GOP voters favor national sales tax

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County Republican voters overwhelming supported a national sales tax and a stricter U.S immigration policy, according to preliminary results of Tuesday's referendum.

Although not binding, the outcome gives Republican candidates a clear picture of issues they should be talking to constituents about over the next several months of campaigning, said Gwinnett GOP Chairman Gregory Howard.

"They know what the voters want," Howard said. "The goal was to give people a greater voice, and I think we accomplished that."

The Republican ballot presented five questions to voters, including whether they would support abolishing the federal income tax in favor of a national sales tax.

Given that June's FairTax rally jammed the Gwinnett Convention Center, it was no surprise U.S. Rep. John Linder's bill received strong backing from Republican voters.

Some 87 percent said they support the sales tax, with 59 percent of precincts reporting.

The results of other ballot questions were also clear cut.

On whether the United States should secure its borders before discussing guest worker programs, 93 percent of voters said yes.

Up to 82 percent said they would deny illegal aliens guest worker or amnesty status. Some 86 percent backed Georgia adopting taxation and spending limits so that budget surpluses could be returned to taxpayers.

Another 79 percent said the state should not increase its gasoline tax to pay for new roads.

Democrats did not put questions on their ballot.

Howard said immigration and the sales tax bill were the most talked-about issues among Republicans. He envisioned future ballot questions - also called straw polls - on other hot-button topics.

"It's a great way to give our legislators feedback," Howard said. "And they get to hear what voters think."