House Dems Cry Foul on Third Tax Plan Change

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Friday, April 8 2011

Abrams says fiscal responsibility, not magic is what taxpayers want

(Atlanta, Ga.) – April 8, 2011 – House Democrats renewed their call today for tax reform that delivers fiscal responsibility.

“Republicans have created a tax reform bill in the shadows that couldn’t survive in the light of day,” said Rep. Stacey Abrams, minority leader for the House Democratic Caucus.”

Abrams said this is Georgia Republicans’ third attempt at a tax overhaul within two weeks. Each time, House Democrats have pointed out serious economic gaps in the tax proposals.

Abrams and the House Democratic Caucus used numbers from a Georgia State University micro simulation data model requested by Republicans as a base and average costs for services. Democrats have pointed out that Republicans use data summaries and not the full reports made available to them. The current proposal creates a state budget deficit of approximately $128 million that Republicans say can be made up next year with rising revenues.

“At a time when we are trying to bring jobs to Georgia by supporting the Savannah Harbor, creating budget deficit will certainly jeopardize this project.  It will also likely increase the cost of higher education, by requiring deeper cuts in the state budget,” Abrams said.

Republicans have likened their current proposal to Ronald Reagan’s tax leadership.

“This is not like Reaganomics: Reagan cut taxes in 1981 and then raised them 10 times from 1982 to 1988, because the tax cuts created incredible deficits and led to increased borrowing and jeopardized the nation’s budget. This is simply bad tax policy,” said Abrams, a tax attorney.

House Democrats have said the fiscal impact on Georgians could be dramatic and very harmful to our recovering economy.

“In a time of economic crisis, the GOP proposals create multi-million dollar holes in the state budget which will mean shifting the costs to taxpayers, through property taxes for schools and higher sales tax costs on vehicles, cell phones and satellite television. Their bills are fiscally irresponsible,” Abrams said.

Abrams asked how anyone could trust the process at this point. Only a few Republican legislators have seen the draft touted to provide a 23 percent tax reduction and bring entrepreneurs to Georgia. In real terms, the reduction means about $15.

“Today’s state revenue numbers show improvement, not recovery. Planning a budget deficit on these numbers at a time when we owe $600 million to the federal government is questionable fiscal policy,” Abrams said. “We need fiscal responsibility, not fiscal magic. Democrats are not willing to risk the wallets of Georgia’s families. Bring us a proposal for good schools, good roads, good investments and bring it now.”

Abrams said she would comb through the latest Republican tax proposal when it is made available to her. Though she sits on the special tax council, she has not been brought into the discussions. Republicans have been trying to create a personal income tax reduction, while increasing sales taxes on satellite television, cell phones, auto repairs and casual sales.
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