Morning Reads for Tuesday, November 11th

Above: Armistice (now Veterans Day) 1918.

National:

  • Subjective Well‐Being and Income: Is There Any Evidence of Satiation? (Brookings)
  • Why the top 1 percent dominates more in the U.S. than anywhere else (WonkBlog)
  • 2014 Outside Spending, by Group (OpenSecrets)
  • I’m a doctor fighting Ebola. And no, you aren’t going to catch it from me (The Guardian)
  • 3 theories about today’s biggest economic mystery: If unemployment is shrinking, why aren’t wages growing? (The Atlantic)
  • 12 Obvious Things Confirmed By Science (Mental Floss)
  • The New Era of Communication Among Americans (Gallup)
  • Berlin’s digital exiles: where tech activists go to escape the NSA (The Guardian)
  • Why offering 3 percent down payment mortgages is not a return to lax lending (WonkBlog)
  • Meet the Mysterious Creator of Rumor-Debunking Site Snopes.com (io9)

 
Georgia:

  • T-Mobile takes on a Georgia town (bloomberg).
  • John Barrow’s loss is black democrats loss (newrepublic)
  • On the polls that went wrong in Georgia (Jacksonville)
  • What bringing Marta to Clayton County means to Atlanta (brookings)
  • Problem solving court helps veterans who commit crimes (Macon)
  • Get your gas tax here! (clatl)
  • Dust to Digital (bittersoutherner)
  • 12 Great Georgia Hikes (Atlantamag)
  • Majority of Georgia Voters back minimum wage hike (macon)
  • Republicans confirm state leadership team (onlineathens)

25 comments

  1. BriscoeDarlin says:

    How do the pollsters defend the blowouts by Deal and Perdue that they didn’t predict? Runoff possibilities in both, we were told. Where’s their credibility? Dick Morris got banished from Fox for the same thing. Where is the next Zogby or Silver? They weren’t in these races.

  2. blakeage80 says:

    This gas tax thing is a tough one for the GOP. Whatever they do had better make a lot of sense, all regions of the state should see the benefits and they should channel the spirit of Billy Mays to sell it. Don’t call it a ‘user fee’. Call it a tax and make a case for it. It don’t think it will be that hard as long as all the funding isn’t spent on MARTA rail or otherwise ITP interests. However, I get it. We have a very low gas tax here. It’s 19.3% on Gasoline, right? (http://www.gasbuddy.com/Tax_Info.aspx) Has anyone heard how far they are talking about raising it?

    • Ellynn says:

      You want to sell the tax, you need to make sure you have some big ticket projects as lines items for required construction that have of value to people not with in 60 miles of the gold dome.

  3. Harry says:

    Georgia levies excise and other taxes of 28.5 cents per gallon, which is 20th highest in the US. In addition the federal excise tax is currently 18.4 cents per gallon, total 46.9 cents per gallon for gas purchased in Georgia.
    http://taxfoundation.org/article/state-gasoline-tax-rates-2009-2013

    Instead of raising gas tax, we need to eliminate the Highway Trust Fund, which would cut DC out of the loop and free up billions for additional road improvements every year instead of supporting federal government workers. From Chris Chocola, President of the Club for Growth:

    The Highway Trust Fund — into which gas tax revenue is placed — is a politician’s dream because it transfers power to Washington and away from states, where the real decisions are made.
    Why send tax dollars to Washington only to see a portion of that money sent directly back to the states after federal bureaucrats chew up a sizable chunk of it? Why not just keep it with the states in the first place and keep the money away from greedy overspending politicians in Congress?
    All 50 states have Departments of Transportation. More than 70% of all transportation spending in this country is already financed and spent at the state and local level. Each state has very specific infrastructure needs, and those needs are most effectively addressed at the local level, where those making the decisions are held most accountable by the taxpayers.
    The federal gas tax is just another layer of taxation that finances another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy. When the money is sent to Washington, the politicians spend it and then borrow even more.
    The result of this flawed system has been repeated taxpayer bailouts to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. And some of the actual expenditures, such as bike paths and “highway beautification,” are of a dubious value.
    A far better solution, offered by Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., along with Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., would be to pass a bill called the Transportation Empowerment Act. This bill would devolve the gas tax to the states, allowing each state to fund its own projects, rather than sending the money to Washington to send less back down again with strings attached. This would mean more accountability for gas tax revenue, and more local control for the taxpayers.
    The Highway Trust Fund is an outdated funding scheme for America’s infrastructure needs. Raising the gas tax simply perpetuates it.

    • Will Durant says:

      Georgia already receives more from the feds for transportation than is paid into the federal excise system. So eliminating it would require raising state taxes even more.

      • Harry says:

        Georgia receives more than it pays in, just like every other state. There is a huge deficit in the trust fund, and it’s made up from the general fund paid by taxpayers and the federal debt. Details.

        The same is true of the federal budget in general. Every state receives more than it pays in, because at least 35% of the federal budget is financed with debt not taxes. More details.

          • Charlie says:

            See Will Durant’s answer below. This myth that “freeing up” money which is borrowed to return to the states is just that. Until we’re operating at a balanced federal budget, there is no money to return. There’s less to borrow which is nice, but waiting on federal action that will never happen doesn’t solve the state’s responsibilities here at home.

            And while we wait, you should probably also note that because we don’t fund ourselves properly here at the state level, we are one of the states that has the highest dependence on the federal government for our transportation spending. So when we decide to keep our dollar instead of getting $1.14 “back” from the feds, we’ll be even worse off financially, not better.

        • Will Durant says:

          We know the country is in debt. But so is the state. How does “freeing up billions” being paid to the feds help? You are not freeing them up if you have to raise local taxes by at least 21 cents per gallon just to tread water with amounts that are already not meeting the needs. Then you also have the little matter of $2 Billion in outstanding GARVEE & GARB Bonds (Grant Anticipation Revenue Bonds) issued by Sonny and Gena for GRIP among other things. How do you pay those when you ain’t anticipating more federal grants?

            • blakeage80 says:

              The feds have all of our hairs. We are bald. Georgians’ taxes won’t go down because we ‘opt out’ of the Federal Hwy Trust Fund. We all know none if it is sustainable in the long term without adjustments (read: cut in services, but not taxes)

              • Harry says:

                As far as the future of the Highway Trust Fund, stay tuned. I think the new GOP majority has some big changes in mind with it.

            • Will Durant says:

              You “think not” has already been firmly established. You just give quotes and links from neanderthals who tell you how you should think and like to play like a nonsensical logic bot when they haven’t supplied you with the correct response.

              How does eliminating 18.4 cents in lieu of raising the local tax by 21 cents per gallon with a required additional amount to pay $2Bn over the next 30 years in debt already written make sense? And that is just to tread water that Florida says belongs to them as well.

              • Harry says:

                Like Charlie says, at this point we’re going around in circles. It’s a philosophical difference. There’s no free lunch from DC. To the contrary, they print paper money and take their cut and that’s why DC is by far the wealthiest metropolitan region in America. I would feel a lot better about sending the money to Atlanta because then the decisions are made closer to where I live.

                • Charlie says:

                  Except you’re using the hope of DC reform to justify inaction in Atlanta. And your solution is to sent $1 to Atlanta instead of $1.14. When we’re already 50th in state per capita transportation spending. That’s not “philosophy”. That’s “math”. And not that Common Core stuff either. It’s math the way you learned it.

                  I hope that closes the circle for you.

  4. John Konop says:

    Why not just list the holiday, and give Muslin students time to make up the work?

    After Muslims seek equity, Christmas stricken from school calendar

    …….Christmas and Easter have been stricken from next year’s school calendar in Montgomery County. So have Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah.

    Montgomery’s Board of Education voted 7 to 1 Tuesday to eliminate references to all religious holidays on the published calendar for 2015-2016, a decision that followed a request from Muslim community leaders to give equal billing to the Muslim holy day of Eid al-Adha.

    In practical terms, Montgomery schools will still be closed for the Christian and Jewish holidays, as in previous years, and students will still get the same days off, as planned.

    Board members said Tuesday that the new calendar will reflect days the state requires the system to be closed and that it will close on other days that have shown a high level of student and staff absenteeism. Though those days happen to coincide with major Christian and Jewish holidays, board members made clear that the days off are not meant to observe those religious holidays, which they say is not legally permitted…..

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/after-muslims-seek-equity-christmas-stricken-from-school-calendar/ar-AA7GKnV

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