Come on, Georgia Republicans. Lets hear some of that righteous conservative indignation about redistribution of wealth. I dare you.
The special legislative committee that didnt manage to pass tax reform last year is back, and the repugnant idea that just wont go away is back with them: putting the state sales tax back on food.
Oh, but wait (as the late-night TV hucksters would say) -- theres more. Not only do the Honorables want to tax your food again, but they want to raise the overall sales tax rate into the bargain. So you might be paying taxes on a basic necessity of life that hasnt been taxed in Georgia since the mid-90s, and at 5 percent instead of 4.
And why do we want to do this?
Why, to create jobs, of course. And how, pray tell, would taxing your food do that? By bringing in enough money -- $560 million a year is the estimate -- to eliminate the state sales tax on energy used in manufacturing. Apparently $1.6 billion worth of corporate tax breaks in Georgia isnt quite enough.
Not only that, but if Georgia raises the sales tax, reimposes it on food AND raises the cigarette tax by $1 a pack, Georgia could cut its income rate from 6 to 3.7 percent.
This is being called a cut for working taxpayers.
Honest to God, they can look you right in the eye and say stuff like that with a straight face.
Bull scat. Its a nearly pure distillation of corporate socialism, an unconscionable squeeze on people of modest means to grease the skids even more for the interests that fund legislators campaigns and pay for those Sea Island golf weekends.
The math isnt complicated: When consumption taxes go up so income taxes can come down, who pays more and who pays less? Think real hard.
Zell Miller may have turned into a reactionary nut, but that doesnt change the fact that he was one of the most accomplished and enlightened governors Georgia ever had. And probably the best part of his legacy -- even greater in its own way than the HOPE scholarship -- was his recognition that regressive taxes are even more so when paying them isnt a matter of consumer choice. So his administration pushed through a law to eliminate sales tax on food.
Want a perfect indicator of just how shameless and morally bankrupt this reform proposal really is? When somebody pointed out the burden on low-income people, Senate President Pro Tem Tommie Williams responded: One out of seven people are on food stamps. They dont pay taxes on food stamps.
Nice, Senator. Nice. Youve dutifully played the welfare card (wink wink), never far from the top of any deck stacked for this kind of politics.
Except that the people hurt by sales taxes are the working poor, and you damn well know it. So does every other conscience-impaired enabler of this abomination.
Lower-income working Georgians already pay almost twice the percentage of their income in state and local taxes as the top 1 percent. So lets make that ratio even more grotesque, call it tax reform, and pull off the most unabashed upward redistribution of wealth since since
You know what? I cant think of anything to compare it to. Alabamas old current use tax shelter for high-end landowners comes close, but this might well be worse.
Speaking of Alabama, momentum is building on that side of the Chattahoochee to remove the sales tax on food. Its being led mostly by Republicans, to undo generations of Democratic special-interest looting. Now Republicans in Georgia want to create the same kind of economic trickle-up that Democrats created and sustained in Alabama. Hows that working out?
Yeah yeah yeah, class warfare bla bla bla. Whatever rubber-chicken speech label you choose, weve heard all these smug, smirking rationalizations before. They dont change the simple reality that people -- working people with families -- who can afford it least will pay more, and people who can afford it most will pay less.
But thats not our problem. Are there no prisons?
Dusty Nix, 706-571-8528; firstname.lastname@example.org.