Deconstructing Debbie Dooley’s Double-Talk

Regrettably, it has come to this.

Debbie Dooley and I have worked closely together on issues in the past.  Some of these times have been public. Other times have been more behind the scenes.  She has many critics.  Anyone trying to do anything in politics will have them.  Anyone who doesn’t likely isn’t getting much done.  I give her tremendous credit for what she’s accomplished. There were no training classes offered on “how to start the TEA Party”.  She was in the right place at the right time, saw the need, and has filled it.  You can argue about a lot of things, but you can’t ignore the TEA Party’s effect on national and Georgia politics since 2010.

Debbie is a TEA Party leader.  One of the things conservatives and especially TEA Party members demand is accountability.  Today, I’m asking for some of that from Debbie.

One year ago, I launched PolicyBEST as a public policy advocacy group to focus political debate around issues of Education, Science & Medicine, and Transportation.  Our initial press conference included Debbie, along with members of the Sierra Club and the Georgia Transportation Alliance, an affiliate of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.  We presented a list of items we agreed to as common ground to start a discussion of transportation funding increases.   It was the result of many informal discussions and more formal sit down meetings.  We knew the list to be inadequate.  It was designed to start a process, not to be a complete one.  We all knew at the time that the conclusion was likely to be for significantly more funds than out outline called for.  Tax increases, while not mentioned in our plan, were on the table.

The goal was to have a public discussion, which meant that a high level and serious study committee could be the conduit between the end of session and the next.  Ultimately, this was achieved.  8 meetings were held around the state.  I went to most of them. I don’t recall Debbie participating, though it’s possible she did.  The point here, is that much data was discussed and disseminated.  The need was quantified.  Specific options have been put on the table.  And now the House has led with a proposal.  Debbie, unfortunately, has since only proven her worst critics correct.  She is clearly prepared to oppose everything, even when her own demands are incorporated into legislation.

Let’s go ALL THE WAY BACK to November 11th, 2014.  It may be hard for some of us to remember what we said less than 3 months ago, but if you are a leader and hoping to shape public policy, it’s not unreasonable to expect consistency from Veterans’ Day to the introduction of the first serious bill on a topic.  Here’s what Debbie said on that day:

“…Start with giving the 12.2 cents to transportation and think about distance ridden transit fees, think about a toll road expressway that completely goes through the metro Atlanta area without exits, etc. Start small and prove to tax payers you can be responsible with the projects ..”

This – the part about the 12.2 cents and not the part about the “small” new toll road built thru the middle of Atlanta funded by private money and the tears of unicorns – is exactly what the House bill does.  This is not an insignificant point, as the members and leaders of the general assembly, in both parties, have been working hard to find a solution that meets the need while maintains as much public and political consensus as possible.  Frankly, I’m aware of even more of them than usual have been reading our comments section on transportation topics to gage strengths and weaknesses of proposals.  A TEA Party leader laying down this kind of marker matters.

Well, to others, maybe.  But apparently not to Debbie.  This is how she characterized using these same funds within hours of her directive being publicly released as the basis for the House bill:

“There is a billion dollars surplus that is projected that is being spent on education and other items and not on transportation. I agree education is important and that is why I find it so ironic the House Republican Plan cuts needed funding from local school boards. House Republicans first impulse is to tax-not cut.”

On Facebook, she phrased it this way:

“Since Georgia is projected to have an almost billion dollar surplus in 2016 or 2017, why isn’t that surplus being allocated for transportation instead of raising taxes on gas? Elected officials and those closely aligned with Georgia Chamber of Commerce and spouting their talking points will say that money is going to education and other needs. I am amazed they have the nerve to say that considering the House Transportation Plan actually takes money away from local school boards and local governments. Elected officials should not be given more tax dollars until they have proven they can be trusted with the money they currently have. The House Republicans haven’t talked about cuts or not allocating money to the Falcons stadium or reforms to the corporate tax credit structure. They just want to reach into your pocketbook and take more of your money to create a giant slush fund to spend more unwisely.” (emphasis added)

Taking the money she demanded we start with in November is now derided as a cut to local governments and local school boards.  Even in the same answer, Debbie wants to eliminate the state’s education budget increase (apparently oblivious that this money is almost a direct pass through to local school boards) while decrying the local school system’s losses due to the proposal to end their ability to tax gasoline.

More importantly, the above was actually a re-post.  Her initial question (as is just Debbie’s custom) was a question designed to instill doubt and distrust in any proposal among those who follow her.  It merely asked “Since Georgia is projected to have an almost billion dollar surplus in 2016 or 2017, why isn’t that surplus being allocated for transportation instead of raising taxes on gas?”

I posted my own response, which included “…Georgia’s year over year mandatory spending (think entitlements) grew $700M last year, and the Governor has recommended $280M for additional education spending to end furloughs and return schools to a 180 day school year. There is no “surplus”.”   My comment was immediately removed and I was blocked by Debbie, with her reposting the longer answer about those who would spout the Chamber’s talking points added.  This is apparently passes for a public debate from this “leader”.  (As an aside, if anyone wants more background on this non-surplus, I wrote a column about it here.  It’s easy to find information if you’re just willing to look for it and/or ask anyone that works in the budget process.)

One year ago, Debbie told Martha Zoeller and Tim Bryant “activists are excited to be at the table”.  Today, she shuns everyone at the table as “chamber aligned”.  One year ago, Debbie was setting the table for what was coming by noting “…eveyone assumed that the Tea Party is just against any tax increase.”  She now calls a House plan that preserves the average amount raised over the past four years as a tax increase.  One year ago and three months ago she spoke and wrote of the need to take taxes on gasoline and apply them to education.  Today, she suggests the state not send money to local school systems that will restore austerity cuts, but is troubled that the local governments may not be able to tax gasoline in future ESPLOSTs.

Leaders lead.  To lead in any specific and purposeful direction, consistency is required.  And to be constructive in any meaningful way, a leader must also make some attempt at learning facts, not posing questions that fit a narrative with total disregard to the easily discernible truths.

On this issue Debbie had the opportunity to help lead.  Instead, she has chosen the disappointing but marketable path of obstruction.

I had hoped for better.  I was warned of what is now the reality.  The disappointment is real.  The effects are quite tangible.

Those of us who have worked for change in how the GOP governs have come from many backgrounds.  Our efforts have taken many forms.  The definitions of “insider”, “establishment”, “activist”, and other words have blurred.  We’ve elected a large number of Tea Party, liberty minded, and other independent thinking GOPers since 2010.  The Senate alone has 30 of 38 Republicans elected since the TEA Party election of 2010.  We don’t just have a seat at the table, we’re in a position to lead.  Leadership is required.

We have a responsibility to govern.  This means making hard choices.  This means taking consistent positions.  Above all, this means being “for” something – and sticking to it when the inevitable criticism and skepticism creeps into the debate.  Let’s be clear – no public policy should ever be adopted without healthy debate, vetting, and careful evaluation of the criticism that arises.  We should remain an equal part of this vetting while we propose conservative solutions.  It’s how we’ll make sure we end up with the best proposals with the fewest unintended consequences.

We cannot afford to squander the seat at this table by arguing against everything – even positions we demanded just a couple of months ago.  It confuses both activists and our elected officials – many of whom now reflect our values – when they need our support.

We as conservative activists must decide if we want to influence the laws and policies as they are passed, or if we want a permanent seat on the sidelines.  We need not give those in the traditional seats of power reasons to ignore us.  And that is exactly what my friend, the leader, has spent much of the last year doing.

 

 

93 comments

  1. TheEiger says:

    Thank you Charlie. Just want to re post this line in case someone doesn’t read your entire post (they should). By far the most important line. Many of us can see what leaders look like and can see the people who are just attracted to a microphone and camera.

    “Leaders lead. To lead in any specific and purposeful direction, consistency is required. And to be constructive in any meaningful way, a leader must also make some attempt at learning facts, not posing questions that fit a narrative with total disregard to the easily discernible truths.”

    What we have here

  2. Spacey G says:

    Honestly, I could care less if you and Debbie part ways on the to-gas-tax-or-not thing. But please don’t fight it out on GPB’s stolen radio programming that’s WRAS’ Butt Nigut festival.

    That is all.

    #SaveWRAS

  3. debbie0040 says:

    Charlie, we did agree on much in the past but that was before you began to become a mouthpiece for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and their agenda. I was glad in the beginning of BEST to be given a seat at the table with the Chamber until I realized they were actually leading the agenda and in all probability financing BEST. The purpose of me being in the group was not for all of us to come to consensus , but to convince me to see things your way. Many things have transpired in regard to the Georgia Chamber of Commerce since a year ago.

    House Leadership very loudly proclaimed their Transportation Bill raised over a billion dollars was revenue neutral and didn’t raise taxes. That is not true and I called them out on it. They are being deceptive by saying that but yet you said nothing. You and House Leadership expect Georgians to believe that simply by changing the way gas is taxed, they can raise a billion dollars. Yet Georgians are expected to trust the very same elected officials that are being dishonest about the plan to trust them to spend the new revenue generated by the House plan wisely.. Unreal.

    After the initial meetings and press conference, how many meetings did you have I was actually invited to ?

    As for me blocking you, you were using my posts to attack me on your wall. You tried to use my wall to spread your propaganda.

    To begin with Charlie, when I mentioned the 4th penny should go to transportation and not the general fund , I was referring to the state portion – not the local portion.

    There are some ideas in the plan I agree with but there are more I disagree with. I have stated repeatedly that until elected officials are responsible with the tax dollars they have, they should not be given more. You seem to believe that just because the plan contains some things I support, then I must support all of the plan.

    This is the plan Sierra Club and I agreed to in 2012 as you are well aware. Have all the requirements been met we set forth?

    http://www.peachpundit.com/2012/07/27/tea-party-seirra-club-announce-areas-of-agreement-for-post-t-splost-plan-b/

    1) Discard the current three different taxes on motor fuel and enact a single motor fuel tax, based on the value of the commodity and allowed to rise and fall with price inflation, dedicated solely to funding transportation with a portion[a] of the motor fuel tax receipts available for “all transportation purposes,” including operating costs as well as capital and maintenance.

    2) Allow any two or more local governments to create, and fully fund, transportation projects to meet the needs of their citizens through referenda on local motor fuel or sales taxes, and other revenue sources.

    a) Allow referenda to levy local fractional sales taxes and motor fuel taxes of less than one percent for local transportation funding purposes.

    b) Leave decisions over specific allowable allocations of local transportation taxes and fees in control of the local governments and their agencies that administer them, free from State interference.

    c) Allow combinations of local governments to form fiscal partnerships with GA DOT for sharing capital and/or operating costs of local transportation projects to meet the needs of their citizens.

    3) Before elected officials are given more money they need to show they can be trusted with what they have. As a first step toward transparency and accountability, DOT Board members should be elected at annual public meetings of Congressional District Legislative Caucuses in each Congressional District for open public election (no secret ballots) to one-year terms of service and review of transportation activities in the District.

    4) Before MARTA is expanded, it should be brought up to date on maintenance and be restored to a reasonable level of service.

    a) The Legislature should end its interference in MARTA budgets and resume an oversight role. Voters and elected officials where the MARTA tax is collected (Fulton, Dekalb and Atlanta) should decide how MARTA revenue should be spent.

    b) The hotel/motel tax the City of Atlanta collects yearly should in some part go to MARTA or transportation needs, not to be used to build a new stadium for the Falcons.

    c) Other options that should be considered include distance based user fares, charge for parking at MARTA lots, use part of the hotel/motel tax to help fund MARTA — even consider raising the tax to fund transportation needs.

    • debbie0040 says:

      As for taxes being on the table in the Policy Best meetings, I agreed to put them on the table to discuss. I NEVER agreed to them. It has always been my position until elected officials are spending the money wisely they have now, they should not be given more. Elected officials continue to give tax breaks to big corporations and help build sports stadiums.

      We sent this out to our members.
      We know how hard it is to navigate the state budget to find tax dollars spent unwisely. In the past fiscal years, you could go to “tracking sheets” and go to the general obligation or “GO Bond” section and easily see where money is going that in some cases is wasteful spending. We have included links to the tracking sheets from fiscal years ending in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

      FY ending 2015 (GO Bonds begin on page 125, Section 50)
      https://drive.google.com/a/teapartypatriots.org/file/d/0B0FftSm604-oTUtPTjlKSnRPSG8/view?usp=sharing

      FY ending in 2014 (GO Bonds begin on page 220, Section 50)
      https://drive.google.com/a/teapartypatriots.org/file/d/0B0FftSm604-oVDAxSVNHUmdMZWc/view

      FY ending in 2013 (GO Bonds begin on page 97 section 51)
      https://drive.google.com/a/teapartypatriots.org/file/d/0B0FftSm604-oR2JSa3NjcEVIQlk/view

      • Posner says:

        “until elected officials are spending the money wisely they have now, they should not be given more”

        This sounds like something a petulant child would say–until you do exactly what I want I’m going to stand in the corner and yell really loudly.

        Or, if you want more inflammatory rhetoric–Debbie Dooley is a terrorist, holding our state hostage until everyone does precisely what she wants.

        Until she can move beyond the political level of ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, and their brethren, she should be publicly ridiculed and derided. Or maybe stoned; that’s the punishment her brethren would support.

        • TheEiger says:

          That’s a little much. I’m no fan of Debbie, but to lump her into a group of people who are beheading people they disagree with is more than a little outrageous.

          • Posner says:

            No more outrageous that saying that Government should never get money for transportation until they meet every single one of my demands.

            (Obviously it’s outrageous, that’s the point. It’s political rhetoric–it means nothing but sounds good).

        • androidguybill says:

          Posner:

          Debbie and her ilk has been voting for small government conservatives for 30 years yet government never gets smaller. Look, you have no sympathy for this because you disagree with small government conservatives and their agenda to begin with. I get it. But to people who support this agenda and for whom it matters – for people who do not think like you – it is entirely reasonable for people like Debbie to demand that the folks that they voted for to actually start DELIVERING on the promises that they campaigned on before they are willing to accept opening the checkbooks.

          Unless your position is that the people who have accepted Debbie’s votes and activism all these years were lying to her and that she just needs to accept it and move on. Of course, if it were guys on your side that had been lying to you about supporting progressive change while taking your votes and your money and using it to enact the same conservative big business agenda as usual, you would see how immoral that is.

          • Posner says:

            Androidguybill:

            The only “agenda” Debbie is advancing is “my way or the highway.” Unlike Debbie, I believe what our founding fathers believed–government only works when no one entity has too much power, and when big and small must work together to COMPROMISE to get things done. Further, much like the drafters of our constitution, I believe that tyranny of the majority is the greatest threat to individual liberty–which is why our constitution only had 1 part of 1 body of gov’t actually elected “by the people.”

            Debbie’s “my way or the highway” position is EXACTLY what the Founders feared. For perhaps the most classic exposition on this subject, see Federalist No. 10.

          • Posner says:

            Further on my point: Debbie and her minions embody quite precisely the definition of a dangerous “faction” that civil society must guard against at all costs.

            As Madison says in Federalist No. 10, we must strongly guard our society against “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”

            • androidguybill says:

              “Unlike Debbie, I believe what our founding fathers believed–government only works when no one entity has too much power, and when big and small must work together to COMPROMISE to get things done.”

              For Debbie, the COMPROMISE would be this.

              1. Fulfill the promises that you have used to get people like me to vote for you for DECADES and make government smaller and more transparent. Elimination of government agencies, independent ethics agencies with real subpoena and enforcement powers, and tax reform would be a place to start.

              2. After we have done this, then we can talk about $1 billion in new taxes to fund new projects that will not be used to roll back any victories achieved in 1.

              What is your definition of compromise? Because somehow I think that when you say compromise and I say compromise we are meaning different things.

              • debbie0040 says:

                Well said Androidguybill

                Politicians often make grand promises on the campaign trail, then grand excuses once elected. People are getting tired of that…

              • Posner says:

                “What is your definition of compromise” Is that a bad joke?

                Compromise: v, “to give up something that you want in order to reach an agreement”

                http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compromise

                There is literally nothing Debbie is willing to give up in order to reach agreement. She mandates that EVERYTHING must be done her way.

                Did you make up another definition somewhere?

                • androidguybill says:

                  The compromise would be the ONE BILLION IN NEW TAXES AND SPENDING. You do realize that this plan calls for ONE BILLION IN NEW TAXES AND SPENDING don’t you? Do you honestly believe that ANY Tea Partier wants $1 billion in new taxes and spending on anything other than perhaps law enforcement and defense? If so, show and prove where this is the case.

                  • Posner says:

                    If you think this plan consists of “one billion in new taxes and spending,” you either don’t know how to read, don’t know how to do math, or both. Even Debbie doesn’t claim that.

        • debbie0040 says:

          To begin with, it isn’t just me. I am out front but there are many, many behind the scenes prodding me to do something. If it was just me advocating for a position people like you and others wouldn’t be worried and could just brush me off. Posner, I am sharing your comments with other tea party activists.

          At least, I am not a coward hiding behind a moniker like you are..

          We agreed with Sierra Club on a number of points, so I don’t have a its my way or the highway attitude.

          What we do expect is for elected officials to live up to their promises of being fiscally responsible with the money they have now. How have they been fiscally responsible.

          • Posner says:

            “I am sharing your comments with other tea party activists” I look forward to reading Federalist No. 10 when you shoot that around. You can find the text at http://www.constitution.org

            “We agreed with Sierra Club on a number of points, so I don’t have a its my way or the highway attitude” – au contraire, if you agree with someone, you are, by definition, not compromising. Name one thing that you are willing to give up from your list of demands in order to achieve meaningful progress in Georgia.

            “What we do expect is for elected officials to live up to their promises of being fiscally responsible with the money they have now. How have they been fiscally responsible”

            If this is the case, any suggestion from you that you would be open to correctly funding transportation in the state is a blatant lie. If, as you say, there has not been sufficient progress towards fiscal responsibility in Georgia gov’t, then there is literally no transportation plan that you can support.

            You should at least be honest–nothing can get done with your approval until the reforms you want are implemented. And you should have said this from the start–perhaps something like “there is no point in discussing transportation in Georgia until leaders have eliminated multiple government agencies that I don’t like, created an independent ethics agency that is different than the one we have now that I disagree with, and implemented tax reform that lowers my taxes.” You should put that quote in your newsletters. It would be the first piece of honest discourse from you in quite a while. I’m not holding my breath.

            • debbie0040 says:

              Posner, I was referring to your quote that I should be stoned where you compared me to terrorists..

  4. Al Gray says:

    In your Policy Best meetings, was there input from TSPLOST-afflicted citizens? If so, how? If not, why not?

    If you all proceeded on the basis of DOT “facts and figures” I would suggest that you reconsider the validity of your information, as almost nothing DOT and the regional commission here projected has been accurate, including their accounting for TSPLOST funds post passage.

    • Charlie says:

      The assumption in virtually everyone’s plans is that the amount of revenue raised by the state will not be the total amount needed for transportation. The amount proposed by the House will provide very little more than the amount needed to return to a normal (7-15 year) maintenance schedule for roads and bridges (bridges obviously longer than 15 years).

      Local/regional initiatives will still be needed. When you look at GDOT’s essential projects list, half of them (by cost) are outside of metro Atlanta.

      There’s still need for statewide funding for both maintenance and new projects outside of TIAA. We continue to push for more flexibility in local referendums to allow for 2 or more counties to form a region, to have fractional SPLOSTS instead of a fixed one percent, to vary the time of a SPLOST based on need and available matching funds/bonding capacity, and to lift the caps currently limiting the amount a county can have.

      The House adds additional flexibility in allowing for local gas taxes too. While this will not likely be used as heavily in border regions such as yours, it could be very useful in the Atlanta region, specifically where three counties already dedicate a local 1% to transportation and may find an additional gas tax more compelling to continue the regions infrastructure buildout.

  5. androidguybill says:

    @Charlie:

    I am no Debbie Dooley fan (primarily because her thought process and motivations are pretty much “white flight” politics and I happen to live in the city of Atlanta) but I have to admit that I am sympathetic to her here. The GOP has been in power for 12 years in this state and yet no one can point to a single significant “smaller government” victory. The names and party labels of the people in power have been changed, but otherwise it could be as if Joe Frank Harris and Tom Murphy were still ruling the roost. And it isn’t as if they have tried and failed, but in many instances they have not even tried. So Georgia has nothing like the conservative reforms that have been tried (with admittedly varying results) in places like Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana and Texas, many of whom have not enjoyed GOP control for as long or as thorough.

    And in spite of this failure, the GOP concocts a plan of $1 billion in new spending, paid for mostly by transferring education and economic development funds from the counties to the states? Even better: in order to make up this shortfall, the county leadership is going to have to be the ones to make the politically unpopular step of raising taxes, and the tax increases are going to have to be exceedingly unpopular ones on groceries, property and millage rates. You can say “gasoline taxes should be excise taxes that are only dedicated towards transportation!” and make all the “grandfathered in” proclamations all you want, but it amounts to the Georgia legislature changing the rules for how local communities always have paid for their own projects in this state in the middle of the game. And the best part: the $1 billion isn’t even enough. The Georgia GOP’s own figures showed that the state needed $2.5 billion at minimum and that the true need was $5 billion. But expect the Georgia GOP leadership to pass the buck to the counties to make up the shortfall by taxing themselves.

    Debbie Dooley is consistent. She made it clear that she opposed T-SPLOST because she didn’t want an added sales tax collected in Cobb (and now her new place of residence Gwinnett I suppose) to be used to fund MARTA (which is why she basically shrugged towards T-SPLOST passing in other areas of the state). But now, under this plan, money that would have gone to maintain the excellent Cobb and Gwinnett school systems and to compete with downtown for high paying employers are now going to be diverted to MARTA (sort of) and Cobb and Gwinnett are going to have to raise other taxes just to maintain their current revenue. How is this BETTER? And where is the plan for real tax reform or a significant reduction in the number of state agencies and regulations (instead of merely laying off some state employees that can and will just be hired back later) that would make it better?

    Look, I don’t even agree with Ms. Dooley’s policy goals or mindset and I can see where this is a bad deal for her community. Which means that the people who actually DO agree with her are really upset right now, and their concerns should not be dismissed.

    • Al Gray says:

      Debbie was spot on about TSPLOST and so where all of the opponents of that failed initiative.

      The proof is in the gamesmanship, trickery and deception seen in the CSRA Regional TSPLOST.

      If the legislature jumps into approving this new fuel tax without examining what happened here, it deserves every bit of the ridicule, suspicion, and hostility Debbie can dish out.

      • androidguybill says:

        “Debbie was spot on about TSPLOST and so where all of the opponents of that failed initiative.”

        Except that this plan is actually worse – especially for conservatives – than TSPLOST. That is what a lot of people do not seem to realize. T-SPLOST was easy to oppose because it forced suburban and urban counties together to pay for projects that one group, another group or both groups did not support. This plan redistributes money from local areas statewide to a bunch of project lists to be named later. Another thing: T-SPLOST was going to expire after 7 years, meaning had the monstrosity passed in 2012 it would be 1/3 of the way done with, and in a year or two the state and local leaders would already have to start planning for “life after T-SPLOST”. This plan will restrict counties and cities from using revenue connected in their areas to be used on local needs FOREVER, meaning that millage and property tax rates are going to have to go up just to maintain current local spending levels.

        Just because it isn’t explicitly taking tax money from your area to spend on MARTA and the Beltline doesn’t make it a better deal. And as this proposal will only result in $1 billion of the $2.5 to $5 billion that is really needed, if you think that it will be absent gamesmanship, trickery and deception then my response to that is “we’ll see.”

        • debbie0040 says:

          It is all about priorities and the fact elected officials look at tax-payers as cash cows for their corporate cronyism projects. The road builders must be very happy with the House Plan. Robust mass transit done in a fiscally responsible way has to be part of any solution in the Metro area. Not just roads.

          Mayor Reed cried about the financial needs of MARTA, then decided to allocate the over 400 million dollar proceeds from the hotel/motel tax to build a new stadium for the Falcons. That was a higher priority than building up MARTA.

          His attitude is typical of many elected officials, whether they be Republican or Democrat. They spend tax dollars unwisely on pet projects that benefit their political cronies then when money is needed to solve real problems, they want to raise taxes on everyday citizens. God forbid they cut money to the projects that benefit their political cronies instead. They don’t want to do that.

          What is wrong in demanding they be accountable for where tax dollars are going? What is wrong in demanding openness and transparency ?

          • androidguybill says:

            @debbie0040:

            Allow me to rejoin that the people who keep insisting that the Falcons’ stadium money could have been spent on transportation instead 1. have no idea how the GEORGIA World Congress Center is actually funded and operated (here’s a hint: it is not called the ATLANTA World Congress Center for a VERY REAL reason) and 2. have less interest in learning.

            Suffice to say that Reed was nothing more than the state’s puppet on the stadium deal, because the GWCC didn’t want to lose the Falcons as a tenant and have to compete for major events with a brand new, state of the art facility in the suburbs any more than the city did. A lot of people who DO know how the deal actually went down are city residents and activists who are further left than Reed and wanted the money being spent on the stadium deal to be directed to social welfare spending instead. Fortunately for Reed, the Atlanta population contains more Falcons fans than far-left activists, and the state legislature and the governor knew this when they let Reed do their dirty work for them.

            And incidentally, a state transportation funding plan that largely protects the city from negative consequences (because Atlanta already pays a penny into MARTA) can be considered the payoff.

            • debbie0040 says:

              Agree about the state’s part and Reed but he should have not went along with it.. Also, a few years prior the Georgia Legislature (Bill introduced by Republicans)enabled the hotel/motel proceeds going to the Falcons stadium. They passed a bill so narrow that it could only be used for the new stadium. They gave 20 million dollars to the GWCC to purchase land in one budget a few years ago that is being used for the new Falcons stadium. They passed a budget last year that gave another 17 million to build a new parking deck for the Falcons and another 23 million in this year’s budget for the parking deal. The money for the parking deck was requested by Gov. Deal.

              • Baker says:

                There were a few of us who were pissed about the 2010 vote that allowed the new stadium money to be raised. All the fury is not directed at Mayor Reed but the 2010 vote was obscure enough to where opposition was minimal. The legislature clearly chickened out and let Reed and the Atlanta City Council do the dirty work. Don’t overlook the power the City Council had in the deal.

                I suppose it was inevitable that it would get done but I still think it’s wrong that in a city, just like any other city really, with a host of problems, that amount of cash gets diverted to an amenity that few, and with PSLs soon to be much fewer, can even afford to go to very often. I was also disappointed that so few political leaders had the courage to oppose the deal or call out Mr. Blank for something that was so clearly not a priority.

                I agree with Charlie pretty regularly but we definitely split ways when it comes to the state’s dealings with private corporations. This is not that though. This is one of the few things government is actually supposed to do.

                I was for the TSPLOST and am for this plan. There is never going to be a plan everyone agrees on and if we don’t do something really soon, we’re going to be so far behind the eight ball we’re going to have to do something everyone is going to hate, or we’re going to end up with a democrat as governor and Vincent Fort is going to be writing all the Senate bills and that’s not good for anybody.

                P.S. – (A nod to SpaceyG’s concerns) I’m also still pissed about the WRAS deal and will remain so. Listening to the same dang show (at the same time even!) on a different channel at the expense of an awesome student-run station is infuriating.

        • Al Gray says:

          TSPLOST was 10 years of funding, divided into 3 40-month bands, or phases.

          Over here, the symmetry is that poor McDuffie County’s $25 million of projects are in the Third Band, along with 2 projects desired by the Augusta National Golf Club which were to cost $23 million, but the latter’s projects got moved to Band 2, then into Band 1 via a loan to Augusta Richmond County.

          With 15% revenue shortfalls now (10% over the 10 years is structurally unavoidable) and the first major project increasing at 5% a year- double the 2.5% per year in the estimates, Band 3 ain’t happening. Band 1 and 2 projects will eat up the funding. The first projects in the hopper have first claim to funds and ostensibly funding of cost overruns. McDuffie is out of luck, while the National gets relief from paying $2 million per acre for land.

          Who knew that “Critical Transportation Infrastructure” could mean a golf-course expansion? Who figured that the world’s most prestigious sporting event could go to the well of Augusta funding for the umpteenth time, drawing from the goodwill generated by so many tickets (worth up to $15,000 tax free each year) to city officials, to this time find to their dismay that the funds weren’t Augusta’s alone but regional?

          Augusta politics was a marriage the other 12 counties should have known to avoid and might have, but for the MSM.(Morris State Media) influence in the region.

          If the state can fund a parking deck for the Falcons and the National could afford $2 million per acre for land for its expansion, it looks to me that they are both missing a grand opportunity to set things right by coming up with, say $10 million apiece, to fix this embarrassing debacle.

          Debbie was RIGHT. Here we fought and won, Columbia, Glascock and Lincoln Counties, but lost because the inner city voters in Augusta were promised projects and transit monies in Band 2, then voted for TSPLOST, only to see those projects swapped for those National projects.

          Every county commissioner in Georgia should consider what happened here and thank Debbie Dooley.

          • androidguybill says:

            @Al Gray:

            We seem to be arguing past each other here. My position was never that T-SPLOST was GOOD. My position is that this proposal is WORSE than T-SPLOST. The only reason why no one has that opinion – yet – is because there is no project list, and everyone assumes that when the project list is made known, it will be full of items that A) they agree with and B) will benefit from. When they see that this project list WILL NOT DO SO BECAUSE THE $1 BILLION THAT IT RAISES IS NOT NEARLY ENOUGH then they will see that they are giving up on their local revenue AND their local sovereignty for pretty much a whole lot of nothing.

            • Al Gray says:

              Well put!

              As Charlie notes, the biggest revenue losers are the boards of education. It will be hard to win them over.

  6. Three Jack says:

    On this matter, Debbie makes a good point. Legislators have not earned the public trust to ask for yet another tax alteration.

    The GOP since taking over has failed to even consider accomplishing one of the major tasks that helped get them the majority, tax reform/overhaul. But they did pass tax alterations favoring certain special interest groups, namely power companies and auto dealers. They called this ‘tax reform’ thus further eroding taxpayer trust for anybody who paid even a modicum of attention.

    They passed legislation making it more difficult for a person to seek employment within their chosen industry by tightening non-compete contracts.

    They passed (the buck) to taxpayers when they attempted the TSPLOST. Many GOPer legislators supported it until they faced massive resistance way beyond anything the TP by itself could muster. They even got Paul Bennecke and other GOPer consultants to setup a front group promoting the since failed tax increase. Major failure.

    Personally I am not against increasing revenues to pay for much needed transportation improvements. But I am not confident that the current legislative leadership contingent led by a corrupt governor will be the best to oversee such a massive undertaking. They have much to prove before they start reaching for our wallets.

    • androidguybill says:

      You said it better than I – and regrettably Debbie herself – could have. To use a loaded analogy, it would be no different from blacks voting for politicians who turn around and enact even worse Jim Crow laws than those that existed before. (Please, no GOP talking points about how the segregationists were Democrats and the Great Society was more harmful for the black community than Jim Crow was. I am just making a general point here.) The GOP both fails to enact the agenda that they ran on AND decides to raid the coffers of county and city governments for up to $1 billion AND will force those local governments to raise property taxes and millage rates. The Democrats don’t care (beyond the robbing education to pay transportation part) because they don’t support smaller government anyway. Their guy Obama just proposed yet another tax and spending increase and regulation push despite our economic growth slowing to a puny 2.5% in the last quarter. It is the GOP that is SUPPOSED to care about these things, and they are the ones getting sold out.

    • debbie0040 says:

      Can you just imagine the fun Gov. Deal and his political cronies and other elected officials political cronies would have with the funding of the GA Transportation Infrastructure Bank ? this has the Chamber of Commerce written all over it. Read page 8, Part V Section 5-1 of the bill. Want to know the plans for the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank? Read what an internal memo that was sent out by House Leadership to members of the GOP House Caucus. “• Recapitalize the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank so that a revolving, self-sustaining, loan/grant fund is created to incentivize governments, authorities, CIDs and other entities to provide matching funds for local construction of projects. The Transportation Infrastructure Bank will be directed to assist tier 1 and tier 2 counties and encourage investment in every region of our state. “

      • taylor says:

        Debbie,
        Do you consider similar revolving loan programs run by GEFA and DCA to be problems? Water good, roads bad?

        • ryanhawk says:

          GEFA was meant to be a lender of last resort to help local governments with critical infrastructure problems. It’s now a slush fund with many “subprime” loans. So yes it’s a problem.

  7. Stefan says:

    We have underfunded transportation for years because everyone was too scared to actually pay for it because it would require either a) cutting education or b) cutting something we weren’t really allowed to cut, or c) raising taxes, which would result in the Senator or Representative maybe losing their next election. The best we could muster in courage was TSPLOST, and now its carcass embodies both transportation funding and an excuse for cowardice.

    Now we have a crisis where people and goods cannot be moved around the state quickly enough and our bridges and highways are falling apart (that’s the present) and we have done almost nothing on mass transit and ideas that actually prepare us for the future. But we also have a ton of TEA-fueled movement that doesn’t really care about the Georgia of the future, and just wants to pretend it’s the 1890’s and we can fund our responsibilities the same way we did then.

    It’s one thing to campaign on spending being out of control. It’s another going down to the legislature and learning how dollars are actually spent. Our taxes are extremely low. On top of that we refuse federal money out of hubris and electioneering masquerading as principle. The realities of governing for the whole state have succumbed to the realities of getting elected by a Primary electorate that’s more and more vitriolic while digesting less and less information.

    Government should exist to make the burdens of Georgians less. It would seem that would mean never raising taxes. But the reality is that sometimes getting an additional $1 from each Georgian enriches their lives more than that $1 ever could on its own. But getting to that understanding requires some understanding of government, economics, or perhaps going into a Sam’s Club to understand how volume buying works.

    I always though Debbie Dooley was part of that greater learning. That she’d take the strong feelings of her constituency to the Gold Dome, but also take some of that learned reality back to her constituency. But it seems that she’s all megaphone and no notepad.

    • Boredatwork says:

      My issue with this bill is that it is hopelessly complex. It will raise taxes, yet the Republicans are pretending that it won’t. It also underfunds transit, underfunds maintenance, and ignores environmental effects (the EV “fee” only makes sense if we pretend global warming and smog aren’t problems).

      We need a comprehensive approach that includes the realities of Metro Atlanta transportation and the environmental realities our refusal to meaningfully expand transit entails. Debbie hits the nail on the head when she says this: The road builders must be very happy with the House Plan. Robust mass transit done in a fiscally responsible way has to be part of any solution in the Metro area. Not just roads.”

      I applaud her for working with the Sierra Club on transportation issues.

      • Dave Bearse says:

        I agree with you the current bill unacceptably underfunds transit. It will raise $11B in new revenue over 10 years, but the only ironclad transit funding commitment is a $100M bond and $17M in AFV taxes in YF2016, about 1% for the total new revenue over a ten year period.

        (After FY2016, it’s simply the General Assembly’s”intention” to use the $17M AFV taxes for transit. Just like it was the intention of the General Assembly that the $1 tire fee, special license plate and other taxes for special specific purposes.)

        But complex it is not.

  8. Al Gray says:

    I agree about the inefficiency of government spending.

    Didn’t Debbie champion very serious reform of DOT after its accounting fiasco? Was DOT reformed or reorganized to any major extent?

    Putting another $1 billion a year into these people’s hands without clear answers is irresponsible.

  9. Baker says:

    Gracious this is a lot of reading. Nobody go anywhere, the comments that will convince you all to go to the correct side will arrive when I have a chance to read all this later this evening.

  10. GTKay says:

    There is so much talk about legislators and GDOT earning public trust with tax dollars, yet no quantifiable standard offered to measure this elusive trust. GDOT is run not by bureaucrats or politician, but by a bunch of engineers constantly expected to deliver more with less. And they are and have been consistently working to improve delivery time and to stay on or under budget. The transparency is there for those who care to look.

    On national issues the Tea Party has my support. Locally, the Tea Party, with Debbie as their most vocal spokesperson, seems to want to take out its frustrations with the current administration and Arthur Blank by hijacking meaningful conversation about transportation funding among other issues. This is serious stuff and we do ourselves no favors by kicking the can once again because the planets aren’t aligned around someone’s personal agenda.

    • debbie0040 says:

      Oh, yes GTKay, I understand what you mean. You would prefer the tea party just focus on the national level and the bad policy and unethical behavior of the Democrats and ignore the bad policy and unethical behavior of Republicans on the state and local level. You would prefer us to focus on the national level and cut and reform our entitlement welfare system but ignore reforming and cutting the corporate welfare system like EX IM Bank.

      • GTKay says:

        “I assumed the 12.2 cents was all directed to the state general fund.”

        No, I would prefer that you inform yourself about what a bill actually says before you distribute your talking points. House Republicans are not getting a billion dollars. The bill directs the 4th percent of the state sales tax on gas and any local county sales tax dollars on gas sales to GDOT where it is dedicated to construction, maintenance and operations of roads and bridges. Some of that money will be returned back to counties and cities to be specifically used to fund their transportation needs.

        • debbie0040 says:

          I know what is in the bill. GDOT answers to the Governor and Legislative leaders-same difference, just an additional layer. I am familiar with the bill. It also directs money to fund the GA Transportation Infrastructure Bank.

          • GTKay says:

            This bill does not direct money to the GA Infrastructure Bank. It changes how the funds are spent. What do you think the GA Infrastructure Bank is?

    • Three Jack says:

      “There is so much talk about legislators and GDOT earning public trust with tax dollars, yet no quantifiable standard offered to measure this elusive trust.”

      The quantifiable results of 12 years in the majority provide all you need to form an intelligent judgement. Beyond the failure to fulfill fiscally conservative pushcard promises like an overhaul of the state tax system, they have yet to put forth a serious ethics reform measure after spending years disparaging dems for their lack of ethical performance. Instead they jumped right into the cesspool of lobbyists accepting all sorts of handouts.

      Going forward, the GOP has full control of state government at every level so there are no excuses for not doing what has been promised. Start with ethics reform while working on a modern tax system that is not setup to favor certain industries/special interest groups. After 12 years, this is the least we should expect from a legislative body full of GOPers elected as fiscal conservatives.

      • GTKay says:

        Who defines “serious” regarding ethics reform? Who decides when the tax system is sufficiently overhauled? More ambiguous targets. More kick-the-dog politics. Meanwhile transportation funding continues to flatline and GDOT’s resources are spread thinner and thinner. I’m not sure certain Tea Party grandstanders grasp the long-term competitive nature of infrastructure and transportation planning and their importance to the state’s future economy. It’s a shame.

        • Three Jack says:

          GTKay,

          First I have nothing to do with the TP and would gladly contribute more via tax dollars if I thought the people receiving the money were trustworthy. They are not for the reasons mentioned previously and on other threads regarding this topic. This is not ‘kick-the-dog’ politics. It is seeing the reality of the situation through eyes that have witnessed years of GOPer missteps and failed pushcard promises.

          It’s a shame that those like yourself notice a problem then decide the only solution is to throw money at it without any regard for who is throwing the money or where it will land.

  11. Charlie says:

    Ok Debbie, there’s a lot of words up there opening everything up to misdirection, which you excel at.

    So let’s boil this down to baby steps.

    Please reconcile your November 11th statement of “Start with giving the 12.2 cents to transportation” with “the House Transportation Plan actually takes money away from local school boards and local governments” and “I agree education is important and that is why I find it so ironic the House Republican Plan cuts needed funding from local school boards.”

    The House plan started exactly where you said to start, then you immediately sent out emails and posted on Facebook attacking them for starting there.

    Let’s start there and focus on that. Help us understand why someone who listens to you and starts a major initiative where you suggest shouldn’t expect that you’ll attack them for doing that as soon as a proposal is released.

  12. debbie0040 says:

    I assumed the 12.2 cents was all directed to the state general fund to be used by the state.

    I immediately sent out an email that was focused on them raising taxes and being dishonest. I worked with Sierra Club on a plan both sides agreed to in 2012. You are angry because the plan included some portions of what I had advocated for , I was just supposed to support the entire plan and ignore the bad stuff. If I had been asked about it, I would have made it clear. I wasn’t included on the discussions about developing the plan.

    Let’s start with the dishonesty of the House Republicans proclaiming the plan is revenue neutral and doesn’t raise taxes. Let’s focus on that.. Help me understand why Georgians can trust them with a billion dollars of new revenue when they can’t trust them to be honest about their plan.

    Let’s start with the fact you claim to be a conservative and are advocating for a plan that raises one billion dollars in new revenue and new spending ..

    • Charlie says:

      “I assumed”

      Therein lies the problem. Those of us that have put the time in to learn the numbers, both current revenue and need, understand them. We’ve actually been working to solve a problem. You can’t let any argument go untested, any camera go without a soundbite from you. You don’t care if you understand the underlying facts, you just want everyone to know you have an opinion. Whether based in facts or not.

      Skip the last 3 paragraphs as you’re continuing to try to deflect. We still have the most important part of my question above: Why should any policy maker at the capitol listen to your constant directives (always accompanied with threats) when you change your mind based on the opinion of the day, but won’t take the time to actually learn the answers to these questions/issues?

  13. debbie0040 says:

    You are deflecting from answering my questions. I think my questions are important and apparently so do a lot of other people or you wouldn’t have felt the need to write this post.

    If the policy makers had asked me about my thoughts I would have been glad to share them. I understand the numbers and what is going on now. I understand fully what the internal House memos said. I fully understand the attempt at deception by House Republican Leadership. I haven’t heard one word from you or anyone else about working on a plan since the press conference. There was a plan out there since 2012 they could have easily referred to. I have been pretty consistent about no new tax dollars until they have proven they can be fiscally responsible with the dollars they have now.

    You seem to like the camera pretty well too..

    • Charlie says:

      I started this entire post with that questions, so I’m entitled to continue to ask for an answer rather than let you try to answer questions with questions.

      You’ve felt the need to comment everywhere without the burden of even pretending to remain consistent in your arguments. You’ve done a complete flip flop on where you demanded this process start in less than 90 days. Why should anyone at the capitol invest in any of your proposals if you can’t even remain consistent for this long?

  14. debbie0040 says:

    I have been consistent. I thought the 12 cents you referred all went to the state since I did not have the exact figures. . I have been consistent with my beliefs since the plan we agreed with Sierra Club on in 2012You go after me for what you perceive is my inconsistency , but totally ignore the House Republicans inconsistency in the fact the House Republicans Transportation plan violates Republican principles. The House Republicans say their plan doesn’t raise taxes when it clearly does. And yet not one word from you. You, Charlie are the one that is inconsistent.

    • John Konop says:

      In all due respect, I am confused a little bit by your position. I thought your position is you supported the increase, but wanted to support the plan? Obviously, you are smart, you get lower gas prices creates less tax revanue…..I an sure you would tell your supporters how to do the math….The issue at hand is what they do with the money not the new proposal?

      Finally, I have proposed ideas like having government workers and agencies change hours when viable……to 11 to 8 verse 8 to 6 to keep people odd roads during high commute times….Even with ideas like this, you agree we need infasturcture improvements? Why not support the current structure, yet get a sit at the table with ideas? You have done a great job promoting alternative energy plans as well as this issue….I even think this opens renegotiation with the atlanta braves…..it was so poorly negoiotiated as we discussed…..it opens a door….The braves need fans to be able to get to the games……allows room for asking braves for help on this problem….because if not fixed, braves will be out big bucks….

      • John Konop says:

        How about a transportation tax on tickets, food and merchandise sold at the braves, falcons, hawks and downtown aquarium? They need fans to get to the games or attraction from all over….we need more tax revenue…..

  15. debbie0040 says:

    And for the record, not one person asked for my opinion about transportation, including you, Charlie, except for one State Senator. Another tea party activist was with me and we made our views known.

    This transportation plan was decided on long before the session began. That is the reason for the listening tour of the Joint Transportation Committee – to attempt to sell the need to the public to bring in more money. Clearly, the Joint Transportation committee ignored the polling that was done about transportation plans..

  16. Moe says:

    We bow to your most excellency Charlie. We are not worthy of your sophistication and omnipotence. Shame, shame, SSSHHAME on Debbie Dooley for daring to challenge thy most excellent thoughts on taxation, transportation and community development. We’re not worthy, we’re not worthy.

    You elitists never cease to amaze me. You nod at the blatant corruption and cronyism that is occurring under the guise of “conservatism” and “good government”. This sludge makes me want to puke. You’re such a schmuck.

    If you anyone wants to pay higher taxes, you’re out of your freaking mind. THE FACT is, the state is going to experience an incredible windfall this year. More people are motoring and enjoying the lower fuel costs (which means INCREASED GAS TAX REVENUE). Not only are they driving more, they have more $$$ to spend, which means there is INCREASED SALES TAX REVENUE.

    Now before you put your sanctimonious, elitists and snarky comments demeaning me, Debbie or anyone else who dare speak up, go shove it.

    • Stefan says:

      Do you have data to back up your assertions? What you seem to be suggesting is that the decreased per unit tax the state receives will be massively offset by some giant increase in the use of gas to drive who knows where. I’m going to guess Florida, because you can’t extra commute. More driving means more use of the highways and bridges, more use means more maintenance, and then we are right back in the same spot.

      If people then drive so much more that it offsets the cheaper gas and the state comes out ahead, why would they then go on additional buying sprees? And if this is all true, maybe the state should consider smoothing out its revenue. But that would require a real discussion of taxes which isn’t possible so nevermind.

      • Moe says:

        Earth to Stefan. Are you for freaking real? If you drive more you’re going to spend more. They get the same .26 cents regardless of what the retail cost of a gallon of gas is. If you’re driving extra places you’re using more fuel. Additionally, EVERYONE LOVES TO SPEND money on stuff they want. Whether it is going to the movies, dinner out, new clothes etc. etc…. They’re going to spend it and guess what, GEORGIA IS GOING TO TAX IT. I’m not unAmerican. That extra hundred $$$ I’ve saved through lower fuel cost has been spent on stuff…. Georgia is making out like a bandit….

        • Stefan says:

          Hold on, my understanding is that there’s a 7.5 cent per gallon state excise tax, and then another 4% gas sales tax. Are you suggesting that’s incorrect? Because by my math, if gas goes from $4 to $2, yes, the 7.5 cpg doesn’t change, but the gas sales tax receipt drops from 16 cents to 8, so to recoup the revenue (assuming funding sources are treated the same, which they aren’t quite) you’d need the amount of driving to go up almost a third!

          Is my math incorrect?

          • Moe says:

            In 2014, Georgia collected 27.49 cents per gallon in state fuel taxes and fees, in addition to the $0.18 per gallon collected by the federal government. The state adds $0.0749 per gallon in excise taxes and an extra 19.99 cents per gallon in “other state taxes and fees,” according to the American Petroleum Institute.

            • Stefan says:

              Yeah, but the gas sales tax depends on the price of gas. It is listed as a rate per gallon because that’s how it is collected, but the amount is established as a percentage of the price of a gallon of gas.

            • John Konop says:

              Moe,

              You also need to factor since 2004 mpg has improved about 5 mpg….around 25 percent more efficient….and this is growing as well with better technology….especially driven by battery improvements….that means that the state and Feds are getting 25 percent less revanue from gas as a ratio….and this is a growing problem….

              • Moe says:

                John, just right the Georgia Department of Revenue a check. Recruit all your supporters to do the same. Leave the rest of we malcontents, who y’all look down on the heck alone.

                Better yet raise the darn gas tax to 50 cents a gallon. Given your assessment, shouldn’t we be planning ahead????

                • John Konop says:

                  You really do not know me….or you would not make the comment. I am a pragmatist…..but very bottom line driven….I have long record for years warning about poor fiscal policy….unlike you I do not have my hand out asking for something with nothing….we have to many on the right and left who want a free lunch policy….that is how we got into this mess…

  17. Moe says:

    So you’re a lawyer…. Well heck, the odds of a personal injury suit just went up because Georgia drivers are pathetic and now they’re going further on their trips. You’re going to get more clients. Don’t fight Santa…. geez.

  18. SallyForth says:

    Now that my eyes have sufficiently crossed with all this back and forth, I guess I’ll have to read that #@%# piece of legislation for myself. Anybody got any popcorn?

    • Al Gray says:

      He isn’t getting spanked. People don’t trust DOT and they don’t trust the legislature.

      Charlie and his colleagues who worked on this matched transportation costs to transportation revenues, but have run into the unfortunate reality that this bill does not right the slate by matching the timing of excise tax increases with the elimination of motor fuels from local sales tax bases, resulting in double taxation, with even more double taxation in the TSPLOST counties.

      TSPLOST was an epic failure and it has poisoned the waters, even more so where it passed.

      The officials I have been conversing with are in opposition and their stance has absolutely nothing to do with Charlie versus Debbie. Charlie has a lot of time and effort invested that may not bear fruit. If you get involved in the public arena in matters of policy, this is often the case.

        • Al Gray says:

          Yes, on a personal level many already coordinate fill-ups with trips to North Augusta, SC. When TPSLOST passed, sales taxes on general merchandise were less in SC, too. (Note that TSPLOST doesn’t apply to motor fuels, but citizens think otherwise.)

          If this measure passes, truckers will skip Georgia to refuel in SC to an even greater extent and more citizens, including me, will be buying all of their fuel in Carolina.

          Carolina looks to be raising motor fuel taxes, but they are phased in, and the disadvantage of Georgia will increase. Mr. Jones presentation was very clear that there wouldn’t be any economically viable new convenience stores within 20 miles of the border.

          You guys are bound and determined to pass this tax, but I and we are equally determined that we won’t pay it, through one device or another. My driving has been cut by 2/3 and I can cut it more. Yes, go ahead. You are pushing on a wet noodle.

          TSPLOST here is in the hole 15% on revenue from what was projected by DOT and the politicians. The revenue-starved counties love the 25% TSPLOST discretionary fund and the fact that DOT does not get its hands on that.

          My friends the Augusta Commissioners are petrified that this will cause them to have to increase property taxes, something they did in September in the aftermath of a failed SPLOST that erupted in a inferno of public outrage that no one here thought the public capable of. That particular tax increase was necessary because the legislature woefully miscalculated the LOST revenues lost to the manufacturing energy exemption that they passed.

      • Baker says:

        “they don’t trust the legislature.”

        Well then vote for different people that you would trust. As it is, these are the people that were elected by the citizens of Georgia. I’m no great big fan of them all but this is what we’ve got. You have to work with what you’ve got.

          • Baker says:

            Oh I’m well aware of that. I guess to boil it down, we don’t really have a choice to wait to work on this and you HAVE to work with what we’ve got now. Some magical government made up of a couple hundred Ronald Reagans (or whomever the conservative du jour for you is, Calvin Coolidge?) is not coming in 2016.

            For that matter, I’m pretty sure Republican numbers are about at their peak in Georgia. If you can’t get this legislature to put forth a conservative plan that you are at all comfortable with, maybe the problem isn’t actually the legislature.

            • Al Gray says:

              My problem is that when we doubted their lies about funding levels during the TSPLOST debate they followed it with a greater lie that the state would “Guarantee that the Investment List Projects will be built” if the funds were inadequate. We are down 15% on revenues and costs on the early project had escalation of double what they said., where is our “GUARANTEE?”

              I used to hope the Democrats would die out. I used to contribute to the GOP’s candidates. Now I might quit voting or even bothering with this charade.

            • debbie0040 says:

              No we don’t have to work with what we have now and sit back and allow Republicans to pass bad legislation.

              When people fear their government, there is tyranny. When government fears their people, there is liberty. “Thomas Jefferson”

              • Baker says:

                My response is just to reiterate a previous point: “I’m pretty sure Republican numbers are about at their peak in Georgia. If you can’t get this legislature to put forth a conservative plan that you are at all comfortable with, maybe the problem isn’t actually with the legislature.”

  19. Will Durant says:

    Personalities aside. Roads and bridges, maintenance thereof, are all necessary. Rather than raising the revenue required to do this Georgia has been borrowing against the future. Creative financing like issuing federal grant anticipation bonds is not being fiscally responsible. Creating more bureaucracy to track vehicle miles traveled makes no sense. Toll lanes are not a source of revenue, quite the opposite. The best way to obtain revenue in order to pay as we go currently is the motor fuel tax and all users of the roads need assurance that 100% of the taxes collected on motor fuels are their fee for driving on the roads. The counties should never have been able to glom onto motor fuel taxes for other purposes in the first place.

  20. Will Durant says:

    “And for the record, not one person asked for my opinion about transportation…” — DD
    I think my questions are important and apparently so do a lot of other people…” — DD
    “As for taxes being on the table in the Policy Best meetings, I agreed to put them on the table to discuss. I NEVER agreed to them.” — DD
    “After the initial meetings and press conference, how many meetings did you have I was actually invited to? — DD
    I know what is in the bill.” — DD
    I assumed…” — DD

    I‘m seeing a pattern here.

  21. Rick Day says:

    What an amazing thread. And over..what…a few dozen dollars extra a year so we can have good roads?

    This was the biggest battle online since the 2014 11 trillion ISK space war!

    http://youtu.be/G02n1RUsTXo

    Its a sad day when its me to tell you folks to calm down. You are all part of the same Evil Empire, remember?

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