in which we talk about the 'Stache's control issues and why even prominent Republicans are less than thrilled about this idea. Also, we show Elton the love.
To a lot of folks, the biggest slam on the GlennTax is it's decimation of the concept of local control. If you've followed Georgia politics closely for the past few years (you know who you are ... dork), then you know that the state Republican party created and solidified its hold on the majority in the General Assembly on the issue of local control. The line was essentially, "those big-gummint, tax-n-spend libruls are tryin' to run everthang from up in Atlanta! We [the GOP] recognize your right to run your community how you want to run it."
With all due respect, fellas - horseshit. The GlennTax is a direct, and probably gut-busting, shot to home rule and local control, because it takes the primary revenue stream for cities and counties and throws it in the trash. Instead, your county government is going to have to go to Atlanta, hat in hand, and beg the Stache (aka Speaker Richardson) for money every time you want to buy a fire engine, hire some new first grade teachers, or pick up the latest Jackie Collins pageturner for your local library.
Now, the Stache will tell you that if his nefarious scheme goes through, Athens is guaranteed to get as much money from the gummint next year as they collected in property taxes this year. Fair enough, but what about the year after, and the year after that? And, what if Athens wants to make a big, necessary capital expenditure, say building a new middle school? There's no guarantee that the State will release the funds. In fact, since Athens is represented in the House by two Democrats and one Republican (and let's be honest, Bob Smith only represents a tiny sliver of this town), smart money is on Paulding County getting a new middle school (or fire truck, or whatever) before Athens does.
As long as Republicans are in power, the GlennTax has the additional benefit of being "re-election insurance" for GOP incumbents, because they'll always bring back the bacon. So, it's a pretty sneaky way of getting close to that "permanent majority" about which some Republicans like to fantasize. (When they're not fantasizing about other things.)
Needless to say, a lot of local officials are less than excited about the possibility of going from being elected leaders to elected beggars. Here in ACC, Mayor Heidi Davison is all het up (and good on her!), and Super-Commissioner Elton Dodson, who is not always known for his reticence and tact, was pretty miffed as well. Sez Dodson: "We would lose all local autonomy. ... It's the end of home rule in Georgia. It's the end of local control..." (ABH 08/27/07)
He's right, you know.
GOP to the Stache: Um... not so much, no
But those are just the insane ramblings of a bunch of mixed up libruls. Surely the GOP establishment is standing squarely behind the Stache and his tax pony?
In fact, GOP leaders like Governor Sonny Perdue, Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, and Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson are publicly expressing their concerns about the GlennTax. And in a Georgia accustomed to monolithic GOP posturing, even the expression of mild concern is the political equivalent of declaring Glenn Richardson and his little plan dead to them.
Face it, these guys are divorcing themselves from Glenn Richardson and his plan and running the other way as fast as they can.
Even Phil Kent, who is to conservative meme what Britney Spears is to poor fashion choices, expressed some mild disagreement on this morning's "Georgia
Wrapping it up:
So to sum up, here's what you've got on the Glenn Tax. As we saw in part 1 of our Magical Mystery Tour, you're getting a whole slew of new taxes to make up for one tax, and the Stache would really appreciate it if you didn't notice that you're going to be paying those new taxes so that WalMart gets a tax break. And, if that isn't enough, it's also going to make sure that the Stache gets to dictate what goes on in your community, instead of your duly elected local leaders. Also, no one really likes it, other than Glenn and his cronies.
Join us for the next chapter, wherein we talk about alternatives, politely disagree with Flack and JMac, and make fun of the Stache some more.