WASHINGTON – Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) strongly opposes efforts to increase taxes in Georgia. On January 15, Governor Sonny Perdue (R) announced plans to increase taxes on cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, beer, wine, and distilled spirits by $490 million over the next 18 months. The Governor\\\’s budget would also reduce the homestead exemption from $10,000 per year to $4,000.

"I encourage Governor Perdue to work with the Legislature to identify areas to cut spending, instead of increasing taxes in response to the budget shortfall," commented Grover Norquist, President of ATR.

"I have emphasized my opposition to Governor Perdue\\\’s tax increases on numerous occasions. And 56 legislators in Georgia have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge sponsored by ATR, thereby promising to \\\’oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.\\\’ [www.atr.org]

"I simply want Governor Perdue to work with the Legislature, with pledge signers, and with groups like ATR to identify spending cuts that will mitigate any perceived \\\’need\\\’ for tax increases," concluded Mr. Norquist.

States like Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, and Maryland face similarly challenging budget shortfalls, but these states\\\’ Republican governors have not attempted to raise taxes.

In Massachusetts, Governor Mitt Romney asked his state\\\’s legislature for permission to make emergency cuts in order to relieve the pressure of a $3 billion shortfall.

In Minnesota last week, Governor Tim Pawlenty cut $468 million in this year\\\’s proposed spending, while reiterating his promise to oppose tax increases.

In Colorado, Governor Bill Owens outlined his budget priorities on January 16, which includes no tax increases of any kind despite an $850 million shortfall and a $13.8 billion budget. Both the shortfall and budget are approximately the same size as Georgia\\\’s.

In Maryland, Governor Bob Ehrlich submitted a balanced budget January 17 that includes significant spending cuts to resolve a $1.8 billion shortfall, without raising taxes.