Jason Carter: No Need for More Taxes … Right Now

June 16, 2014 19:01 pm

by Jon Richards · 21 comments

Last Friday, gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter addressed the Georgia School Board Association at their summer conference in Savannah. Our friends over at the Savannah Morning News have the details, including this:

In the “shell game” of the state budget, he said, there must be accountability and transparency in the forming and allocating stages of the budget.

In this, Carter presented three steps he said would help better education across the state, with the first being a separate education budget.

He said the Department of Education has faced “austerity cuts” of $1 billion in each of the past four years.

The second step in improving education would be to provide local school boards with funding information in a timely manner, and the final step would be to place a stronger focus on education.

Of course, all of this would cost money. And, Carter was asked about it by someone in the audience:

Question: “Well, how are you going to do what you want to do without raising taxes?”
Jason Carter: We don’t. We cannot and I would not ask the people of Georgia to pay more in state taxes … right now.”

Is Carter providing a preview of what his administration might do once it is settled in?

Somehow, his plea to educators reminds me of this.

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 16, 2014 at 8:49 pm

“Is Carter providing a preview of what his administration might do once it is settled in?”

Jason Carter is providing a preview of one of the very-first things that his administration would most-certainly ATTEMPT to do in the very-unlikely event that he were to be elected governor, which is to raise taxes….Something that the GOP supermajority-controlled state legislature would never let him get away with in the very-unlikely event that he were to be elected governor.

Though, I get the feeling that it will never come to that as Deal is going to eat the very-inexperienced and naïve foolish one (Carter) alive during the general election campaign.

All that one can say is for Carter is for him to keep talking and keep revealing his far-left Intown Atlanta liberalism.

George Chidi June 16, 2014 at 9:21 pm

You know, I imagine hardened conservatives really want your description of Jason Carter to be true. Perhaps they even think it is true — the cartoon character of the man in your head has a powerful negative appeal.

But Republicans these days have a terrible habit of arguing against the shadows in their mind and not against what everyone else sees. The polls must be skewed. The public must be misinformed, or stupid, or mendacious — how can they not see what we see?

When conservatives lose these days, this is why.

Does Carter want to lead from a position that’s left of where we are now? Absolutely. But let’s not pretend that where we are now is the center, to make it easier to pretend that he’s in the same political ballpark as, say, John Lewis. Carter’s the Democratic equivalent of a Chris Christie, corruption issues aside — a relative moderate who wants to put governance ahead of ideology.

Georgia’s governance has shifted radically to the right, for years, to the demonstrable detriment of the public and demonstrably against the stated interests of the public. Being this far right has won elections so far, but most people in Georgiado not want to be this far to the right. More conservative than thou works in primaries. It’s not a winning game plan when you’re so far to the right of the electorate that the center thinks you’re not worth voting for.

Or are you going to call Nathan Deal a moderate?

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 16, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Well until you mentioned it, I wasn’t going to call Governor Deal a moderate, though conservative ‘show bills’ aside, that’s exactly how Deal has governed…as a moderate Republican and not as the hard-line conservative that you seem to be trying to make him out to be.

Mr. Chidi, with you being pretty far to the left of the political spectrum (I presume), of course you think that GOP supermajority rule and domination of all statewide offices means that the state is being governed really far to the right.

…But with Georgia incessantly and relentlessly begging the Feds for 62%+ of its transportation budget, with GA desperately begging the Feds for hundreds-of-millions of dollars to deepen the Port of Savannah (…all money that the state could very-easily come up with on its very-own) and with the supermajority GOP legislature and governor largely avoiding social issues like the plague, the governance of Georgia can hardly be considered to be “far-right” or “radically to the right”. Georgia’s governance is only “far-right” to progressives who wish that they were in control of the state’s political climate.

taylor June 16, 2014 at 11:47 pm

I’m curious, where do you believe Georgia could easily find hundreds of millions on its own to fund transportation and port dredging?

Harry June 17, 2014 at 12:30 am

Georgia could collect transportation tax here and keep it here without needing to remit to DC, thus saving the DC rakeoff. A much better solution to our budget issues.

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 17, 2014 at 1:05 am

+1

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 17, 2014 at 1:31 am

taylor, June 16, 2014 at 11:47 pm-

“I’m curious, where do you believe Georgia could easily find hundreds of millions on its own to fund transportation and port dredging?”

…Georgia could not only easily find hundreds-of-millions, but could easily find TENS-OF-BILLIONS of dollars in multimodal transportation funding by privatizing much of the state’s multimodal transportation network (including almost all of the state’s controlled-access highway network, the Port of Savannah and a future statewide passenger rail network….a future statewide passenger rail network which can also be funded with real estate development revenues, distance-based user fees, targeted Value Capture taxing districts and the aggressive sales of major corporate and individual sponsorships).

In regards to education funding, the state could attempt to increase funding for public education by dramatically and extremely-aggressively increasing private corporate and individual sponsorships of public schools and post-secondary institutions instead of just simply raising taxes.

seenbetrdayz June 17, 2014 at 1:56 am

Let’s low-ball a figure here and say that we’ve been talking about dredging the port of Savannah for the past decade (it’s probably been on Georgia’s mind for longer than that, but again, I’m making a conservative estimate). And let’s say that Georgia had started about a decade ago, saving up for port-dredging, and put aside, oh, $20 million per year. Well that’s $200 million dollars right there, which may not be enough, but hang on:

Lets compare that to how much money we’ve managed to actually receive for dredging the port of Savannah by begging D.C. to do it:

I’m just gonna round that up to $0.00.

Raising the money within the state can, in theory, be done. It might take a while, but apparently so does begging Washington for something that will never happen.

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 17, 2014 at 4:03 am

The State of Georgia is paying $266 million of the estimated $706 million Savannah port deepening project….Which makes the fact that the state has so desperately-begged the virtually fiscally-insolvent Feds for the money even all the more-astonishing.

With nearly 40% of the port deepening project’s cost being funded by Georgia state government, attracting the private investment that would be needed to fund the remaining 60% or so of the cost of the project would be ridiculously-simple (and can be done on a much-shorter time frame than begging for the nearly tapped-out Feds to give us more borrowed money)….Particularly if the state decided that wanted to get the money in a way other than needlessly desperately-begging a hostile Obama Administration and an extremely fiscally-challenged federal government.

One proposal and potential deal that demonstrates just how much private companies are willing to pay to operate publicly-owned major international seaports is Netherlands-based APM’s offer of up to $3.18 BILLION for a 48-year lease of Virginia’s public and private ports, including up to $1.3 billion in concession payments, up to $600 million in revenue-sharing payments, up to $830 million in CAPITAL INVESTMENTS (like port channel deepenings, etc) and up to $450 million in state and local taxes.
http://baconsrebellion.com/articles/2012/11/APM_Terminals.html

Why desperately beg and grovel for aid from a hostile Presidential administration and a bankrupt federal government when the private sector will pay state government to perform the Savannah port deepening project? $706 million for a port-deepening project is easily-attainable when private entities are willing to pay billions for public infrastructure.

George Chidi June 17, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Because, perhaps, relying on our countrymen who are (theoretically) accountable to us is preferable to selling off our national treasures to (not-at-all theoretically) unaccountable corporations?

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 17, 2014 at 7:14 pm

With privatization of transportation infrastructure, the public still owns the infrastructure but just sells the private rights to directly collect revenue from the asset in exchange for getting all of the capital and operating costs on the piece of infrastructure paid for by the private sector.

The corporation buying the private right to collect revenue from a piece of publicly-owned infrastructure is held accountable to the public through the terms of the lease deal. If the corporation does not perform to the terms of the lease deal with the public, the private corporation loses the right to collect revenue from the piece of public infrastructure and its participation in the lease deal ends.

George Chidi June 17, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Also, it’s fairly important to note that Virginia — that bastion of conservatism, stalwart foe of progressive collectivist evils, the same state that spooned Eric Cantor out of the House for apparently being too liberal … rejected the APM deal.

Why? Because it dramatically undervalued the port.

And of course they undervalued the asset! Why the hell would a private firm offer a fair price for public assets? It’s usually much easier to bribe the contracting agents and buy low. If they can’t do that, why bother, unless they can vulture in on an asset and buy it at a moment of fiscal weakness, which is what they seemed to be trying here.

Your argument for privatizing everything the government does rests on a fundamental fallacy — that the market for government assets is fair. It is not. The market is riven by client-agent distortions, asymmetrical information, biases, short-term distress and other factors that make managing a privatized asset fraught. Sometimes it’s the right answer. Often it’s not. Applying it everywhere is a recipe for letting the public get ripped off by Wall Street.

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 17, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Mr. Chidi, that’s an excellent point that sometimes privatization deals are the right answer and sometimes they are not.

The State of Virginia made the decision that the APM offer was not the right deal for them so they rejected it….Which is exactly how the free market and capitalism is supposed to work.

In the case of APM’s rejected offer to the State of Virginia, the free market worked perfectly when the State of Virginia made the decision that it felt was the right one to make for the public interest….But just because that one offer was rejected does not mean that increased private sector involvement is not good in any and every situation.

rightofcenter June 16, 2014 at 10:11 pm

George- this is rich. Where is the evidence that the populace doesn’t want to be right where it is? That we are of all a sudden a” moderate” electorate? Good luck with that.

George Chidi June 17, 2014 at 6:02 pm

I don’t believe the Georgia electorate wants to be in the center. We’re in a right-of-center state.

I do believe the state wants to be to the left of where it is right now. There’s a general call for more education spending, a widely-held view that the focus on gun legislation was a fool’s errand, a 60 percent majority that views rejecting the Medicaid expansion as a mistake and that two thirds of the Georgia electorate believe the Affordable Care Act should be kept as-is or amended, not simply eliminated.

All of these things can be true while the state remains conservative. Unless you define conservative in extremely exclusionary terms. At which point … you lose elections.

Gray June 16, 2014 at 10:14 pm

That video is edited within an inch of its life. How about posting the unedited video? Or is that contrary to your errant political goal?

Gray June 17, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Never mind. Jim Galloway took care of it: http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2014/06/17/debunking-a-jason-carter-sound-bite/

“The bad thing about modern politicking is that everything is recorded. The good thing is that everything is recorded — and that misleading edits can be exposed as the poor attempts at propaganda they are.”

Chris Huttman June 16, 2014 at 11:56 pm

Which Georgia governor raised taxes as one of his first acts in office?

Harry June 17, 2014 at 12:33 am

That was done when we were rich. We’re not anymore. People are looking now at how every single dollar is spent, and new taxes is a nonstarter.

Jackster June 17, 2014 at 7:32 am

Well – republicans are pretty much telegraphing the same message… http://www.peachpundit.com/2014/06/10/the-campaign-to-prevent-an-income-tax-rate-increase-starts-now/

So you’re telling me you wan to cap income tax rates… but not other rates, or my effective rate. Pretty much means other taxes would go up if needed.

WeymanCWannamakerJr June 18, 2014 at 3:12 am

What are the chances of a Democrat Governor being able to raise taxes with a Republican Super-Majority Legislature? Of course what are the chances of a Democrat Governor being able to hire and fire state employees with impunity in the same situation either. This actually could be a win-win for the taxpayers.

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