"We need to raise taxes," said The Leader, a sly grin curling across his face. "We just have to, but we have to do it in a way where the regular schmucks out there won't know it or understand it."
His lieutenants bristled. "Sir, that's difficult. People are paying attention to this issue. It's the biggest issue facing our government right now. How are we going to fool the voters into thinking this isn't the largest tax increase ever passed by our government?"
"Simple," The Leader exclaimed, giddy at the thought of his deviousness and deception. "We'll do this just like they did Obamacare. We'll wait until the last minute....we'll ram it through so no one has time to read it until it's already passed....we'll cut deals with the other party to buy them off."
"But sir," cautioned his staff attorney, "that's not legal. The law requires a fiscal note from the State Auditor that clearly states how much this will cost taxpayers before something like this can even be considered."
"Nonsense. The rules don't apply to me. I make the rules," yelled The Leader angrily. Slamming his fist on the table, he screamed "Anyone who dares oppose me will feel the full power of my office. I'll just deny that the law says what it says and tell everyone we're voting on it. The sheep will get in line and those stupid bubbas out there will never know what happened."
Reading this, you're probably thinking that I'm telling a story about Rahm Emanuel, the "godfather" mayor of Chicago. Or perhaps you think it is about his former boss, President Barack Obama. Unfortunately, I'm talking about the "leader" of Georgia Senate, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle.
On Tuesday, at 11:41PM (yeah, 18 minutes before midnight), the State Senate passed HB 170, the so called Transportation Bill. In truth it is one of the largest tax increases in the history of our state.
It might be the largest tax increase ever. We're not entirely sure because in direct violation of Georgia law (OCGA 28-5-42) and in clear violation of the Senate's own rules (Senate Rule 3-1.4) there was not a fiscal note from the State Auditor provided for this legislation telling us exactly what it will cost.
When I rose on the Senate floor and pointed out that Georgia law and the Senate's rules clearly prohibit a vote on this legislation because of the lack of an official fiscal note, the angry Lt. Governor glared at me, said he disagreed with me, and proceeded with this farce.
When challenged again, he produced an undated report from the University of West Georgia about possible costs of some of these proposals. Not a fiscal note from the State Auditor on the specific legislation as required by law. A college paper? Really?
How bad was it? The Republican supermajority - that's right, we have 38 GOP members in the Senate - did not support this charade. The Lt Governor cut a deal with Democrats and a handful of Republicans to pass this enormous, and illegal, tax increase.
In today's Senate, the law doesn't matter. The rules don't matter. It's Chicago, Georgia. The only thing that matters is robbing taxpayers and hardworking citizens to appease big donors and corporate interests.
Every hardworking Georgian deserves better than this.
As we figure out what we have done to you over the next few weeks I will try to give more details. But for now, you can rest somewhat easier; the legislature has adjourned Sine Die. Barring some catastrophe, we should be done until January 2016.