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Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) had a battle of words with OMB Director Jeffrey Zients in the House Armed Services Committee yesterday regarding looming automatic defense cuts. This debate is a preview of what we shall see on the national stage this fall’s presidential and Congressional races.
Yesterday, it was announced that John Boehner and Harry Reid had reached an early agreement on the FY 2013 budget in order to avoid a government shutdown on October 1. Pursuant to the agreement, both chambers will vote on a 6-month continuing resolution after returning from the August recess in September. The CR will provide spending for discretionary programs set at the $1.047 trillion level agreed upon in last year’s debt ceiling agreement instead of the $1.028 trillion figure prescribed in the House-passed budget. It will also continue funding for Obamacare.
Voters in Georgia do not trust the political establishment in Georgia right now. What compounds this is that I get the sense much of the political establishment in Georgia holds the citizens in contempt. They just won’t do as they are told.
The T-SPLOST fell victim to this conundrum. The Georgia Legislature, in the past four years, has decided that instead of voting to cut spending or raise taxes, they’d send tax increases for votes with the people. The first was on trauma care funding. It failed. Now its was infrastructure spending.
The legislature came up with something called a Transportation Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax, or T-SPLOST. Voters in twelve regions of the state — artificial constructs created by bureaucrats — were told by the legislature to either raise their taxes by 16% or see their transportation funding cut. It didn’t go like the legislature and local politicians expected it to. The voters overwhelmingly rejected the T-SPLOST in most of the state.
Now, of course, several regions of the state went along with it. Some of those areas are the poorest in the state. Their sales tax will now increase putting them at more of a competitive disadvantage to neighboring regions. It is the consequence of some rather narrow thinking of politicians convinced of their own righteousness.