I love Libertarians generally speaking. They’re a lot like Republicans in that they’re generally conservative-minded, but they tend to be more “personal choice” oriented. A lot of the NORML crowd are Libertarians. I think they’re wrong on that particular tack, but generally speaking Conservatives and Libertarians have a lot of common interests.
One of those common interests seems to be that we’re both pissed at Republicans right now.
Atlanta, GA: In 2003, Stephen Moore, an economist and then president of the Club for Growth, wrote a column criticizing Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue for increasing taxes. Moore said that “Republicans are now the pro-tax party in Georgia.”
Fast-forward to 2009 and we now see what Moore presented as rhetoric was prophetic. During the current legislative session Republicans have proposed $4.5 billion in new taxes.
# HB 39: Introduced by Rep. Ron Stephens, this bill would increase the excise tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products. Stephens says the measure would raise taxes by $335 million annually.
# HB 67: Introduced by Rep. Chuck Sims, this bill would eliminate the sales exemption on groceries. The original version of the bill would have increased taxes by just under $1 billion annually. The new version would give Georgians tax credits for groceries, assuming they keep their receipts, and still increase tax by $250 million.
# SB 91: Introduced by Sen. Jack Murphy, this bill would establish a $5 tax on each customer that enters a “sexually oriented business.” The legislation has been dubbed the “pole tax” by some in the media and blogosphere.
# HB 307: Introduced by Rep. Jim Cole, this is Gov. Perdue’s legislation that would impose a 1.6 percent tax on hospitals and insurance providers. The bill was intended to plug a $208 million hole in Medicaid funding and fund the state’s trauma care network, presumably a $280 million to $300 million tax increase.
# SB 39 and SR 44: Introduced by Sen. Jeff Mullis, these proposals would allow counties to enter into a one-cent sales tax to fund transportation projects. They would increase taxes by $1.2 billion annually.
# HB 277 and HR 206: Introduced by Rep. Vance Smith, these proposals, which are packed with pork projects from around the state, would impose a one-cent statewide tax to fund transportation projects. They would increase taxes by $2.5 billion annually.
Nearly each one of these proposals will reach the floor of the Georgia General Assembly despite assurances by Republican leadership in both chambers that they would not support any tax increases. Both transportation sales tax proposals have cleared the chamber in which they were introduced; however, the two bodies cannot come to an agreement on which tax increase Georgians will see.
Stephen Moore was right. Republicans are the pro-tax party in Georgia. Fiscal conservatives and believers of less government can find a true home inside the Libertarian Party of Georgia.
I hope you’re not expecting me to defend the Georgia Republicans here. Their tax increases are purely indefensible. I strongly believe the first tenet of conservatism is Fiscal Conservatism: Balance the budgets, Raise No Taxes, Eliminate Taxes wherever possible; and always ask “How are we going to pay for all this?
The Republican Party of Georgia should be looking squarely at themselves and asking why such a Laissez-Faire attitude toward RINOs is allowed in their state in their party. That’s a question of Party Leadership. The Republican Party will never be the predominant party again until they begin to espouse Conservative principles again; not parrot the left-of-center line.
If it walks like a Donkey and votes like a donkey, throw them out to caucus with the other jackasses.