POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Dooley fires back on tax issue

A local tea party leader is at the center of a controversy over the Atlanta regional Transportation Investment Act vote, scheduled for July 31.

Proponents of the tax called out Debbie Dooley, the Dacula woman who is a national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, for endorsing a raise in the gasoline taxes over the proposed 1-percent sales tax.

But Dooley said her comments at a recent Civic League forum were taken out of context and her position was skewed.

She said her organization supports a gas tax hike only if elected officials prove they can use the tax dollars wisely, there is no other option to raise money for road projects, and the increase comes only after gas prices have decreased.

"They have run a misleading campaign from the beginning," Dooley said of the Citizens for Transportation Mobility campaign.

The group issues a press release blasting Dooley for the comments, just days after Gov. Nathan Deal stopped a scheduled gas tax increase.

"We have been waiting on the opposition to come up with their 'Plan B' and we now see that they want to build more toll roads, raise gas taxes and take away the power of citizens to vote on a specific project list," said Che Watkins, campaign manager for the advocacy group. "We are frankly shocked that a Tea Party leader would advocate for higher permanent taxes with less public accountability."

While the per-gallon excise tax on gas has not been raised in decades, the per dollar sales tax on gas rises and falls every six months based on the average price of gas. In a press release, campaign officials said the gas tax would need to be increased by 25 cents per gallon to raise an equivalent amount of funds for transportation as the July 31 referendum will raise.

Dooley said the press release was a sign that the advocacy group was "desperate," because polls show support of the referendum slipping.

She said tea party groups across the state are against the transportation sales tax because of local control issues, since once county could vote down the tax but be forced to pay it because of other communities, and other problems. The metro Atlanta list, she said, is "fiscally irresponsible," because it does not fund all projects to completion and would impose more maintenance costs, and it would force people who do not use public transit to support the system.

Dem challenger signs ethics pledge

With two Republican challengers already calling out Sen. Don Balfour for a recent ethical controversy, a Democrat, who will face the winner of the July 31 GOP primary, wants voters to know he has the integrity to take over the job.

"I can no longer stand silently on the sidelines. Democracy is not a spectator sport and public office is about service, not feathering one's own special interest nest," Scott Drake, a lawyer, said in a press release. "I have a personal and professional interest in seeing that justice prevails. The culture of corruption that exists within Gwinnett County at all levels will cease only when we challenge those who would try to bend circumstances in their own favor and for personal gain. Public service means putting constituents first."

While Balfour is facing a Senate investigation into claims he sought per diem reimbursements on days he was not in the state, Drake said he would support a law banning all gifts from lobbyists and require both the executive and legislative branches of government to be subject to open records laws.

"While I am proud to sign the pledge to support and co-sponsor legislation that would create a $100 gift limit on lobbyists, I don't believe that goes far enough to curtail the abuses of power we have all seen or read about. The time has come to restore integrity to politics," Drake said. "Our government should not be for sale." Drake said.

Drake is former prosecutor who now works as a partner in the Sliz Law Firm.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.


kevin 3 years, 2 months ago

Sounds good to me. A 1 cent gas tax would be better. Those that use the roads the most would pay for this. This makes much more sense then the legislature making us tax ourselves even if we don't or hardly drive a car. The gas tax doesn't hurt senior citizens, who drive 5,000 miles or less, at least most of them. I and all my friends have already said no to the 1 cent sales tax coming up. You can say all you want, it won't win in July. Debbie, you should be standing firm on the 1 cent gas tax lady. It is the best idea I heard.


Cleanupguy 3 years, 2 months ago

I respected Debbie until her sellout to the Dick Armey (among his old affiliations is DLA Piper, promoting the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, on our State Department’s terrorist watch list) Tea Party Poopers, which is pretty much an Astroturf lobby with their own well funded agendas. Anyway, so the Tea Party Poopers have abandoned their "no new taxes" stance for "well, just one more is ok" - fine, common sense says that the money for desperately needed projects will not fall from the sky. So Debbie says that she "supports a gas tax hike only if elected officials prove they can use the tax dollars wisely, there is no other option to raise money for road projects" etc. If she had done her homework she would discover that the sales tax proposal does all of that and more. It comes with an expiration date, requiring a vote of the people to renew, and monies collected will be distributed proportionally to the areas from which they are collected (aka using the money wisely with voter oversight). The gas tax, however, is out of the direct control of voters, can go on indefinitely, and is distributed at the pleasure of lawmakers.


FordGalaxy 3 years, 2 months ago

There have been several projects that came with an "expiration date" that has come and gone, and yet the projects are still running, the toll lanes on 400 being one such example. Maybe I'm just jaded, but I don't trust a politician telling us that a tax has an expiration date, and that it will be put up for a vote again. What will inevitably happen is that the money will come in and government will use it, then the expiration date will roll around, but by then government will have found a dozen more things it "needs" the money for. Remember, too, that any cost estimate the government gvies you should automatically be doubled to get closer to the actual, real-world price of the project.


snellvillemike 3 years, 2 months ago

GA 400 toll collections came with an expiration date. And do not get me started with the DOT's HOT lanes. If you want to help marta with their mismanagement issues (Operation expenses: escalators and upkeep of equipment) and for other counties transportation issues, then vote yes to subsidize others. I will emphatically VOTE NO.


jack 3 years, 2 months ago

mike- I, too, intend on voting NO. I would like to do so emphatically, but I can only push so hard on the touchscreen of the voting machine. Any suggestions?

To all others: Never vote a tax upon youself!


Cleanupguy 3 years, 2 months ago

Yes, Georgia 400 tolls came with an expiration date, but it was set by legislators and not by law to require voter input as this one would - big difference. Regarding "subsidizing others", as noted previously, statutorily funds contributed by an area would be spent only in that area, but ignorance can be blissful in any case. If the sales tax fails the gas tax will probably become the default, imposed by legislators, everyone will pay and politicians will decide where it goes.


R 3 years, 2 months ago

SPLOSTS Once it passes, it NEVER goes away ...

Wouldn't it be wiser to address the diversion of gas tax funds collected NOW before passing yet another tax and leaving the problem to grow?

Very few REAL champions exist for TSPLOST, kill it and let’s get down to a real solution beginning with an end to the state collecting fees and diverting funds elsewhere.

For that we DON'T need ANOTHER new statewide government layer created to STUDY endlessly.

Vote NO! "It's your money - use it WHEN you need it"

Remember this tax WON'T change commute times one bit per the ARC - so it CAN'T/ WON'T impact the number of new firms moving in at ALL, yet that was the MAIN Point...

Want to UNTIE Atlanta? Vote NO!

And make the state do its job by coming up with REAL solutions - not MORE GOVERNMENT high paid JOBS managing other people's money.


Username 3 years, 2 months ago

The supporters of TSPLOST have now been given a potent weapon to use against us: a TEA Party "leader" who supports raising taxes.

Well, as long as the price of gas goes down, and the politicians promise to spend those higher taxes on the roads, that's OK, right?

What are we supposed to do when TEA Party "leaders" don't act any different than the liberals and statists?


R 3 years, 2 months ago

Weapon ? Not really ...

A Noodle to beat one about the head and shoulders? Maybe.

IF gets repeated endlessly, some on the margin may be fooled - for a short time.

Because most are SCREAMING for fixes with the current handling of money first. Just like this - ENFORCEMENT FIRST!

Then talk about more funding LATER, by proving you have been responsible cuting waste with what you have right NOW...


CD 3 years, 2 months ago

Where did Gwinnett get the funds to overpay for property so that the Heathens could unjustly enrich themselves? SPLOST.

Where will the state get the money to overpay for property and projects so the Heathens can unjustly enrich themselves? SPLOST.

How will the projects selected be completed when they run short of money due to theft, graft and corruption? ADDITIONAL SPLOST.

It will never end, but it will not get my vote or the vote of most that I know.

Disclosure statement: I do not own a pawnshop.


glenn398 3 years, 2 months ago

Only if the government proves they can use the money wisely. Since when have they ever done that and what kind of system could you use to prove that they were, impossible.


R 3 years, 2 months ago

Because we VOTERS haven't stood up and said ENOUGH! until now, and it still needs millions more voices...


QuantumMechanic 3 years, 2 months ago

Who, pray tell, has elevated this woman to "Tea Party Leader?" As one who has espoused "Tea Party" ideals since roughly the mid-'70s and who's demonstrated for individualism, capitalism and liberty continuously since that time... I can tell you that not only does this Debbie Dooley of Dacula, in embracing this craven, finger-to-the-wind-pragmatism, invalidate any claim to "leadership" she's assigned to herself, she's invalidated any claim even to consider herself a part of the Tea Party movement.

The fight against this kind of principles-betrayal has been the very core of the present-day Tea Party, the very thing that we've been rebelling against. It is precisely the vital distinction between RINO sellouts on the one hand and Republicans of uncompromising principle on the other that has been the animating heart of the Tea Party phenomenon. Where has this Dooley had her head buried for the last decade? Has she even heard of the concept "RINO"? Does she have the faintest clue as to the economic miasma in which America and most of the semi-civilized world is engulfed, and what are the causes of that catastrophe? Clearly she does not know. "Tea Party Leader" - in a pig's eye. She is not my leader, and never will be. (I hear that the 9.9% at Outdoors We'll Squat are looking for some good compromisers. She should go there - the cause of liberty will be the richer for her absence.)

This contemptible "Oh, just one more is fine, if they use the loot wisely" garbage is exactly the kind of betrayal-of-principle that has built this multi-trillion-dollar deficit; that's turned our government into this vast, bloated, slobbering leviathan pig on both Federal and State levels; that has placed America and the world on the brink of worldwide totalitarian serfdom under "Agenda 21"; that has enabled the veritable avalanche of bans, regulations, ordinances, restrictions, taxes, fees and permits that smother us; that have enabled alarming attacks on the very fabric of our Constitution; that has enabled the willful vandalism of the quarter-century boom period that President Reagan placed in our care.

Here's what you can tell the self-styled "leader" Debbie Dooley of Dacula: Take your debauched betrayals and get lost. The Tea Party movement does not have "leaders" to begin with, least of all betrayers of principle like you. Your compromise on principle is precisely what we've been fighting against - which makes you just another enemy of the Tea Party and its principles. Familiarize yourself with the term "RINO." It's your identity, and identity is important.

Why are we even having this discussion?


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