That makes no sense. When your boat is taking on water and sinking, it's best to start baling and patching holes. You don't drill more of them.
Most of the dozens of fee hikes are designed to help the state raise money to cover the costs of many public services, which is a fiscally responsible move when things get tight. One of them, unfortunately, is the hospital bed tax. This tax will shift more of Georgia's health care burden onto the backs of paying patients and their private insurance plans. Lawmakers should have considered this item separately - and ditched it.
But what's irresponsible is cutting taxes for the well-to-do at a time when school systems across Georgia are furloughing teachers to make ends meet. What were lawmakers thinking?
Here's what - they were thinking about this year's election.
Georgia's elderly tend to vote in large numbers. Since all 236 House and Senate seats are up for election this year, giving this voting bloc a nice treat in the spring should pay off at the ballot box in the fall.
The House-approved tax breaks are expected to cost the state $380 million over five years, by lawmakers' projections. One part eliminates the state's small share (a fourth of a mill) of local property taxes. The other part phases out state income tax on retirement incomes of Georgians 65 and older.
Currently, senior citizens pay taxes on their retirement income only if that income exceeds $35,000 a year (single) or $70,000 for a couple. This bill would phase those taxes out for the high earners.
But low-income elderly Georgians who are still employed - say, as greeters at Wal-Mart - to help pay expenses wouldn't benefit. They would still have to pay state income taxes on their earnings. ...
Sadly, only a few days remain in the 40-day session. This House-approved bill was seen by some leaders as a necessary compromise to help break a logjam created by Republican lawmakers who oppose all efforts to raise revenue.
In other words, give us a tax cut first, then we will agree to hike fees. ...
Voters should remember this sad illusion when they choose who represents them come November.