Sunday, July 15, 2012

Deep in the Heart of Dixie and Tea Party Country Atlantans Will Vote on Higher Taxes

Something About Being Able to Get to Work in Less Than 3 Hours

For people who have spent the last half century on Mars, here’s a news flash.  Atlanta has some of the worst traffic in America and the road and mass transit systems are woefully inadequate.  Until they find a way to harness magic, the only way to fix this problem is to spend money.  So Atlanta will be voting on a one cent sales tax increase.

But taxes are job killers, and certainly no respectable business leaders would ever support one. 

A rare sight in Atlanta, last time traffic moving
Photo circa 1942
Supporters of the tax include the city government and major businesses based in Atlanta such as Coca-Cola Co.,  Delta Air Lines Inc.  and Home Depot Inc.  They want to put the money toward projects such as a $450 million overhaul of the intersection of two major expressways—I-285 and Georgia 400—that is one of the most congested interchanges in the Southeastern U.S. Another $600 million would go to building a light-rail system around "the Beltline," a system of parks, bike paths and walkways being built around the city.

Well certainly Georgia’s conservative Republican Governor is opposed, it’s required for Republicans.

Proponents of the tax, with more than $6 million raised from area businesses, have launched an aggressive "Untie Atlanta" advertising campaign. Both Mr. Reed, a Democrat who has campaigned for President Barack Obama's re-election, and Gov. Nathan Deal, a conservative Republican who backed Newt Gingrich and now supports presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, are campaigning for the tax plan.

So who is opposed, the usual suspects of course.  Conservationists are opposed because it will support more auto traffic.  And Conservatives are upset because so much of the money would be spent on public transportation, which of course Conservatives don’t use.  But the NAACP is complaining that not enough of the money will go to mass transit.  Go figure.

The vote is on July 31, and all of us are waiting.  But to be frank, we see this as just a controlled experiment in economic reality, that is, that transportation systems cost money which is not something most Conservatives know.  So the outcome will tell us whether or not the Tea Party folks can be educated.  We are not optimistic.

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