Monday, August 20, 2007

From one with more context than I

This is from the comments section on the gas tax post below. It comes from Sid Cottingham, aka Cracker Squire, who describes himself as a "traditional southern Democrat."

From my limited dealings with him, I'd call him a south Georgia gentleman.

If anyone has a rational counter point from the other side (be they traditional southern Republicans or otherwise) I'll be happy to promote that from the comments section, too. Thanks, Sid.
No one can give you a rational explanation about why our state’s motor fuel tax has long been on the untouchable list.

In the nineties then-Gov. Zell Miller began a move toward tax relief by persuading the legislature to remove the sales tax on groceries. The legislation exempting the sale of groceries from sales taxes was phased in over several years, and was complete in 1998.

Thereafter Gov. Roy Barnes came along in 1999, and in the same spirit of tax relief for the masses, lowered property taxes and made it more difficult for local governments and school districts to raise them.

Throughout these and earlier administrations, even though we have needed to improve and go forward with ambitious transportation improvement plans, an increase in our state’s motor fuel tax -- one of the lowest motor fuel taxes in the nation and much of any increase which would be borne by non-Georgians -- has been on the untouchable list.

But even though Barnes lowered property taxes during his first and only term, I have reason to believe that this logical tax increase would have become a reality had Gov. Barnes been elected to a second term. Maybe not real early in his term with the economy down and gas prices on the rise, but during his term nonetheless.

But we know that he did not get reelected, and thus this logical tax increase did not come about.

With Democrat Gov. Miller having lowered sales taxes by exempting groceries, Democrat Gov. Barnes having lowered property taxes, what in the world would Republican Perdue do in the way of proposing his own tax reductions.

As we remember, rather than continuing to please the masses, Gov. Perdue temporarily suffered amnesia and forgot them that brung him to the Gold Dome. Rather than cutting, his first major proposal involved raising taxes. And it wasn’t just going to be to get King Roy back by raising the property taxes that Barnes had cut.

The new governor also wanted to increase revenue for the state by reducing the consumption of taxable evil products. (Say what Gov.? Easy, says he; I propose increasing taxes on cigarettes and liquor as a way to help balance the state budget and, at the same time, dissuade Georgians from buying alcohol and tobacco.)

We recall that a compromise in Perdue’s proposed tax increase ultimately did prevail.

But with Barnes not having been reelected and since then not having someone in the governor's mansion that would bite the bullet and get down what needed to be done, the chance of getting an increase in our state’s motor fuel tax has indeed been put off until another day.

UPDATE: This was posted on the original post by someone called trackboy1:
Democrats ruled the state forever. The 7.5 cents gas tax is solely on them.

And now today, if either party made the case for increasing the gas tax, prioritizing the new revenue for bridges & infrastructure repair, and mass transit, and guaranteeing no waste and corruption with constant and very public auditing, then voters/taxpayers would support it.

Republicans do want billions spent on new road construction, to benefit their road building buddies/campaign contributors, but they want it paid for by tolls. And they are mass transit haters.

GA Dem's could actually try to stand for something here. Once again, the public is going to support a gas tax increase if it's spent properly with no waste. But it will be a cold day in hell before Calvin Smyre and DuBose Porter make a stand on anything.

And don't get me started on the ignorance of Tom Murphy and no seat belts in pickup trucks.

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