By Dick Yarbrough
Georgia humor journalist
Vernon Jones called me the other day. To jog your memory, Jones, a former Democrat and former DeKalb County general manager, is running for the Republican nomination for governor against incumbent Brian Kemp.
After receiving an enthusiastic reception at the State GOP convention in July on Jekyll Island from Trump Harrumphs who booed Kemp, I wrote, “Vernon Jones? You’re kidding. This guy has more baggage than an airport carousel. Check his file. It is the RINO par excellence.
To his credit, he contacted me without the justified outrage expected from my sarcastic comments and explained why he thought he would be the best candidate to face and defeat the likely Democratic candidate, Stacey Abrams. Among her list: “Let her try to play the race card with me,” said Jones, who is black. This time he called because he has ideas he wants to share with voters (that’s you) and says the Atlanta media makes a point of ignoring him and his ideas. I’m happy to pass them on, this time without the sarcastic comments and for you to decide for yourself if they deserve your consideration. In fact, many people who read this column ignore the Atlanta media. It works both ways.
In a nutshell, Jones wants to eliminate the state income tax which currently stands at 5.75% and believes he can accomplish that task in four years. State income tax currently brings in some $ 14 billion and, at this point, has created a surplus of $ 3 billion.
He says, “Under President Donald Trump’s growth policies, our economy has skyrocketed. Collecting the increased sales taxes, property taxes, and income taxes that our state received allowed the legislature to use some of this new revenue to eliminate property taxes and lower property taxes slightly. highest income tax 6% to 5.75%. But the key word here is “portion”.
“In fiscal 2021, our state received $ 3.2 billion more in taxes than the previous year. Sadly, our state’s spending has also skyrocketed. In fiscal year 2018, our state’s budget was $ 25 billion. This has now grown to $ 27.3 billion in fiscal year 2022. Rather than spending the incomes of our hard-working residents, why not let Georgians keep all of their money? A small “portion” is simply not enough.
Jones says he would make Georgia a neighboring state to Tennessee and Florida – no state imposes income tax – and return that money to taxpayers.
“My solution to this growing problem is for Georgian elected officials to adopt a plan over a multi-year period that would allow us to compete with states that have no income tax,” he told me. By maintaining the state income tax, we are punishing the people who bring their families here. We are punishing them for choosing our state to start their businesses. And we punish them financially for choosing our state over our competition to start the next chapter in their lives. “
So how would he do it? “It’s all on the table,” Jones said. “We can still maintain a surplus by reducing unnecessary spending. “ He is also considering several sources of new revenue, including a two-cent increase in the state gasoline tax, which he says is among the lowest in the country.
(In fact, Georgia is ranked 16th in the country, according to the Tax Foundation, a leading independent tax policy organization.)
Jones also believes that casinos are coming to Georgia as soon as possible and, interestingly, the same is true of cannabis oil, both of which would provide new taxes and compensate for the loss of revenue resulting from the elimination of the state income tax.
One idea he mentioned that I support is to set up a satellite governor’s office in South Georgia. Why should Southern Georgians always travel to Atlanta to see the governor?
Why can’t the governor come to South Georgia and conduct business from there on a scheduled schedule?
On the flip side, I think raising the gasoline tax would be dead on arrival, and I’m not as optimistic as he is about seeing casinos and oil in. cannabis anytime soon, but that’s Vernon Jones’ proposition, not mine and he’s running for governor. , not me.
With that, we ended our conversation. It was time for him to resume the election campaign and try to convince you of why Vernon Jones should be governor.
This part, I leave it to you.