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'We Have Not Taxed the People Enough Yet'

When a tax, toll, or fee is imposed on the people, someone usually comes up with a reason to get more money from the taxpayers.

The recent events in our region of the state bring to mind a conversation I had with an elected official several years ago. Thankfully the official served only one term, but with all seriousness said to me, “We have not taxed the people enough yet.” This person continued, “There is much more money in the pockets of the people and we can get it if we let them know we need it.”

My reaction was immediate as I responded, “With that attitude, you will serve only one term.” My prediction came true regarding this person’s time in office. Though this person is gone, it seems that attitude is still prevalent among those currently in office. The scope and size of government continues to grow. There is an insistence on the part of many citizens that the government give more and more in services and handouts to some segments of the population. Unlike the Federal Government, Georgia cannot print money. Any new money or revenue stream will come from the hard earned money of the taxpaying citizens.

While it is obvious there are needs that must be addressed in our state, there is a need to cut the size of government not expand it. The collective thinking of government bureaucrats is always more and bigger government. When these bureaucrats join together in study groups, task forces, or think tanks, all common sense seems to leave the room. Many examples stand out just in the transportation area alone to support my opinion on this matter.

When a tax, toll, or fee is imposed on the people, there is never an end to the tax even though the project is complete.  While the enabling legislation might have a date in the future for a sunset of the tax, as the date nears, someone comes up with a way to bait-and-switch allowing for the tax to continue. That type of governance creates a deep distrust of those who are elected to serve the people.

There should be no surprise that anger and rage are continuing to build regarding the failed project of turning and issues such as the Georgia 400 tolls that should have been removed, but instead remain in effect.

The people in this part of Georgia are upset over these issues. The regional transportation group expects the taxpayers will willingly vote to raise their taxes another penny through a new TSPLOST -- "We have not taxed the people enough yet," they seem to be saying. From where I stand, the government has not shown itself worthy to ask for more money from our pockets.

Will the TSPLOST be another bait-and-switch? Do you think the tax will actually be allowed to expire in 10 years or will officials come up with a reason to ask the voters to extend the tax? .

Cynthia Montgomery October 19, 2011 at 03:51 AM
Mr R, Finally a man with wisdom. How can it be that over and over there are people that want to spend more money in this economy. We are going broke, so lets just raise everyones taxes on their house, car, road, school, and retirement account. Have they not read the papers or paid attention to the financial stations. Our economy will continue to fail and fall until 2016 and yet many people are still in the SPEND, SPEND, SPEND mode. I think that unless you have no consumer debt, have 3 months of backup resources in the bank, have at least 150,000 in your 401K, and have all cars paid off, you should NOT be able to tell those that do how to raise, spend, or tax others! I once spoke to a liberal for over an hour. He kept saying the same thing, that we needed to tax the people more! Finally I said, OK -how much more money do you want the government to take from your check each week? I kid you not, he said, " Oh no , I DON'T WANT TO PAY ANYMORE MONEY, I WANT THE RICH TO PAY MORE!" I laughed till I cried. He had a 401K and according to Obama HE WAS THE RICH! He was not kidding but it was sad. He was an old man with that did not even realize that Obama considered HIM the rich. If you have a 401K people you are the rich now days. Why could he not be more like you Mr R? Thank you for your bold delivery in ideas that are outside the box and not just more of the same old BLAME GAME!
Ray Newman October 19, 2011 at 11:10 AM
Cynthia: Thank you for the comments. I am always amazed when so much money is dangled in front of the folks in office, they find a way to spend that and still want more. There is a system error that continues to go forward with the concept that the pockets of the taxpayers are deep and the limit has not been reached yet. We do not need more government, we need less. We need to elect people who are willing to make the right choices to cut spending, not grow the size of government. I am always amazed at the ever moving mark as to where we draw the line as to who the rich are. We must wake up those in office, I beileve the taxpayers are beginning to wake up. I guess we will know how awake they are when we see the results of the next election.
Roger Hale October 19, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Ray, You are absolutely correct about "greedy" politicians always wanting more. The SPLOTS, regardless of what letter you put in front of them, were designed to be continual taxes that once started will never end. I'm fighting the same insanity over here in Walton County. Personally, I think county commissioners all attend the "Carl Vinson School of Government" program at UGA and are taught "how to fleece" the citizens of the particular municipality. Again, I urge everyone to join my no (I) movement. In the next election, if there is an (I) for incumbent beside the name, vote for anyone else, even if you have to write in someone. Let's put our own term limits to use. Taking away their power is what really hurts politicians. Thanks again for your opinion piece Ray.
Ray Newman October 19, 2011 at 05:23 PM
Roger: Thanks for the comments. I think the taxpayers are waking up and these next elections will let us know one way or the other which direction we will continue to go. I encourage all voters to get to know all the candidates, incumbents and first timers and their positions on the issues before they go to the polls to vote. An informed voter can make the best decision as they fullfll their civic duty and vote.
Brian Crawford October 19, 2011 at 08:52 PM
First of all Ray, if you're going to tell stories you should tell us who this mysterious public figure was and what office they held. I've known dozens of elected officials in my life, some liberal, some conservative, and I have never heard any one of them express anything close to what you report. That was indeed a preposterous statement. I'm surprised anyone with that attitude could even be elected dog catcher. Secondly, we have serious infrastructure needs that must be paid for. I personally don't care much for the whole SPLOST idea. All SPLOSTs are consumption taxes and the burden of any consumption tax falls more heavily on the poor and middle class. It would be much fairer to discuss an increase in state income taxes to cover the cost of extraordinary infrastructure needs. In fact what makes the most sense to me is to do a comprehensive review of our state's infrastructure needs for the next 20 years and determine what amount in tax increases are needed to meet those needs. That tax increase could be dedicated, by law, to a transportation/infrastructure fund. Of course the TSPLOST won't expire in 10 years because 10 years from now there will no doubt be other pressing transportation needs. That is the nature of infrastructure. I don't see that as a bait and switch, I see it as wishful thinking.
Brian Crawford October 19, 2011 at 09:01 PM
So why would Obama, or anyone for that matter, consider your liberal friend rich because he has a 401k? That doesn't make any sense.
Ray Newman October 20, 2011 at 01:53 AM
All the stories I write are true. The person ran more than once, was elected one time, but never again.
Cynthia Montgomery October 20, 2011 at 02:13 AM
How do you determine rich? Whom is rich? How does the Obama administration determine whom is rich? As the Obama administration listened to the American people crying out, the level of "richness" was changed. So now how are the rich being defined? In the Obama world of politics, the rich must "spread" their earned wealth to those whom can not earn wealth. Now about 50 % are the haves & 50 % are the have nots, according to our tax system. Poor has a new definition. We are not talking about the poor of the past generations. We are not talking about starving hollow cheeked, down & out homeless, penniless bank account, poor among us. There will always be the poor among us. We are judged by how we treat the poor. Poor do not pay taxes. 47 percent payed no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions & exemptions to eliminate their liability. That’s according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization. So whom does Obama think is rich. With nearly half of our fellow citizens now thinking they are so poor the government needs to pay them, whom are the rich? Are people with 401K's rich? Let's look at this at the simplest form. You have a house you are paying for and I have a house I am paying for. You have a car that is paid off and I have a car that is paid off. You have a 401K that has $100,000 in it and I have a 401K with $100,00 in it. Are we rich?
Cynthia Montgomery October 20, 2011 at 02:27 AM
Brian , Why is it that you don't believe anyone? Do you have an issue with trust? I remember you questioning me as well. Who made you suspect of everyone? Can it be that you are somewhat paranoid? Or could it be that if you don;t like the message you simple discredit the messenger? Believe it or not some people in this world still regard honesty as a moral issue. Just asking?
Brian Crawford October 20, 2011 at 03:05 AM
Obama didn't invent the idea of a progressive income tax system, or "spreading the wealth", in fact it was championed by one of our greatest Republican Presidents. If you haven't read Teddy Roosevelt's "New Nationalism" speech you should, here's a link; http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=501 This is the kind of progressive thinking that allowed our country to grow and prosper. It certainly laid the foundation of the middle class. We would have a much more prosperous economy if we levied no income taxes on say the first 100k in income and had higher marginal tax rates for anything over that, starting at perhaps 35% or more. Rich people can't get richer if consumers have no money to spend and most folks raising a family on $100 a year aren't saving much of that, most of it's going straight into the economy. That is actually the best kind of direct government stimulus. To answer your other question I think most folks loosely define "rich" as anyone making over a million dollars a year. How would you define it? Your idea about 401ks is off the mark, we tax income not wealth.
Brian Crawford October 20, 2011 at 03:22 AM
I know it's sad but my distrust is well founded. My inbox is chock-full of chain emails from my conservative friends that are 99% false. I hear them repeat this false information repeatedly in our discussions on the issues. It's like they're living in an alternate reality. FOX "News" is almost as bad, especially the opinion shows like Hannity and Beck (before he was moved to the internet). They make stuff up all the time. FOX even won a lawsuit in Florida giving them the right to lie on American TV. Their reputation for avoiding the truth is why they can't get a license to broadcast in Canada. That's another sad fact, Canada has a higher standard for the truth than we do. So yeah, I've learned to take everything conservatives say with a grain of salt; sorry, nothing personal.
Brian Crawford October 20, 2011 at 03:40 AM
FYI. The federal poverty line for a single individual is $10,890 and $14,710 for a married couple. Add $3820 for each child so that for a family of 4 poverty is defined as $22,350. That sounds pretty poor to me. Over 43 million Americans live below the poverty line.
Cynthia Montgomery October 20, 2011 at 01:54 PM
Brain, Open you mind. Do your homework. A family making over $ 22,000 can pay in taxes and receive every dime back PLUS the Earned Income Tax Credit. If you take money from the government in these day I call that POOR. Over 49% of citizens in America DO NOT PAY ANY TAX. What about their "fair share?" With Obama in office the numbers just keep climbing. At what point do you think Obama will stop blaming successful people for unsuccessful ones of this country. No need to answer that question Brian, a few more years of Obama and we will all be able to claim poverty.
Brian Crawford October 20, 2011 at 03:31 PM
I can assure you I have a very open mind and I do a great deal of "homework". BTW, you called me Brain...hahaha. Your statement "Over 49% of citizens in America DO NOT PAY ANY TAX." is close but not quite accurate. According to the Tax Policy Center, this year 46.4 percent of tax filers will have no federal income tax liability. Of that number 54% are making less than $17,000 a year and another 29% make less than $35,000, presumably while raising 2 or more children. All of these folks are paying payroll and sales taxes. You really think we should be taxing incomes at or near the poverty line? http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/28/who-doesnt-pay-federal-income-taxes-legally/
Cynthia Montgomery October 20, 2011 at 05:25 PM
Brian, I was trying to give you a compliment as I do find you an engaging poster in that you use logic & not emotion like so many of the posters, most being emotional teachers. My numbers were from the 2009 records so it is possible that you have the 2010 figures. I noticed something years ago when I would give something of value to someone. They did not place value on it. If I made them pay a small amount for my services, they placed value on it. Being interested in the why of behaviors, I looked into that behavior. If a person receives something for nothing, they place less value on in it. If they are asked to pay for the item of service, they place more value on that item or service. That is why I believe EVERYONE should pay into our system. If one does not make enough money to live on I can only assume they did not enjoy the education process that brings prosperity or they are newly divorced. (Present time exclude) I am against our government tax system that encourages "living together" over the stability of family. We can not continue to encourage the break down of the family through the tax system. I know a woman with 4 children who will not marry their father. They have lived together since the birth of their first child. They each file, unmarried. They each get back Earned Income Credit. They are part of the poor you are describing. Do not ask me to feel pity for a crook. They cheat & asking me to pay their fair share. Brain, is 46.4 not high enough?
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew October 22, 2011 at 02:36 AM
The congestion will continue REGARDLESS of the tax project list – even the supporters of the tax have indicated “it’s just a START”. (Source 11 Alive interview) If it’s just a START- that alone indicates that it MUST run longer than 10 years to contribute a solution. So… on just this single premise alone, the pro stance FAILS due to deceptive advertising and the 6 MILLION dollars spent (or that will be) to market this boondoggle. The suggestion of ADDING YET ANOTHER LEVEL of government that must be funded is not HELPING. For businesses, timing is everything and to attempt to “market’ this tax in this economy and expect to have that campaign succeed is truly a sales job Extraordinaire.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew October 22, 2011 at 03:28 AM
This just adds fuel to the position that the ANY SPLOST, once passed will NEVER go away. (If anyone can point to one that did die - please do so) The real beauty of SPLOSTs is that supposedly they are a lot like Kudzu, even if you treat it one year, it’s back the next and then if you let it go unchecked for a season, it’s in there forever. Just check your wallet at the door because we don’t yet know what the boys and girls under the Gold Dome will come up with in 2012. Get back in there and spend Mortermer, SPEND! "'A Duke has been on this board since it was founded!" The question that gets answered 11/8 or 7/2012 is who wins the dollar... c/o Trading Places
North Georgia Weather October 22, 2011 at 12:07 PM
But you don't trust facts...
North Georgia Weather October 22, 2011 at 12:19 PM
"...not emotion like so many of the posters, most being emotional teachers" "... I can only assume they did not enjoy the education process that brings prosperity" Read those two lines. Do you see what you write? In the first line you talk about teachers being emotional (I call it passionate) about what they do but yet you fault them for that? But the following sentence, you gloss over the education process and about how wonderful it is for people. So what is it, are we doing a good job and making a difference, or are we not? You're still full of contradictions about education. Our tax system needs to be thrown out the window and totally revised IMHO.
Cynthia Montgomery October 23, 2011 at 02:33 AM
DW, I have noticed that teachers emotional posters. They take every comment as a personal insult instead of a person's view. If you do not agree with them, they attack. When I read other rolling post, they are much more logical & informative. When teachers come on board it becomes somewhat of a tit for tat for days. I can write 5 ideas & 3 be pro teacher & the teachers will zero in on the other 2. Teachers continue to talk about people while other bloggers talk about the subject. Just read the 5 post above this post & you will see what I am pointing out. If I did not value teachers & education I would not have spend my time within the system nor would I have encouraged my daughters to go into teaching yet, that is also lost on the teachers because they choose to attack. It worries me that they miss so much. Again, I think that it is time for the citizens to say STOP, let's take a break from this self tax & rethink what is important. I believe we can do without cool gyms & 5 more schools. Our kids have been in trailers for the past 20 years. It will continue until we begin our decent from the growth. Every community has a life cycle. We are on the verge of leveling off, then we decline. Look at Dekalb, Atlanta, or College Park. There are period of waxing & waining. Hall is on the way up! We are heading downward in the natural life cycle. It is time to recognize that & take steps to use our funds wisely. You can't always get what you want, but you can get what you need!

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