Friday, July 20, 2007

The Glenn Tax

I'm a little late coming around to talking about this, but in light of the nonsense involving the appointment of three Republican state senators to the Jekyll Island Oversight Committee who have little to no geographical connection to the island it's worth mentioning Glenn Richardson's proposal to eliminate all sorts of methods of local taxation, primarily property taxes, and replace them with a 'flat' sales tax of 5.75 percent.

Listen, I've got plenty of concerns about the Glenn Tax - the fact that this now levies taxes on professional services ranging from barbers to accountants being one of them - but my main one is, again, why is the party that tells you it stands up for local control once again taking some element of control away from local governments?

Why should the state get to determine how much funding each local community receives (particularly when it comes to education)? Why should the state abolish local elected offices? Why should the state have all say in your matters of taxation?

And it ain't merely a handful of folks saying the Glenn Tax is a bad idea, it's everyone from the Georgia Municipal Association to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute casting severe doubts on this thing.

Like I said, I'm a little coming around to chatting about this, but Flack has been on it for a while now.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not really surprised the orgs you ID are opposed to the proposal. In a sense it (the ability to set their budget and adjust the tax rate to meet it) is their raison d'etre. This is an aspect of Richardson's proposal I find intriguing.

To me, inherently, the ability of government to always adjust the tax rate to meet budgetary desire can be local control gone too far. Particularly when the cause du'jour is in need of funding, then the next, and the next, ad nauseaum.

Government never gets smaller, it only grows. At it's core, this system encourages waste and bloat, with little accountability. Regime change usually only means a new set of causes in need of funding, with little retraction of existing spending. The same old justification is always used i.e. "you wouldn't spend $.50 to save babies?" Some semblance of accountability is desperately needed.

Changing the system is like taking a lollipop away from a kid, of course they're gonna cry. Not saying I support it, but I'm intrigued by any outside the box thinking. In fairness, I think the ABH was off base with the 5.75% figure - isn't it more like 4%?

Good to be back.

David Hamilton

2:30 PM  
Blogger Jmac said...

Good to have back in these parts David.

While I can concede that you can have local control run amok, this appears to be nothing more than a 180 degree turn in the opposite direction which steals a very crucial element of local control from our communities. Leaving up the sole source of funding for our local communities to Atlanta - and the political leadership therin - isn't a wise course of action.

There is a loose guarantee in the bill that local communities would get the same amount as in years past, but it's dated back to a particular date that isn't accountable to rises in cost of living, construction cost increases, etc. In time, it would become a purely political process (and has the very real ability to do so from the get-go).

Along with the fact that I simply can't fathom what business the state has in micromanaging how local governments raise and manage their funds. If they're concerned over property tax increases, there are feasible reforms that either they or local governments can take, but abolishing the whole system and replacing with a sales tax that is managed by Atlanta is a terrible idea.

The 5.75 number is the one that is featured in the bill for HR 900.

6:22 PM  

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