Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Georgians Are Stupid

say Georgia Republicans.


This has been the Republican party's tactic for wooing voters around the nation, and I'm sorry to say it works very well in the State of Georgia. Once-educated readers who once rolled their eyes at terms like "Ministry of Truth" and "joycamp" now believe wholeheartedly in laws named "Clear Skies Initiative" or "No Child Left Behind" or "Fair Tax". And seeing how these simple, yet effective, diversions enrich them and their cronies, modern Republicans are emboldened to milk the public for everything they can get.
Which brings us to an unfortunate op-ed piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution (Free Login) by state Representative Mark Burkhalter (R-North Fulton). What's unfortunate about the guest column is not that he is not identified as a partisan Republican lawmaker, at least online. It is not that the AJC printed no "Equal Time" column or at least tried to balance out spin with facts. Burkhalter didn't control these things. Those are just byproducts of a shoddy newspaper.
No, what is most unfortunate is that Burkhalter takes an idea that might actually have merit, and tries to sell it on a gullible Georgia by using misdirection, false innuendo, and a few outright lies. The column in question breaks down Burkhalter's objections to Georgia's ad valorem property tax. Unlike many states, Georgia taxes not only owners of real estate, but owners of vehicles, including cars, trucks, boats, and airplanes, on an annual basis. Every year, when you pay $25 for registration in your state, I pay a hundred or a few hundred dollars (depending on the value of my car) in ad valorem tax. It's a tough pill to swallow every year because it's not a hidden tax that nickels and dimes you throughout the year. It hits you once a year on your birthday.
That being said, it's not cheap to maintain roads. And an ad valorem tax is far more progressive than a gas tax or a road toll. It affects the people who are most able to pay the most. And it's not like the income tax, which doesn't take into account your expenses. The ad valorem tax only really charges people who are buying expensive new luxury cars. Why new? Because as the car becomes a used car, its value drops precipitously, and the ad valorem tax follows suit.
But it's costing Burkhalter money. And it's costing his donors money. So he's pushing hard to get rid of it. But all getting rid of it is likely to do is raise gas taxes to replace the revenue. So he and his rich friends save money on their Infinitis while the 1972 Pontiac driver sees his gasoline bill rise to compensate. Burkhalter's words are telling: "Government shouldn't punish citizens because they choose to own a car or truck." So much for the Republican party being the party of personal responsibility. Taxes aren't punishment. They're our dues for living in the United States. They are the user fees charged to make sure the $60,000 vehicle in your 4-car garage has pothole-free roads to travel on. And more importantly, that your fresh vegetables make it from the illegal immigrant picker in Florida to your local Whole Foods in time for your wife to cook them for dinner. And don't dismiss this as an anti-money rant. I've purchased new cars and paid the resulting tax bill. I've taken responsibility for my actions. After all, I could have chosen to get old, used cars. But since I acknowledge that my actions have consequences, I pay the tax gladly.
Burkhalter also feels drivers already pay enough. They have to pay for "state and federal taxes on gasoline; excise tax on gasoline; sales tax on vehicle purchases; tire disposal fees; mandatory smog inspections; and fees for driver's licenses." Earth to Mark! These fees all help mitigate the costs involved with owning a vehicle made from toxic materials that spews other toxic materials into the air. Perhaps we can get rid of the tire disposal fee in lieu of using the Burkhalter's backyard as a tire dump? It keeps coming back to the lack of personal responsibility Republicans have and their ardent desire to get the populace to pay for their lifestyle choices.
Burkhalter finishes his grand argument with a straw man. "Government doesn't dare tax other personal items such as jewelry, furniture, computers or tools. There is no reason to tax something as essential as our vehicles." When my kids develop asthma because of your jewelry, we'll talk. When thousands of computers are causing the state to pay millions of dollars to ease congestion on the road, we'll talk. When the wood from your furniture is being purchased from terrorist and dictatorial states that threaten our national security, we'll talk.
Representative Burkhalter, treat Georgians like adults. Who knows? One day they may even act like them.

12 comments:

Mr Furious said...

Nice rant, Scott. I grew up in Connecticut, and we had something similar, though, if I recall, it was the town levying a property tax... My collections of old Saabs and Subarus never ran me more than $40-$60 per year, but at least it wasn't tied to my birthday...

Here in Michigan, everythign car-affiliated is birthday-oriented, which makes it easier to keep track of, but a bit more of a slap... And my old Jetta costs less to renew the registration than my wife's newer Honda, so there's a little hidden ad valorem in there here too.

Anonymous said...

It's quite sad that you openly support such a stance as the Gorgia ad valorem tax. There are many states that do not have it (AVT)and their roads drive better than mine here in Cobb county. Federal grant money that is given to Georgia every year should cover it. I am sure that with all of the EXTRA money the state makes off GA 400 (Tolls) since it was paid off a while back the State will just do fine with the funding of the roads. Maybe they should start actually doing the work on the roads that they have all the signs on the highway for. I know the GSP seem to make some EXTRA REVENUE with increased fines.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is a farce and merely sheds light on your bitterness towards the "rich" people.

Does my 2006 BMW (which I don't have) take up more space on the road than your 72 Mazda? No. Does it cause more damage to the roads? No. Does my more expensive car cause more pollution? No and actually the opposite is true, as you don't have to pass emissions testing.

Let's face it, this is nothing more than a tax on the wealthy. The more expensive car that you drive, the more you pay in taxes. One thing you fail to mention is that the "wealthy" folks pay the VAST majority of taxes in this state and country. Not good enought for you I'm sure.

Go get those rich people Scott! IT's just not FAIR that they have a better car than me! Brilliant thinking buddy.

craig_listen@yahoo.com

Scott said...

Listen, Craig, I have no bitterness towards "rich" people. I just feel a sense of personal responsibility. Clearly you're just trolling the internet writing hate mail to anyone who supports a tax. Did I not say that *I* was subject to this tax when I purchased new cars? Why do you feel the need to recast this discussion in rich vs poor? Is it because you're trying to engage in class warfare? I said this is a fair tax, even though I usually end up on the side that pays more.
Our government isn't free. Our roads aren't free. And true, your BMW may not use more road than someone's junked up '82 Pontiac, but the person driving that Pontiac probably couldn't afford to pay his or her full share of road cost. And then that person wouldn't be able to drive. And then you couldn't hire said person to work in your sweatshop because of a lack of transportation. You benefit from having poor people drive on roads. Life is complex. For most of us, when we get out of the 4th grade, we understand that society is interconected. You can't just go hide out in a cabin in Idaho and expect to prosper. We're so dependent on our network of people and the technological abilities that connect us that if they failed we would have a disaster of biblical proportions. Imagine if the power went out for a year. People in New York or Los Angeles or any major city would die simply because they didn't have access to water.
Some things require communcal sacrifice. If you choose to buy a BMW, isn't it a little Scrooge-ish and just plain miserly to refuse to pay your fair share, just because there are people out there who can't afford to? Maybe guessing your ability to pay based on your car value isn't the most "fair" way to do it. But since luxury cars are luxury items, it certainly seems like a good way to me.
I have no problem with you driving a BMW. I do have a problem with your sense of entitlement and your whininess that you might pay a little more to do so.

Anonymous said...

SCOTT? YOU CAN'T REALLY BE SERIOUS!! I JUST MOVED HERE FROM NEW YORK (LONG ISLAND)TO GET AWAY FROM THE $9,000 IN PROPERTY TAXES AND THE HIGH HIGH COST OF LIVING. I AM BY NO MEANS CONSIDERED 'RICH', BUT APPARENTLY WALTON COUNTY HAS SERIOUS SERIOUS SCAMS AND CROOKEDNESS GOING ON HERE AND I AM JUST ABOUT READY TO PACK UP SELL HOUSE AND GET OUTTA DODGE. IN 2003 I BOUGHT A TOYOTA 4RUNNER---THIS IS NOT A LUXURY CAR!! WHEN I WENT TO REGISTER FOR MY TAG I HAD TO PAY $76 FOR THE TITLE AND TAGS FOR THE 4RUNNER AND MY SONS 1995 HONDA CIVIC. SHE THEN INFORMED ME THAT ON MY UPCOMING BIRTHDAY IN DECEMBER AND SUBSEQUENT BIRTHDAYS AFTER I WOULD HAVE TO PAY $403 FOR AD VALOREM TAX!! EXCUSE ME I ALREADY PAID RIDICULOUS NEW YORK TAXES ON THIS VEHICLE--BY THE TIME I'M DONE PAYING THE AD VALOREM TAXES I WOULD BE ABLE TO BUY MYSELF A LEXUS OR BMW WITH THAT MONEY! I DONT EVEN HAVE A JOB YET BECAUSE APPARENTLY $12 AND HOUR IS CONSIDERED DECENT SALARY DOWN HERE. MY WATER BILLS ARE $250 TO $275 A MONTH!!!!!!!!!! THEY SAID BECAUSE I WATER MY GRASS. AND IF ONE MORE PERSON SAYS ITS BECAUSE I LIVE INSIDE THE CITY LIMITS OF LOGANVILLE WHICH HAS THE HIGHEST TAXES IN WALTON COUNTY I WILL DO MORE THAN SCREAM. THE COUNTY IS BEING GREEDY AND UNFAIR. HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO LIVE?? WHEN ALL THE FORECLOSURES START PILING UP AND THE MILLION AND ONE SUBDIVISIONS THAT THEY KEEP BUILDING AND BUILDING AND BUILDING JUST TO SUCKER MORE PEOPLE IN TO RIP THEM OFF, LET'S SEE HOW THEY CLEAN UP ALL THE ABANDONED, RAGGEDY, UNKEMPT PROPERTIES THEN?? JUST REMEMBER YOU ALWAYS REAP WHAT YOU SOW AND GREEDY AND UNFAIR IS JUST THAT!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Liberals just LOVE when taxes are high because theoretically the taxes get paid by the "rich" and get distributed to the "poor". Liberals being the leeches that they are enjoy this concept because it means wealth should get redistributed with them as the beneficiaries. What liberals don't seem to understand is that high and unfair taxes are bad for an economy. I left New York state decades ago because the income and sales taxes were ridiculous and there was little to show for my tax dollars at work. Evidently many people feel the same way as they leave high-tax states for low-tax states in droves. Look at the drop in population in states like NY and the growth in low-tax states like Florida and Nevada! That means there are fewer people contributing to the coffers in NY, necessitating even higher taxes on a dwindling populace to support the infrastructure. It's no wonder so many businesses left California for Nevada, taking jobs with them! I'm ready to make a beeline out of Georgia back to Florida to escape the $1,011 car tax I'll get hit with in January. It'll be nice not paying income tax, too!

When will liberals learn that their efforts to tax people to death doesn't work well in a free society? As long as there are other options on the table, people can choose where they live and will usually gravitate where their quality of life will be better, especially when they have the means to do so. In addition, corporations will do the same, locating to where it's best for them to function economically. Liberals think that corporations only should exist to employ people, preferably at high wages and of course to pay high taxes. When liberals succeed on imposing even harsher taxes on those corporations, they get all mad when those companies head for the hills, there are massive job losses and the local economy goes in the dumper. In an effort to yield more tax revenue, they end up taking in less. The same goes for the darling liberal unions who demand exhorbitant wages for minimal work. Wonder why Ford and GM just can't compete with Toyota and Honda? Duh.

Bush stunned the liberals when his tax cuts succeeded in taking in even MORE revenue and recovered the national economy nicely. This conservative phenomenon causes liberal heads to explode because their simple minds cling tenaciously to the concept that higher revenues can ONLY be attained with higher taxes. When will liberals ever learn this? When will liberals ever learn ANYTHING??

Scott said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for demonstrating exactly what kind of idiot Mark Burkhalter and Neal Boortz think live in Georgia. You think like a third-grade dropout with a trust fund whose brain has turned to jelly from Rush Limbaugh's propaganda ramblings.
Let's be honest. If you left New York City in the 70's, you didn't do it because of the taxes. You did it because the city was mismanaged and bankrupt and was falling into a spiral of crime and violence. And nobody with any fiscal sense moves to another state because of $1000. In fact, at first blush it appears that the high-tax states of New York and California are doing very well. One might even argue that the very fact that they have a high cost of living is because they're so in demand. But I'm sure you, who have fled these places, are much more well informed. So I'll just take it from you that nobody lives in Los Angeles or Manhattan anymore. THe places are like ghost towns, because, really, all anyone cares about is their tax burden and not their standard of living and amenities.
If you leave Georgia because of $1000 in car taxes, then good riddance to you. Although I'm quite sure all the local charities you must support will be very sorry to see you go.

jeskibuff said...

Just like a regular liberal idiot, you just don't seem to comprehend much. Even though I SPECIFICALLY stated that I left NY STATE, you immediately think "New York CITY", probably because it's a liberal "paradise", (at least it was before Giuliani cleaned it up). As far as NY and CA doing "very well", well, they're doing much better after recovering from the Clinton recession. Still, Google "New York State population decline" and you'll see articles about the decline. One NY Times article states "Upstate New York is staggering from an accelerating exodus of young adults...raising concerns about the state's future tax base....Population growth upstate might have lagged even more but for the influx of 21,000 prison inmates, who accounted for 30 percent of new residents. In almost every place upstate, emigration rates were highest among college graduates, producing a brain drain". California suffered greatly years ago under liberal mismanagement. Real estate crashed and people were splitting to better places, many to Colorado and Nevada. But the whole country is doing GREAT under Bush's bold leadership, insisting that tax cuts would work while dumb liberals predicted the economy would collapse because of them. It's great when liberals are PROVEN to be such idiots, isn't it?

And just like a liberal idiot, you remark sarcastically that NYC and LA are like "ghost towns". Well, what a truly stupid remark. Those are 2 unique cities in those states whose economies are very unique. NYC is a FINANCIAL and FASHION hub, while LA is ENTERTAINMENT oriented. The rest of NY is mostly manufacturing. The population of NYC actually increased while the rest of the state declined because of those special factors.

My reasons for leaving GA aren't just based on one $1000 tax, although that provides good incentive. I do contract work and hop from location to location. I've lived in several states: NY, FL, CO, VA and GA. Each has pluses and minuses. NY was by far the worst of the lot, and MILLIONS of people agreed with me, voting with their feet. Supposedly, most people still live within 50 miles of the place of their birth and won't venture very far so no matter what, there WILL always be people living in NY.

But, let's get back to taxes and lesson #2 in liberal idiocy. Remember the "luxury tax" of 1991? It was a brainchild of some of your idiot liberal leadership, notably fat Teddy Kennedy and George Mitchell. Again, the DUmmies naively believed that more taxes would result in greater tax revenue. Instead, tax revenues DECLINED precipitously as sales of expensive items like yachts and expensive cars plummeted. Yacht retailers reported a 77% decline and boat builders were estimating 25,000 layoffs. Good work, liberal idiots! Your tax hike on the wealthy cost working-class people their employment! It didn't take long to see the result of foolish liberal policy. In 1993 they began to phase out the tax, but it took another decade before it disappeared entirely. The funny thing is, years later this statement comes from Ted's nephew Patrick Kennedy who proposed a TAX CUT on luxury yachts: "Rich people can go anywhere to buy their boats. What my tax cut will do is hopefully encourage them to buy their boats here.” Talk about irony.

Instead of chasing away people with money, the idea is to retain them in your neighborhood. Their money trickles down to everyone along the way. But if you try to take it from them involuntarily, they will pick up and move elsewhere and someone else will be the beneficiary. The same goes for corporations. Tax them excessively and they'll pick up and take the jobs elsewhere. It's really a simple concept. The U.S. was born when people left oppressive Europe and revolted against "taxation without representation", a.k.a. tax-happy leadership. Learn from history you dumb liberals, then you won't make the same mistakes.

Although I'm pressed for time, especially considering an across-the-border move in a couple of weeks, I look forward to ripping apart other dumb ideas you've expressed in your utopic liberal blog. If I forget, you can always find me at http://www.conservativeunderground.com

jeskibuff said...

My, oh my! It's been over a month since my last post and the "wise Scott" doesn't seem to have found the wisdom to rebut the points made by this "stupid Georgian". I guess that would make him a really REALLY stupid Georgian, eh? Let's drill lesson #3 home, Scott...don't call someone else stupid if YOU'RE too stupid to respond with a coherant argument. Either that, or use the standard liberal tactic: lock up your blog so that the only thing that can be heard are other liberals patting you on the back! There's yet ANOTHER alternative: admit you were wrong...but that doesn't seem to be an option that liberals ever take!

Today's lesson is along the same lines, inspired by an article from that brilliant conservative website, Accuracy In Media (www.aim.org). The article can be found at http://www.aim.org/don_blog_entry/5171_0_15_0/

Here are some excerpts:
In an attempt by the Democrats to show that they are interested in education have announced that they plan to introduce legislation to cut interest rates on students loans...On the surface this sounds like a great idea and that’s what they want the public to think...In their zeal to go after big business, the Democrats are forgetting that when you increase the cost and lower the profits, businesses react by cutting back and reducing options. In this case student borrowers will be hurt more than helped as fewer choices will mean less accessibility not more....Unfortunately the students who should be fighting this change have been lied to and misled by the media and the Democrats and by the time they realize what has happened it will be too late.

Sound familiar? It's Democratic stupidity in full force, following the same idiotic pattern that is the tendency for Democrats to follow. They never learn from history. They never consider the consequences of their actions. They don't understand how the free market works. They hurt the very people they intend to help. The same applies to their minimum wage effort.

It's too late now, but hopefully the next time voters go to the polls Democrats will get the beating they deserve. They have repeatedly demonstrated that they have no understanding of how things work. Their "leadership" erodes the prosperity we could all benefit from.

As for me, I'll be a Georgian for a little while longer. My contract was renewed for another 6 months. I had purchased another vehicle back in November (a 2006 Xterra) that has more utility than my Acura NSX. It also can tow my ski boat. I took the plates off the Acura and will do without it for 6 months, avoiding paying Georgia $1K for something they don't deserve. I had let the temporary tags expire on the Xterra, anticipating that I'd be registering it in Florida, so when I went to get it registered I was expecting to pay the $380 tax but was pleasantly surprised that I wouldn't have to until next year. I gladly paid just $20, although I will be sorely missing my fun car. I have a real problem with slime buckets who want to pick my pockets, like you, Scott. Us "stupid Georgians" will make sacrifices (like not buying yachts or taking our cars off the road) just so that your stupid wealth redistribution plans flop big time. Better luck next time!

Scott said...

Whatever, stupid. If you haven't noticed, I haven't written anything on here for a month. Since you're such a student of economics, you'll understand I have more valuable things to do with my time that respond point to point with a moron who doesn't seem to understand anything more complicated than his own navel. If you want to post your ignorant drivel on my blog, fine. But don't think it compels me to spend a half hour refuting your garbage with *actual* research.
I suppose it must hurt, though, being on the losing side of history all the time. Continue worshipping your heros Tom Delay, Jack Abramoff, Richard Nixon, William Jennings Bryan, and Stephen A. Douglas.

jeskibuff said...

Ha ha ha.

Typical liberal response.

I gave several examples of how you and your stupid liberal policies have failed and WILL continue to fail. You can't research them, because there's no way to defend the failed policies of stupid liberals.

You are cornered. You know it. Your only defense is to pretend you "don't have the time". You know it, I know it, and anybody reading this knows it.

It should be painful to be as stupid as you are! Good luck going through this world trying to compete with people who are smarter than you!

Anonymous said...

So much for this blog being a forum for intelligent discussion and debate. It's more like a forum for name calling and 8-year-old "my daddy can be up your daddy" schoolyard squabbling. Jesus!! How old are you people?