Monday, September 17, 2007

Tax reform and the Georgia Constitution

I made a mistake in my Laffer interview story, saying Gov. Sonny Perdue would need to approve of the tax reform resolution for it to pass. Constitutional referendums need a 2/3 vote in the House and Senate, but not the governor's signature. In fact, the governor is specifically forbidden from vetoing an amendment referendum.

We'll run a correction tomorrow.

But I also came across this in reading Article X of the Georgia Constitution:
Paragraph II. Proposals by the General Assembly; submission to the people. A proposal by the General Assembly to amend this Constitution or to provide for a new Constitution shall originate as a resolution in either the Senate or the House of Representatives and, if approved by two-thirds of the members to which each house is entitled in a roll-call vote entered on their respective journals, shall be submitted to the electors of the entire state at the next general election which is held in the even-numbered years.

Though no one, to my knowledge, has officially said so (and there have even been some denials) some pundits believe the Georgia Senate will offer a competing tax reform plan. But since tax law is supposed to originate in the House:
Paragraph II. Bills for revenue. All bills for raising revenue, or appropriating money, shall originate in the House of Representatives.

That has seemed to be a moot point.

Now the second cite seems to be clear - the word "all," like the word "shall," is a strong word in the law. But referendums aren't called by bills. They're called for by resolutions. Is there enough wiggle room in Article X's reference to Constitutional amendments arising in the House or Senate? Will it matter?

Insert me shrugging my shoulders and saying "I don't know."

1 comment:

Erick Erickson said...

The key is whether or not it is a bill to *raise* revenue. I think the Senate can get away with a competing tax bill by going the way of a Constitutional Amendment. At the same time, it could propose restructuring to the system that does not equate to raising revenue.