Posted: 10:03 am Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
By Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy
Gov. Nathan Deal has been pummeled with bad news the last week, but the Gallup polling organization offers the Republican incumbent some respite this morning.
A massive 50-state look at taxation indicates that Georgians – by and large – are satisfied with the current level of taxation in their state. Fifty-three percent said levies were too high, but 45 percent disagreed.
New Yorkers (77 percent said levies were too high) were the most dissatisfied. Residents of Wyoming (19 percent) were the least.
Most other Southern states ranked below Georgia on the taxpayer-angst scale: Virginia (No. 21), South Carolina (No. 25), Mississippi (No. 28), Tennesee (No. 33), Alabama (No. 34) and Florida (No. 42).
North Carolina (No. 12) and Louisiana (No. 19) ranked above Georgia in taxpayer dissatisfaction.
The U.S. House is set to vote on a bill today that could again cleave Georgia’s Senate-seeking trio: The Paul Ryan budget.
Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, has already made his feelings known about the effort to balance the budget in 10 years through $5.1 trillion in cuts, via this web video – a sequel to an earlier video protest:
Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, also will vote no, a spokesman confirmed this morning.
Broun and Gingrey voted against the Ryan budget last year, demanding steeper spending cuts – though both had backed Ryan’s plans in prior years. Kingston voted for the Ryan budget last year.
As a functional matter, spending caps will continue next year under the two-year budget deal Ryan struck in December with his Senate Democratic counterpart Patty Murray. As a result, Senate Democrats aren’t bothering to put out their own budget this year.
Paul Broun’s Republican campaign for U.S. Senate will report about $345,000 raised in the first quarter of this year, entering April with roughly $230,000 cash on hand. The haul is a jump, but not a huge one, from what Broun has pulled in for the past year-plus and means he will likely be putting out more web videos, such as the above, than expensive television ads in the closing stretch.
Disclosures are not due until next week, but zpolitics has reported that Phil Gingrey, the Republican from Marietta, raised $326,000 in the first quarter for his Senate efforts. The rival Karen Handel campaign has said it raised $200,000 in the two weeks after she was endorsed by Sarah Palin.
No fundraising figures are out yet for the cash-flush campaigns of Republicans Jack Kingston and David Perdue.
We told you yesterday that Michelle Nunn, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, supports construction of a new route for the Keystone pipeline to deliver crude oil from western Canada to the American Gulf Coast.
This morning, her primary rival Branko “Dr. Rad” Radulovacki reminded his Democratic supporters that he would oppose construction of the pipeline:
“I do not support the Keystone XL pipeline for several reasons: it would create a false sense of security with the energy status quo, it would reduce the sense of urgency to explore and invest in alternate energy sources, it would open the door to foreseeable environmental disasters, and it would have little or no impact on our nation’s oil prices or supplies.
“As for fracking, I do not support financial incentives or safety exemptions given my significant concerns about its risks, especially to our water supply.”
Another day, another ad in Georgia’s coastal First District GOP primary. This one, from state Sen. Buddy Carter, focuses on his biography and includes images of him holding his baby granddaughter and handing out a prescription at his pharmacy.
What’s missing? Any mention of his time in the Legislature:
The Associated Press is out with a report showing that several major corporations have reaped millions of dollars from “Obamacare” even as they support GOP candidates who vow to repeal the law:
This condemn-while-benefiting strategy angers Democrats, who see some of their top congressional candidates struggling against waves of anti-Obamacare ads partly funded by these companies.
Among the corporations is a familiar Democratic nemesis, Koch Industries, the giant conglomerate headed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. They and some conservative allies are spending millions of dollars to hammer Democratic senators in North Carolina, Alaska, Colorado, Iowa and elsewhere, chiefly for backing President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
One Atlanta firm is singled out by AP:
United Parcel Service received $37 million from the program’s subsidies for early retirees. From 1989 through this year, political action committees affiliated with UPS donated $32 million to federal candidates and political parties. Of that, 64 percent went to Republicans, according to records compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
A concerted push for equal pay for women has resulted in many Democrats – gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter included – repeating the line that women doing the same job make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.
The Washington Post picks apart that statistic today. The AJC’s Politifact Georgia tackled the phraseology just last week – when uttered by Jason Carter’s granddad. The ruling:
The number does not take into account critical factors that could influence the figure, including specific occupation, time on the job and education level.
And the gap drops dramatically if you compare men and women of similar education levels, job titles, time on the job and other relevant factors.
Former President Jimmy Carter is again pushing President Barack Obama to draw a red line in the Ukraine.
The Georgia native was in Austin this week when he told reporters that he believed the Russian annexation of Crimea was a “foregone conclusion” but urged Obama to halt any Russian incursion into eastern Ukraine.
“I think three-fourths of Crimean people wanted to be part of Russia, so that was a foregone conclusion. Nothing Obama or the EU can say or do will change that now. We have to stop Putin now. He can’t be permitted to take military action in eastern Crimea.”
Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to sign a $20.8 billion budget into law later this month, but don’t forget he has a little extra money to play with.
Deal’s office served up that reminder yesterday when he signed an executive order transferring $4 million from his emergency fund to the state’s public defender system to float the cost of providing legal counsel to poor defendants involved in so-called conflict cases.
The Georgia Supreme Court recently upheld a State Bar of Georgia opinion that found public defenders who work in the same office can’t represent co-defendants in the same criminal case. That forced many cases to be referred to outside lawyers working on contract.
After the $4 million spend, Deal’s office said it still has nearly $10 million remaining in the fund. You can find Deal’s order here.
Republican Senate candidate Karen Handel picked up the endorsement of the American Future Fund, a big-spending national conservative group that sounds like it will throw some money into the race.
The group’s president, Nick Ryan, told Politico that it “will do everything we can do (to) ensure she is successful.”
The Washington Post this morning captures Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, in a fast food-inspired floor debate over whether the Congressional Budget Office should assume discretionary budget increases each year for inflation.
After Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., showed a series of charts about how much the cost of a McDonald’s Big Mac has increased due to inflation in the past decade, Woodall had this retort, which no doubt brought tears of gratitude to the eyes of McDonald’s product-placement executives:
“I think I’ve got one of the best chart teams on Capitol Hill, I’ll say to my friend from Maryland that it’s a great Big Mac chart, and I think it drives home my point exactly.
“Which is, federal government math assumes that if you got to buy a Big Mac 10 years ago, you’re still buying a Big Mac today. I just wonder if that’s true. I’ve switched to the value menu. I get the McDouble from time to time for $.99.
“The Spicy McChicken is now a part of what I do. I have to get into my wallet and justify the expense and when the prices double, sometimes we as Americans have to substitute.”
About the Authors
Jim Galloway has spent 35 years covering politics and other shenanigans for The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He joined the newspaper in June 2012.
Daniel Malloy is the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington Correspondent, covering the Georgia Congressional delegation and other D.C. goings-on that affect the state since 2011. He's a zealous fan and proud graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.