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APN Endorsements: No on MOST, No on Primary Choices

(APN) ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Progressive News Board of Directors has made the following endorsements in today's March 06, 2012, election:

MUNICIPAL OPTION SALES TAX (MOST) - NO

Sales tax is one of the most regressive types of taxes, meaning that it is disproportionately paid by working people.  To be sure, Atlanta is becoming more and more of a difficult place for working people to live in, but that's exactly the problem.  At eight cents already--and with a possibility of going up to nine if the T-SPLOST is unfortunately passed in July 2012--we will have a very high sales tax rate, in comparison to other counties in Georgia and other states in the nation, with the exception of so-called "fair tax" states.  And yet, we're approaching fair tax levels, but still have income tax on top of it.  We have to stop relying on working families in Atlanta to pick up the burden of everything our city wants or needs to do but cannot afford.  While the MOST is supposed to be picked up in part by non-Atlantans who visit Atlanta every day, that will mostly affect their lunch purchases as opposed to the majority of their spending.  On the other hand, working families in Atlanta will have to pay the extra tax on most of their purchases because they live here.

As reported in APN, the City failed to meet its work deadlines on the First Amended Consent Decree for water and sewer systems on time, and it wishes to avoid a debate or public discussion around those failures.  To the extent that they are seeking an extension until 2029, that means they may seek MOST renewals through 2029.  The idea that this is going to prevent a rate increase, we believe the rate increases are coming in a few years anyway.  Moreover, the City failed to adequately raise the revenue it needed over time since 1999 when it entered the FACD, and, as usual, is asking working families to disproportionately pick up the tab through a crisis that the City, in fact, constructed, perhaps on purpose.

The City should have raised part of this money through higher developer impact fees.  Basically, we the taxpayers are having to pick up for the city infrastructure's inability to support the new growth in the last forty or so years.  However, developers have not been asked to pay their fair share for this new development.  Other cities around the country do charge higher impact fees, but the Council has shown little or no interest in doing so, in a town that prefers to take from working families, and to give everything to developers for free.

DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY: DECLINE TO ENDORSE

With President Barack Obama serving as the only option on the Democratic Primary ballot, we see no reason to make an endorsement.  While Obama is better than any of the Republican options by far, he has been a disappointment on many issues, including his support for the National Defense Authorization Act--which includes provisions allowing the US government to detain US citizens indefinitely without a hearing--and his proposed cuts to the Low Income Heating Assistance Program and the Community Service Block Grant Program.  Declining to vote for Obama in the Primary will not make it any less likely he will win the Primary--seeing as how he is assured to do so--but it will send a message of not being thrilled.

REPUBLICAN PRIMARY - DECLINE TO ENDORSE

(END/2012)


Comments (3)

bigbill
Said this on 3-6-2012 At 12:32 pm

I know APN opposes HR 1162. The Reblicans are up to their old tricks of pushing by stealth measures to do away with public schools, here by pushing for a huge increase in taxpayer funded charter schools not answerable to the taxpayers or voters. AFT/Gft is vigorously opposing a measure supported by many radical right- wing wacko billionaires like the Koch Brothers (Americans for Prosperity) and Dick and Betsy Devos American Federation for Children), not to mention the biggest looney-wacko right winger of them all Atlanta's (now Florida's) Neal Boortz. How many times a day does Neal denigrate "government schools? These loonies  want to do away with public schools once and for all. They want them privatized, mesaning turned over to private companies for private profit. This is happening all over the country in many states like Wisconsin, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. What is APN's take on this?

Steve Wise
Said this on 3-6-2012 At 03:37 pm

I share your general critique of the sales tax as highly regressive, but I think your commentary should've gone a little deeper into the reasons money needs to be amassed to pay for water and sewer infrastructure. When Maynard Jackson became the city's first African- American mayor in 1974, he proposed a number of bond initiatives to improve various long-neglected items. The bond referendum on libraries succeeded, and we have the once-new library downtown on Carnegie Way, among other things, as a result. The other initiatives, including one on water&sewer were voted down, primarily because Buckhead voters raised a stink, with highly noxious racist overtones ("How dare that nigger take our hard-earned tax money!"), about the "expense." Now of course, almost 40 years later, it's gonna cost a whole lot more. All Atlantans are now paying a price for that bit of classicly stupid white supremacy.

Burroughston Broch
Said this on 3-8-2012 At 10:42 pm

Steve, you seem to have selective memory with a few lapses. You also seem to be a bit of a racist.

There have been 6 mayors and 38 years since Maynard Jackson's first of three terms, beginning in 1974. There have been multiple opportunities to fix the sewer problems, but Maynard and his successors ignored the problem and shoved it under the rug. Only a Federal Court ruling finally forced Shirley Franklin and the City to begin the task (in which they are woefully behind in schedule and over in budget).

Compounding the cost to the City taxpayers are the magnitude of the task and the additional costs the City's affirmative action contracting requirements. The task could have been accomplished in steps over a period of years, and at much lower cost.

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