One of the organizing principles of the conservative movement revolves around always cutting taxes and resisting any moves towards raising revenues. Hundreds of conservatives have even signed Grover Norquist’s pledge to never, under any circumstances, support a tax increase.
Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA) made tax cuts a major part of his campaign promise last fall. In an ad put out by his campaign in February 2010, Deal bragged about running on “tax-cutting policies.” Watch it:
Now that Deal is Governor, the state legislature is currently drafting major tax legislation. Deal has been a guiding hand in the negotiations over the bill, and stands behind the latest version of the bill being debated among senate and house legislators. The bill does, as Deal promised, cut many taxes.
For example, it lowers the state personal income tax rate from 6 to 4.5 percent. Yet at the same time, the bill is being touted as being revenue neutral — meaning that revenue has to come from somewhere. Georgia Republicans, under the leadership of Deal, have decided to make up the difference by eliminating a whole host of tax exemptions and increases in sales taxes. The end result? Georgians making over $180,000 would see steep tax cuts while middle class Georgians making between $20,000 and $180,000 would see tax hikes. This chart compiled by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jay Bookman using data from Georgia State University’s Fiscal Research Center illustrates this:
While negotiations over the tax bill are far from over, it appears that Deal and his Republican colleagues are standing behind a template that is becoming all too familiar for right-wing legislators: cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans and then demand that middle class and working class Main Street Americans pay out more in tax hikes or in reduced spending to health care, education, and other important investments. As ThinkProgress previously reported, at least a dozen states are currently pursuing corporate tax cuts while at the same time increasing burdens on working families.