With traffic creeping along the I-75/I-85 Connector below, Gov. Nathan Deal and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle stood high atop an 18-story Midtown office tower Wednesday night and urged Metro Atlantans to vote in favor of next month’s regional transportation penny sales tax referendum.
The pair addressed a small group of reporters atop the Atlantic Station building prior to a private fundraiser for local business leaders who are in favor of the tax’s passage.
A new Insider Advantage poll of 539 people shows that 47 percent of those asked would vote against the 10-year, one cent sales tax, with 32 percent for it and 21 percent undecided. But those numbers didn’t faze Deal, who brushed aside the notion that he was backtracking on his no-tax pledge.
“First of all, the pledge relates to new taxes that were going to be initiated by legislative action. And as you know, the only tax reform and tax changes that have been initiated since I’ve been governor have been to cut taxes,” Deal said. “Last year was a major example of that, to be able to eliminate the sales tax on energy for manufacturing, so we can create more jobs. To increase by $2,000 the couples’ exemptions on their tax returns, to eliminate the marriage tax penalty,
“Now, for those who would interpret (the pledge) that way, I have two things to say. First of all, I never signed a pledge to give away my First Amendment rights. And my First Amendment rights are to advocate whatever I see fit. And as an individual, I do advocate for it.
“Secondly, as a governor, I am advocating for it because this is not a legislatively imposed tax. It is a tax increase that the people themselves will decide about. And for those who say otherwise, it seems to me that they would take away the right of the people to express their opinions of this importance.”
See the accompanying video for more comments from Deal and Cagle concerning their endorsements of the sales tax that would pay for road and mass transit projects throughout the region.
Do you think Gov. Deal's endorsement of TSPLOST means he's broken his no-tax pledge? Tell us in the comments.