Tom Warne Report, 24 January 2012
ATLANTA – Georgia voters will not have the chance to vote on a one-cent transportation tax if Tea Party groups in the state have their way. Tea Party groups are urging Gov. Nathan Deal to repeal a law that will allow the vote because they say if the referendum passes, it will create a new tax. The groups say Gov. Deal and other Republican leaders signed a pledge opposing any increase in taxes, and that the governor is betraying that pledge by supporting the referendum.
Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said the law permitting the vote was approved before the Governor was in office, and that voters should have a say in the matter. “Every region of the state will get their own little vote,” Robinson said. “Each region can decide if the project list that has been put forward by local officials – not by the Governor, not by the state – is good for their region.”
Votes are scheduled to take place in July in 12 regions regarding individual transportation tax referenda, each tied to a specific list of transportation projects.
In this case, I feel the Tea Party is seeking to deny the public their opportunity to choose whether or not to raise their own taxes. In the republic form of government that exists in the US, it is only through the referendum process that individual citizens have a direct say on taxes. I appreciate the Tea Party’s general efforts to curb taxes but don’t believe they have the right to deny individuals this choice. They can vote for or against the referendum like anyone else. I suspect this one will pass–we’ll be sure to report on it in July. TW