Norquist Throws Down Gauntlet Over Renewing Hospital Bed Tax

Three years ago, Governor Sonny Perdue used a newly created tax on hospital beds to close a hole in the state’s budget.  The argument was that most of the tax would be reimbursed from the federal governmnet via Medicare/Medicaid, and – say it with me now – it would be a temporary tax.

The 2013 session is growing close and the hospital bed tax is up for renewal.  Renewing this “temporary” tax is already one of the hot button issues being discussed behind the scenes.  American’s for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist has just sent a letter to state legislators saying a vote to extend this tax is a violation of the ATR’s no tax increase pledge.

Norquist chides lawmakers for looking to the federal government for more aid, stating “While hospitals in the state will be forced to cough up $216 Million because of the tax increase, the heavily indebted federal government will be on the hook for at least $200 Million more.  Fiscal conservatives should not be looking to Washington for more federal aid, especially when the national debt climbed above $16 Trillion for the first time last week.”

There it is.  Grover is against it.  Your move, General Assembly.


      • Bob Loblaw says:

        He is neither right nor correct. When Grover has a Georgia Voter Registration card, I’ll listen.

        Until then, he can take his sanctimonious, holier-than-thou attitude about Georgia drawing additional federal dollars and shove it up his a$z. If its such a bad federal policy, then I’m sure the GOP controlled congress would have done something to change it by now.

        The Hospitals agreed to the tax. All parties agreed to take it up again in ’13. Let’s see what the H’s have to say before telling the General Assembly that “Grover has spoken, your move”. It’s more like “Grover has meddled in Georgia Medicaid policy again. Pass the biscuits, please”.

      • Bob Loblaw says:

        Obamacare would definitely provide for more money to hospitals and other providers currently experiencing losses from uncompensated care. However, Georgia doesn’t have $4B to make it rain, so regardless of whether or not Medicaid expansion to cover working poor is good or bad policy, we can’t afford the cover charge.

          • Bob Loblaw says:

            The matching funds Georgia would have to find equal $4B after the first two years should they expand Medicaid.

              • Bob Loblaw says:

                For an agency that’s $300M in the hole and has been asked by the Guv to cut an additional $500, finding an extra $400M a year for ten years is practically impossible. Again, not saying its a bad policy call to take the dough and cover millions, but practically? We’d have to return to the 98-2000 days where the economy was booming, the rainy day fund was full and then maybe Georgia could afford it.

                • Well you’d think also with expanding the program you’d be able to find some efficiencies to save $ elsewhere. Or bargaining power. Of course we’ll never know because Nathan Deal would rather play politics.

  1. Ken says:

    Like all single-issue demagogues, Grover Norquist is dangerous. He is not the sole arbiter of what is sound, fiscally responsible policy and is often in the wrong.

    I’m a debt-hawk (deficit-hawks are wimps), meaning that we must begin to show annual federal surpluses to reduce our debt. I’m in favor of eliminating entire federal departments (education and energy for starters) and completely re-writing our tax code.

    Having said that, there are times when compromises are needed and Norquist’s approach is not always effective. It’s good for holding legislator’s feet to the fire, because some of them do lie. Ahem! It also makes good legislators less flexible in finding an approach which will modify the system that makes it so easy to take on more debt.

    Ignore Norquist.

  2. saba says:

    And where will the state get the funds this “temporary tax” currently provides? Fiscal conservatives can look to Washington for additional aid. They just have no credibility in bashing spending in Washington considering how reliant our state government is on federal dollars.

  3. SallyForth says:

    What the heck is Norquist doing, sticking his nose in our business here in Georgia? ‘Last I heard, he doesn’t live or vote in this state, and he says his “no new tax pledge” is something he made up when he was 12 years old. Let’s hope Georgia’s legislators won’t be intimidated by this 7th grade mentality from a guy who can’t even vote for them.

  4. Dave Bearse says:

    “What the heck is Norquist doing, sticking his nose in our business here in Georgia?”

    Both of Georgia’s US Senators, 7 US House Representatives, Gov Deal, 13 State Senators about half of who are the Senate leadership, House Speaker Ralson and 36 Representatives have signed Norquist’s pledge qualifying Norquist as a GaGOP grand poobah. He’s like Rush Limbaugh, except he can exercise authority within the state.

  5. SallyForth says:

    Probably, Calypso.
    @Charlie, thanks for the link – looking at those old posts reminded me how much I liked the handle “ByteMe” 🙂

    I never heard of anything you could join, that you couldn’t quit if you decided to. Oh, wait. I think that’s what the CSA said when they tried to exercise states’ rights and secede. Does that mean Grover has the power of the federal government?

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