39 comments

  1. Three Jack says:

    Is it possible the market is responsible for the price per gallon decrease and that maybe it would be down an additional 7 cents if not for the tax (even though many retail locations have yet to receive a fuel delivery since 7/1)? http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-fall-as-us-shale-shows-resilience-2015-07-03

    http://www.nasdaq.com/markets/crude-oil.aspx

    Crude price has been going down for over a month. This anecdotal defense of the fuel and hotel tax increase might provide entertainment for certain folks who favored it, but it is completely irrelevant in reality (noticed we haven’t seen pics of a hotel bill including the new $5 per night tax just in time for July 4 vacations). These pics are as relevant as me taking a picture of a gridlocked I75 with the headline, ‘GDOT receives extra billion, but traffic remains at a standstill’.

    • Charlie says:

      No one at any point in this bill has said it will relieve traffic gridlock. Wasn’t sold that way, and the money added is incremental at best. Anyone trying to say otherwise is playing revisionist history and trying to move the goal posts to redefine the success of this bill.

      I personally wouldn’t have picked the hotel tax, but this is why it’s important to actually be engaged in the process instead of smirking from the sidelines while setting up future grandstanding. Had a few more of our self-described “conservatives” actually participated rather than throwing stones and roadblocks at every angle, maybe they could have actually influenced the final bill instead of getting something they didn’t expect and now can’t stand.

      • Three Jack says:

        Thus my point about relevance of either a pic of the Racetrac sign or me posting one about traffic relief. Fuel prices will go up and down depending on market speculation based largely on crude supply while the tax will increase the cost by 6.7 cents no matter actual pump price.

      • Chuck Martin says:

        Charlie, come on don’t try and re-write history; you know several legislators offered options but those options were not considered.

        Careful painting with too broad a brush my friend.

  2. Raleigh says:

    I cannot speak for legislators voting against this tax. I was against my legislators voting for it because it did nothing to fix problems at GDOT or stop the legislature requiring projects to nowhere be built. This is just bad business as usual.

    They will continue to build and build with funds that should be used to maintain what has already been built. Playing political games with retail price fluctuations may make some feel good, short term, but the fiddler will eventually want his pay, sooner or later.

    So all this will happen again and again and again. There is your apocalypse.

    • Charlie says:

      I have no issue with a “no” vote. Every legislator has to go to Atlanta to vote their conscience.

      I have an extreme problems with those who said there wasn’t a problem to solve, and played their own politics throughout this process and now wish to enhance their political standing over it at the expense of their colleagues and by disseminating wrong and flat out ignorant information to their constituents in order to make themselves look good.

      • Raleigh says:

        I cannot argue with you there, you’re right. Question is how do we stop the business as usual political pandering to avoid the waste of building roads to nowhere. Also if it’s built there will always be allocated funds for maintenance? There is no will in the legislature to do so. All that has been done is a Band-Aid has been put on a wound that needs stiches and this wound bleeds tax revenue.

        • Charlie says:

          The GDOT board is one of the two boards most complained about as being “too independent” – i.e., out of the circle of political independence. (Board of Regents being the other, for very different structural reasons). As evidence look back when Glenn Richardson tried to hand pick a GDOT board member for the 9th Congressional District. Several members lost their committee chairmanship because his pick didn’t win. The Governor gets exactly one appointment: The Planning Director.

          The people that argue about GDOT being aloof usually want the process to be brought under legislative/political control. THAT is exactly how we got TSPLOST – a political solution to a real problem.

          The GDOT board is by Congressional district so the representation matches Georgia’s population distribution. You’ll always finds someone that believes their area is paying all the taxes and gets none of the benefits. These are the people that usually get all their facts from their 8 friends on Facebook. It’s the GDOT’s board’s job to ensure that they get the most done with that they can.

          As to the maintenance piece, there’s a strong incentive for GDOT to get more of that done, presuming Federal funds remain at current levels. If GDOT can move the federal money to doing mostly our maintenance backlog, they can put the GA raised money behind new projects. By eliminating the Federal approval process (5.5 years on average per recent testimony of Meg Pirkle, GDOT’s Chief Engineer) and Davis Bacon wage requirements, we can get a lot more construction than we’re currently getting for the same dollar.

  3. Josh McKoon says:

    I attended the Study Committee session held in Columbus last year. I read the Study Committee report. A number of House and Senate legislators offered numerous other proposals internally and as floor amendments. No one pushing for alternatives to the increased gasoline tax was appointed to the Conference Committee, which ultimately came up with a bill that had a brand new tax on hoteliers that had never been discussed at any point in the process before reporting out that bill at 9:30 PM on March 31. Requiring members to vote on the entirely new hotel tax with, in the case of the Senate, 2 hours notice, is indefensible. The tourism and hospitality business, which some members seemed terribly concerned about when it came to the consideration of other legislation during the 2015 session, will be seriously impacted by this ill considered tax as indicated in the linked article I posted above — I have not criticized legislators who felt the only choice we had was between passing the Conference Report on HB 170 and doing nothing. I believe had we voted the CR down we would have finally received an audience on the many other proposals on the table to address transportation funding.

    As for my constituents, I am guessing most who are close enough are fueling up in Alabama where today they can purchase regular gasoline for $2.37 per gallon.

    • WeymanCWannamakerJr says:

      You’re welcome to walk across the river anytime and represent Alabama. Given the crowd you’ve been pandering to as of late you shouldn’t even need a bridge.

      • Josh McKoon says:

        Pandering? I think the vast majority of Georgians believe that:

        The State should have a compelling government interest to interfere with the free exercise of religion;

        Georgia shouldn’t issue driver’s licenses to illegal aliens;

        Georgia should seek to eliminate or reduce the state income tax;

        Lobbyists should have restrictions on what they may gift to lawmakers;

        The Attorney General should be empowered to empanel a statewide grand jury to fight public corruption;

        Our Ethics Commission should be independently funded through constitutionally dedicated revenue stream; and so on.

        Only if your definition of pandering includes “disagreeing with a handful of elites” does this qualify.

        • Charlie says:

          OK, instead of getting the now standard McKoon stump speech (something we call a threadjack on here), let’s get back to the original question I asked you but you’ve semi-successfully managed to change the subject from:

          What was the purpose of you going on facebook and tweeting to your constituents that they needed to fill up on Tuesday evening to avoid a major tax increase?

          ^That question, and that question only, needs to be in your next comment here if you wish to continue.

          • saltycracker says:

            I decided to not use my Kroger gas points on Friday, saving them for a hot July day.
            Problem solved.

            What I can’t hear is what is planned with the increased revenue from gas (and property) taxes – so far it is long needed raises for employees and more hiring to study what we are going to do plus time to say “we appreciate your ideas.”
            I’ll check back in 2020.

  4. Josh McKoon says:

    If people are going to make unsubstantiated attacks on my character cloaked in online anonymity I will respond.

    I wanted to make my constituents aware of the pending tax increase. Social media is an effective way to accomplish that. Not sure how it is different from making people aware of a sales tax holiday or any other state policy on taxation.

    • Charlie says:

      Really Josh? 1) Quite a bit sensitive on the “attack on your character”, but whatever.

      As for “make my constituents aware of the pending tax increase”, this is what you consider your duty to inform? Really?

      So as far as the liklihood of the price going up the next day given that gas is taxed at the wholesale level, were you mis-informing them to grandstand or just too far removed from what we’re talking about to give them reliable information?

  5. Josh McKoon says:

    The post says a tax increase on gas goes into effect on July 1, which is exactly what occurred. As I’m sure you know photos attached to posts on social media increase the level of interaction.

    Implying or stating that legislators who opposed HB 170 or recently drew attention to it are ignorant or grandstanding is simply wrong. The legislators I know who opposed this bill were as engaged as the gatekeepers in the process would allow and rejected the alternatives proposed. Why wouldn’t we want our constituents to be aware of the impacts of the tax?

    I don’t know why you seem to take personal offense to this, but I would expect those of us who opposed this bill to continue to point out the problems with it so hopefully they can be revisited next year.

    • Charlie says:

      The post tells people not to forget to fill up because there’s a big tax increase coming.

      I want people to be well aware of the tax, what the money is going for (and what it isn’t). And as noted, I’ve been working to that goal for over two years.

      Trying to inflame folks without giving them any context or actual fact (while implying they’ll pay more tomorrow) isn’t helpful, isn’t statesmanlike, and does in fact show that you’re more interested in applause than governing. Which is incredibly and personally disappointing to me. And beneath you. Or at least, it should be.

      • xdog says:

        Thanks guys for the entertainment. Your exchange has livened things up way beyond the usual Friday afternoon postings which are generally pretty slim.

        I’ve always thought Friday’s lack of activity was because you political and governance types were getting an early start on your weekend drinking while at the same time planning how next to juke us poor taxpayers, but now I know it’s at least as likely you’re posting to and harvesting social media. Learn something every day.

        Thanks again for the show and you both have a good 4th of July.

  6. WeymanCWannamakerJr says:

    Apologies if you feel my attempt at humor has impugned your character by associating you with Ralph Reed, et al. I admit the irony of a Georgia Senator trying to extoll the virtues of living in Alabama didn’t sit well with me. But you also must admit that your comparison of the lowest price you could cite in Alabama with a price in a much higher rent Cobb location is at best disingenuous. Besides the local sales taxes you guys left intact as pressure on the pump price there is also the not so small matter of the EPA ‘California Blend’ mandated in Metro Atlanta. Pump prices have always varied widely by location and I can recall paying about half the going rate of 60 cents per gallon (29.9) at a station involved in a ‘gas war’ at the time. I also received a free dinner plate and the pleasure of having someone else pump the gas. Of course this was on the side of an unpaved state highway.

    If you wish to revisit this tax then fine. Champion the removal of any sales taxes on motor fuels that do not go to transportation.

  7. BikeSmith says:

    These posts will stop when gas prices rise. This childish argument is just crazy – prices will rise due to the tax, big oil is not in business to help anyone, they exist solely to profit.

    Supporting tax increases as a ‘conservative’ just shows that you are not one, Charlie. I do not agree with hardly anything Josh politicizes, but on this topic he is merely standing up for his political vote – something most rational people would accept.

    • Will Durant says:

      “…prices will rise due to the tax…”

      No more than 6.5¢ per gallon can be attributed to the excise tax at this moment in time. Meanwhile when oil goes back to $100 per barrel you will appreciate the sales tax conversion to an excise tax. Is it more conservative to not raise taxes and just issue debt a la Sonny and Gena? To the point that $400 million per year is just servicing that debt? Or is it more conservative to raise the taxes and at least attempt to pay as you go?

      Josh McKoon is doing nothing more than gamesmanship and taking a populist approach to his politics that has always worked in Georgia. More’s the pity.

  8. rrrrr says:

    Armageddon ….. Delayed

    We will all fondly remember the year when it took a super majority of conservative, “smaller government” tax reducing Republicans to pass a tax, err fee, err “Domestic Contingency Fund” that was indexed to increase on autopilot, contains no sunset provisions AND hits hotel guests so certain Mercedes program car operators can get reduced tag fees (did they throw in a free school lunch too?)

    To be fair, the Mercedes charity clause was separate piece of legislation but just by sheer proximity.

    The brilliant simplicity of this will be studied for decades to come since future candidates can say “I didn’t vote for a tax increase”
    (Of course they won’t vote for a review or reduction either) Out of site out of mind.

    And who can forget, it’s not a big deal because it will be broken up into ever smaller slices mimicking the recent financial market handling of the 6/30/15 leap second.
    http://www.efinancialnews.com/story/2015-05-19/markets-jumpy-over-coming-leap-second?ea9c8a2de0ee111045601ab04d673622

    According to the FIA, markets in Japan plan to deal with the leap second with a process known as dilution, where the seconds leading up to the extra second are stretched out slightly. Australia and South Korea will dilute the time in the seconds following the switch.

    There has been a bit of back and forth about what is beneath folks.

    Personally I thought this thread was beneath the original author’s usual caliber.
    Feel free to correct and educate me further if I misread the legislation being a simpleton voter, after all I wasn’t in the chamber but I know I personally need more than a couple hours late at night reading legalize so I really wonder how many of the Yeas were completely informed or just “trust me”.

    • Charlie says:

      It’s just past midnight on Friday on a holiday weekend.

      Thus, we’ll excuse the hour and the presumed liquid celebration for confusing the bill that contained the Mercedes Employees’ Lease Tax Credit with a transportation Bill that passed on day 38 or 39, with more than 2/3 of each chamber when only a simple majority was required.

      And at this hour, that’s all I have to say about that…

  9. saltycracker says:

    So I make a quick run for another watermelon and note that gas is slightly cheaper than last week.
    Save me the preconceived explanations, it is what it is.

    And, in the news, a free streetcar is still running below expectations and bragging on an improved shortage. A dollar charge is being debated ?

    • gt7348b says:

      FWIW, the lack of fares on the streetcar has more to do with who is operating it rather than an ability to charge fares. Also, the streetcar costs less than any of the managed lanes projects under construction. The lowest is the I-85 north extension at $110 million (currently) and are currently carrying less boardings on the GRTA Xpres routes that will use them as GDOT claims they are also a transit improvement project.

  10. John Konop says:

    The diference between Josh McKoon and Charlie Harper in this debate is Charlie is trying to solve real issues, while Josh is playing politics. Josh obviously is not being straight with voters….just telling them what they want to hear. Any rational person who knows the problems we have who knows about the serious infastruture issues would tell you we cannot solve it without more revenue….it could be tolls, fees…That is why Josh avoids the details, and sticks with talking points….If Charlie and Josh had a real public debate about the real needs verse money needs …..McKoon would be outed……We have to many politicians like Josh that put political BS over what is best for the state.

  11. Newtonian says:

    Happy 4th Fellow Gas Experts:

    Let’s be fair. Nobody, except the folks that sell gas actually know the wide variations in cost that occur each and every day. The price of gas for delivery the following day is posted each afternoon.

    Not every station gets deliveries on the same day, indeed they are spread out based on how much fuel the station sells. A delivery is usually 9,000 gallons. Some stores get a delivery every day, some once or twice a week. It will take a while for everyone to get the higher taxed gas. Depending on the competitive situation even when a station gets higher cost product they may not be able to immediately pass on the change. For example, a higher volume station with daily deliveries gets the higher priced product, but their competitor down the street still has the lower taxed product. The first station cannot automatically raise prices because their competitor may not have done so likewise. Gasoline marketing is a low margin, highly competitive business.

    As for trying to equate street prices directly to a tax, it’s frankly a losing proposition. Believe me, should costs suddenly jump up in the near term future, everyone will be wanting to blame the tax for the increase. It has been fortunate that the increase in taxes has occurred in a staple market that has seen some cost reductions.

    As I said Charlie, SC and AL need your help.

  12. Thadius says:

    I’m not really very informed on this issue, but in reading the post it looks like Charlie is starting to lose it.

    Seriously, you are beginning to look unbalanced Charlie. The McKoon guy made a FB post about the tax increase which was really going into effect the next day. You appear to be losing your composure over something no one in the world cares about.

    What gives? Is there something else at play here?

    • John Konop says:

      If you are right that McKoon is not just playing politics with no real plan……How come Josh McKoon will not tell us how we pay for the 40 percent increase in truck traffic, after the Savanna port is complete, combined with the increase population, within the current budget with no new revenues? I am all ears…..Unlike McKoon….Charlie Harper has got the guts and knowledge to go over the needs in detail…

      • Thadius says:

        McKoon may be playing politics for all I know… My comment is not related to the merit of the tax increase being discussed. I am commenting on the tone of the discussion. Charlie looks like he’s running against McKoon for something. It’s not even a big deal really, I was just noticing.

        • John Konop says:

          In all due respect….the problem is McKoon and company always play the card that they somehow only they represent the truth…..and in general if you dare to disagree, it is because you are a paid of liar from the “establishment”……Yet when you call out McKoon and company out, on giving us a real details, they hide, spin….It appears what they accuse people of, is what they are doing….McKoon and company have been asked a very simple question….how do we pay for the 40 percent increase in truck traffic on top of the population growth with no new revenue? The real question should be is why do they refuse to answer the question? We all know why…they are selling BS…..

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