Need a crack down on politicians skipping tax obligations
To the Editor:
To the Citizens of Morgan County and the State of Georgia,
With regard to the recent news of the 20 some odd state legislators in the Georgia Senate who have taken advantage of the Georgia tax code, I spoke recently with Representative Holt about this subject. I expected him to share my outrage as to the irresponsible actions of these senators; however, his response to me was "Well, certainly this is not right, I pay my taxes." Good for you, Mr. Holt. Most Georgians do. Obviously, if we didn't, the state would be in worst financial condition than it is now.
I questioned Mr. Holt as to whether there had been any action taken by the House and Senate Ethics Committee. He advised that under the current code, the State Revenue Commissioner could not reveal the names of the state legislators involved. Therefore, the Senate Ethics Committee's hands are tied. However, according to Mr. Holt, SB 168 was to be introduced into the Senate. If this amendment is approved to the Georgia Code, SB 168 will require that the State Revenue Commissioner give the names of any senator who has not filed a Georgia Income Tax Return to the Chairperson of the Senate and House Ethics Committee. The Amendment further states that the Revenue Commissioner must notify the delinquent legislator by register or certified mail, return receipt requested, 30 days in advance of his name being given to the chairperson of the Senate and House Ethics Committee. Once the chairperson receives the name, then he can undertake an appropriate investigation and report the findings to the presiding officer of his or her chamber. Here the amendment ends with just a few other sentences.
If I understand SB 168, it is business as usual. The legislative non-taxpayers have filed for extensions under the current code tax code. The only penalty they face is the penalties and interest on their tax bill if they ever do file a return!
With the tax deadline of April 15 looming, most of us are working diligently on our tax returns.
If we owe the state money, we are trying to figure out how we are going to pay the state. After all, it has only been a short period of time that the Morgan County property tax had to be paid. I, for one, as a taxpayer, am outraged that there are elected representatives in the Georgia House and Senate who have not payed their taxes under the guise of "filing an extension."
It is a sad day when we elect people to represent us in our governing bodies and they take advantage of our trust in the laws they create. We have become so apathetic to what is going on around us as a nation.
We no longer have a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people!"
PRINTED IN THE APRIL 9, 2009 EDITION