Last week, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote a misleading piece on Grover's meeting with Georgia tax reform council chairman A.D. Frazier. A letter of clarification follows. For a PDF, click here.
January 31, 2011
I write to clarify a misleading piece in last week’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution regarding the 2010 Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians.
In his Friday, January 28 piece (“Tax consensus forged in private meeting”), Chris Joyner stated that I “gave cover” to the tax council’s recommendation of a $1 billion tax increase last week. This is untrue.
There are 55 Georgia elected officials who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written commitment to oppose all tax increases. At Americans for Tax Reform, we administer and maintain the Pledge, informing signers as to whether a specific piece of legislation is in keeping with that promise. On January 10, we informed you that a vote in support of the tax reform council recommendation is a vote for over $1 billion in higher taxes, and thus a violation of the Pledge.
That remains true today. The good parts of the reform package – reductions in marginal tax rates – are more than offset by base-broadening tax hikes. This is the Ted Kennedy school of “tax reform”: providing rhetorical cover for the growth of government. In a meeting with A.D. Frazier and others invested in tax reform for Georgia, I urged the council to adhere to the Ronald Reagan school: reducing marginal rates in a way that is at least revenue neutral, if not an pro-growth net tax cut. Tax reform does not require raising taxes.
Chairman Frazier assured me that he is committed to altering the proposal to achieve revenue neutrality. Should that happen, the council’s recommendation will be Pledge compliant. A statement of intention does not go far enough, though. It is incumbent on the council to either remove tax increases or further reduce marginal rates until the proposal is revenue neutral. When a final bill is filed with the legislature, we will examine it and inform lawmakers of its Pledge implications.
I was pleased with my conversation with Chairman Frazier and feel that the council is truly interested in revenue neutral pro-growth tax reform. Its initial proposal missed the mark; we look forward to supporting whatever serious reform they put forward after the council reconvenes.
CC: The Honorable Nathan Deal
2010 Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians