United Nations applauds the Georgia Transportation Tax increase!

The United Nations is excited about Georgia’s proposed transportation tax increase. In fact they are so excited that they devote several pages in their publication Urban World: Ten Years into the millenium to the idea.

First the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce came up with the idea:

The traffic impasse became a cause celebre for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and its president, Sam Williams. He recounted

how “we beat the drum for four years” to get permission for a regional transport sales tax add-on, enlisting the aid of the Georgia

State Chamber, top Atlanta corporations, county officials and mayors, plus Chamber allies in such regions as Savannah and Macon.

Then all of the state’s Chambers of Commerce threatened to cut off the money spigot to any politician that didn’t support their tax increase:

A pointed message was also telegraphed to would-be candidates for state office: their position on transport funding would be a

‘litmus test’ of whether they could expect campaign support from the business community.

And once the governor and state legislature were sufficiently motivated they could work together in a bipartisan way to overcome the objections of those rascally ole Tea Partiers:

…bipartisanship can be developed, ‘Tea Party’-like nihilism averted, if a governor and legislative leaders work hard to

make it happen.

Finally the article concludes by thanking Georgia for setting an example for third world countries:

That’s a fascinating model for these times, ideal for transport, maybe fresh water supply systems and other major issues.

Thanks Georgia.

Isn’t that special. You can find the publication on the United Nations website here.

No wonder Jim Galloway of the AJC reports that the entire tax is now in jeopardy:

So in January, we’ll have a full-fledged donnybrook between the two most powerful entities now existing in the Republican party: The state chambers of commerce, and the tea party.


Chamber of Commerce vs. Tea Party?

Last week I got several emails and comments from Tea Party members that were upset with comments made by the President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom Donohue, when he spoke to the Rotary Club of Atlanta recently. The emailers were outraged that Mr. Donohue was threatening congress members that dared to listen to their constituents in the Tea Party. At the time there was very little coverage of the incident and I failed to investigate it further.

But now I see that former Congressman Bob Barr has addressed Mr. Donohue’s comments in a column titled Chamber’s “Threats” Are Counterproductive on his blog The Barr Code over at AJC.com. I suggest you read the whole thing but below are some of the highlights:

During a recent visit to the Rotary Club of Atlanta, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue fired a warning shot across the bow of recently elected House Republicans. Donohue explained that if they continue to oppose an increase in the debt limit, “We’ll get rid of you.”

To be clear, many Republicans in Congress do not necessarily oppose an increase in the debt ceiling. They oppose an increase without much needed reforms in spending and corresponding spending cuts to match the increase in the debt ceiling. This is hardly an unreasonable demand. In fact, Republicans seem to have a public opinion in their corner as most polls show opposition to allowing the government to keep borrowing more and more money.


Many Republicans operate under the belief that whatever the Chamber of Commerce wants is good policy. But what is seen as being “good for business” is not always good for taxpayers. After all, the Chamber supported fiscally irresponsible spending like the TARP bailout and the so-called “stimulus” package, that has proved less than successful at achieving its touted objectives. The Chamber is also backing an increase in the federal gas tax even though fuel prices are already extremely high and volatile; one of the factors that have economists say could continue the slow pace of economic growth.

Would Chamber members rather elect more Democrats to the Congress — Representatives who favor raising the debt ceiling so government can spend more, which reduces value of the dollar, sops up credit in the marketplace that otherwise could be used for productive, private sector uses?  Perhaps they should decide also then to support President Obama’s reelection; I’m sure he would welcome the endorsement.

I never joined my local chamber, the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce. The group is pushing for MARTA trains in my neighborhood and it administers the North Fulton CID which is spending a quarter of a million dollars to raise my sales taxes. But even though I have serious concerns about my local Chamber of Commerce, I was astounded to find out the national organization has gone so far as to attack the Tea Party and conservative principles.

Over the years I believe the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has done a great deal of good. I hope that just because times are tough the organization is not going to forsake the conservative principles that make this nation the greatest success story in the history of the world. But when the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is arrogant enough to run around threatening to “get rid of” the only congressmen willing to rein in our nation’s catastrophic spending binge the organization has a problem.

If you are a member of the Chamber of Commerce I encourage you to pay close attention to the people running it and the agenda they are pushing. If they share your goals and you approve of their tactics you should let them know. If on the other hand you see that they aren’t representing you appropriately then I encourage you to make that known as well.

I don’t always agree with Bob Barr but he nailed this one right on the head.

The decentralization of power is a good thing

Jim Galloway has another insightful column up at the AJC’s Political Insider blog. He uses the recent advance of the Sunday Alcohol Sales bill to point out how the Tea Party movement has caused a decentralization of political power in Georgia.

“Republicans often talk of the chill that last November’s tea party-driven vote sent up President Barack Obama’s spine. Only rarely do they acknowledge that those same ballots signaled a shift to a more libertarian brand of conservatism within the GOP.”

“It’s a bill about local control,” Bulloch said. And we’re all about limited government these days, because the pitchforks – once held by followers of Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson — are now in the hands of tea partyers.”

I for one would welcome this decentralization of power. One of the consequences of concentrating money and power in a central location is that it makes it much easier for lobbyists to influence where that money ends up being spent. The farther the decision making process gets from the taxpayer the less chance there is that the money will actually be spent to benefit that taxpayer. The supporters of turning North Fulton into Milton County are using this same justification for local control.

With that in mind my favorite quote from Galloway’s column is by the head of the Georgia Christian Coalition, Jerry Luquire, as he explained why he didn’t bother to attend the hearings on Sunday alcohol sales,

“I don’t show up at the Capitol much anymore because that’s not where the power is anymore. The power is among the people”.

I don’t care if you support the Tea Party or not, I would hope we can agree that the power being back with the people is a good thing.

If you are interested in Georgia politics then the Political Insider is a must read and you can find the whole article here.