connect Georgia’s original email. It’s clear that the City Manager believes there is an implicit guarantee of support from the Governor in exchange for support. We need to see that email before we can determine if there is a misunderstanding, or if there is a promise from the booster organization that says the Governor will make this pledge.

      If there is such a promise, then the questions about who exactly is promising what remain very alive.

  3. Medic8310 says:

    If you have ever heard Nolen Cox speak, then you know he is pure idiot.

    “The majority of the Valdosta City Council run as Democrats…..”

    Really?
    Nope!

    Valdosta City elections are nonpartisan.

    One more example that shows he will say anything and spin anything to try and make a point.

      • bgsmallz says:

        So how is attacking someone for supporting an issue over their party not the same thing?

        (edit…that sounds really snarky and rhetorical…I think I meant it as only 25% snark/rhetorical with the rest of the 75% asking the question legitimately..if our first response is ‘he is going against the party’ rather than something deeper, I just wonder.)

  4. debbie0040 says:

    If Georgia Connect mis-represented Gov. Deal and sent ut this deceptie email, then people need to be fired with Georgia Connect.

  5. Medic8310 says:

    And I don’t see where signing a “no new tax pledge” has anything to do with the TIA. Seems to me the tax is being fairly voted on by the people, not the legislators.

    Spin, Spin, Spin by the GOTP (Grand Old Tea Party)

  6. debbie0040 says:

    Medi8310, it was not just a no new tax pledge. It clearly stated “oppose any and all tax increases”.

    Deal’s defense on tax pledge fails truth test
    http://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2012/jun/18/nathan-deal/deals-defense-tax-pledge-fails-truth-test/

    Nolan Cox does a great job and it is clear he stepped on your toes and I would say you deserved it knowing Nolan.

    If the denials from Gov. Deal’s office are true, then they should not want to associate with an organization that uses such deceptive tactics. We call on Gov. Deal to cut all ties with Connect Georgia and their parent organization…

      • debbie0040 says:

        I was referring to 85% going to the regional pot when I made the statement. You also failed to point out where Politifact found the jobs creation claim of the ARC mostly false.

        Gov. Deal signed and consistently denied he was violating his ATR Pledge. Last week Politifact called him on the flip flop by quoting the creator of the pledge- Grover Norquist . Norquist said it was a massive tax increase and Gov. Deal violated the pledge. Gov. Deal still kept trying to deny it and tried a different spin. Politifact called ATR yet again and yet again ATR said campaigning on behalf of T-SPLOST was a violation of the pledge. There is no gray area in the pledge, no way it could be mis-interpreted, yet Gov. Deal tries to keep insisting he is not violating the pledge.

        • bgsmallz says:

          Oh…so the old ‘they know what they are talking about unless they don’t know what they are talking about’ defense…

          Like I said, it basically confirms that you can’t trust politicians or “Spokesperson for (insert political group here)”…you can only trust Clark.

          Clark is voting yes and so am I.

    • Medic8310 says:

      Nolen didn’t really step on my toes. He represented a bunch of untruths and spins in his PowerPoint presentation, told me to wait to the end for rebuttals, and when I tried to shoot his claims down, he put up the laptop and wouldn’t let me expose the lies on the PowerPoint. Oh, and then his wife called me a “liberal!” Classy lady!

      He, and others like him, enjoy sitting back and questioning every move that elected officials make, but they don’t really have the “bollocks” to actually serve the people. Probably couldn’t get elected anyway.

      • debbie0040 says:

        Nolan is serving the people more than you are. He is holding elected officials accountable. He got elected GOP Chair in his county . There are some elected officials that should not be elected, but hey there is always next time…

  7. debbie0040 says:

    -A City Councilman in Peachtree City sent this to his local newspaper to put in Letters To The Editor section.

    ——— Forwarded message ———-
    From: George Dienhart
    Date: Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 12:58 PM
    Subject: TSPLOST L2ED

    On Monday, a letter from the Connect Georgia campaign of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s Transportation Alliance became public knowledge. In this letter, Governor Deal sent a message to local elected officials.

    Mayor and Council;

    Governor Deal has requested a list of all elected officials who support T-SPLOST. He is willing to make a commitment to campaign for the reelection of any local elected official who will publicly support T-SPLOST. How should I respond? If each of you could respond to me I would appreciate it and I will merely pass it along. I want to be sure I say this was presented in no way as a threat or a negative, just as a commitment to help and support those who support T-SPLOST. Lt. Governor Cagle is also coming down for a fund-raiser for T-SPLOST soon. Both of those are vocal supporters and advocates for T-SPLOST.

    Now, I didn’t count on the governor’s support when running for reelection. In fact, I never even thought of it as a possibility. I had already crashed the party and personally asked the Governor about the TSPLOST.

    I told Governor Deal that “I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that most of my constituents did not support the TSPLOST…”

    “That’s why we made it a ballot issue” answered the Governor.

    “But sir, I am from Fayette County- we are a small county, and our votes may be cancelled out”

    The Governor abruptly ended the conversation at that point. He did not want to know that you, the voter, were against the TSPLOST. Generally, mass transit boondoggles’ are in the Democrats domain. Unfortunately for us, this cash grab is a bi-partisan effort.

    They say that politics makes strange bedfellows. That is most certainly the case here. We have a Republican Governor who signed a “no new tax pledge” when running for governor, gleefully jumping into bed with pro mass transit Democrats. Not only has he made the choice to support this multi-billion dollar tax, he is now trying to strong arm good, local conservatives into joining him. This is unacceptable. I guess I’ll be on the Governors “Naughty” list when he is handing out the endorsement goodies. I can live with that. When I first announced I was running for city council, I promised to put my heart and soul into fighting for what is right. These bullying tactics are not right, and neither is this new tax.

    Many people have said that it is “just a penny”. It is a penny- on every dollar you spend. If you spend $20,000.00, that will be 2000 dollars coming out of your pocket over 10 years. Most of us in Fayette County spend more than 20,000.00 a year. We are talking about substantial amounts of money.

    It’s not just the thousands of dollars that you will be spending that has me concerned. When at the Fayette County Issues Tea Party event, I asked a representative of Metro Atlanta Voter Education Network (MAVEN) about the maintenance backlog that is predicted to hit 2.3 billion dollars at the end of the 10 years. I asked where this money would come from. The answer was that they didn’t know. Half of this money will be spent on mass transit, yet with a 2.3 billion dollar maintenance backlog, I have to question whether or not we will have any functioning trains by the time the tax expires.

    Finally, I question whether this tax will actually expire. All of these taxes are to build infrastructure, not to provide operational funding. This means in 10 years we will have to fund the operation and maintenance of the new mass transit elements. Currently each MARTA rider is subsidized to the tune of $2250.00 per rider (540 million dollar loss/ 240k riders). I agree that the new mass transit elements will take people of the road (though not enough to mater) – and each one of these new riders will take the system further and further into the red. The more riders MARTA gains, the more money it loses. This is just bad business.

    In closing, I would ask that every voter keep their own list of politicians that support the TSPLOST. Put it away in a safe place and remember to bring it with you to the polls. Let’s remember those who want to fund the building of a transportation system without funding it’s operation. Let’s also remember who supported a massive tax increase. Finally, let’s remember those who support throwing good money after bad at $2250.00 per rider.

    And most importantly, let’s remember that the Governor heads up this list.

    George Dienhart

    Peachtree City Council Post 2

    Fratus tuus in Christo,

    George Dienhart

    • Three Jack says:

      Hopefully the good city councilman is not allowed to play with finances based on his math in the letter. But I agree with his intent.

  8. AMB says:

    Maybe the councilman has forgotten that without the airport and Atlanta, Fayette County would be a wilderness full of bears. What is more mass transit than an airport?

    • CobbGOPer says:

      Have you been to Fayette County? Outside of Peachtree City and Fayetteville, it pretty much already is a wilderness filled with bears.

      And I say that as someone with roots in Fayette County.

      • Charlie says:

        As someone who still commutes there most days, I call B.S.

        Unless you’re counting the Rivers’ farm in North Fayette, the only wilderness area left is around Brooks, in the very southern end of the county.

        The rest outside of Peachtree City resembles modern day suburbia circa 1980 to present.

        Unless you count 1 acre subdivision lots as “wilderness”.

        • CobbGOPer says:

          And that’s where (part of) my family is from: Brooks. Well, there and Goza Rd., back before it was paved.

          • Charlie says:

            And saying Brooks is representative of Fayette is a lot like saying Dacula is representative of Gwinnett or Palmetto is representative of Fulton.

            • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

              Dacula: The rowdy unsupervised youth in library and at the park, heavy traffic congestion (I-85, 316, etc), an unacceptably-high amount of foreclosed and abandoned homes.

              ….Yeah, I’d say that’s about right for Gwinnett.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      The councilman hasn’t forgotten and he knows what mass transit is. He just doesn’t want it in his county as most Fayette County residents called themselves moving out there in an effort to escape the sprawl, overdevelopment, overcrowding, crime and urban blight of the urban core of Metro Atlanta.

      Don’t feel bad, they’re not too crazy about excessive roadbuilding down there, either.

  9. AMB says:

    Actually I have been to Fayette County. Drove to Senoia to see the Southern Living Idea House. Nice little town although occasionally overrun by zombies.

  10. Saxman42979 says:

    Like the good little neo-con that I am, I am going to say that Nolan Cox’s numbers are WRONG. Of course I can’t prove anything here, but those numbers are just wrong! Sure, Nolan takes the figures off of the state’s DOT website and quotes from the proposed measure, but they’ve got to be wrong…and sharing what taxpayers pay in one county with taxpayers in another county isn’t Socialism, its just the free market at work and is as American as apple pie! USA! USA! USA! USA!

  11. debbie0040 says:

    Boy, the elected officials are pulling out all the stops to pass this massive tax increase. Secretary of State Brian Kemp added this preamble to the T-SPLOST ballot question in the Metro Atlanta region.

    “Provides for local transportation projects to create jobs and reduce traffic congestion with citizen over sight” .

    We are going to challenge this in court as illegal and also notify the NAACP and let them pursue it . This is electioneering on the ballot. If it is illegal to electioneer so many feet of a polling place, then it is illegal to electioneer on the ballot as well.

    • Calypso says:

      Yeah, true or not (questionable at best), there’s no way in hell that sentence should be on the ballot.

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