If Georgia lawmakers get their way, corporations doing business in the state will get a nice tax cut and the Girl Scouts will be chipping in
to help make up the difference in the budget.
Yup. As crazy as that sounds, that's what's going on in the Peach State. In an attempt to bring more jobs to Georgia, GOP lawmakers have proposed a cut in corporate tax rates
for domestic and foreign corporations, while calling for a tax increase on gasoline and groceries.
Like most states, Georgia has a budget problem. A recent task force
that studied how to manage the shortfall recommended cutting corporate taxes. To help make up for that loss in revenue, House Bill 385 would impose a tax on nonprofit fundraising efforts, which would mean taxing the popcorn sold by the state's Boy Scouts
, as well as those Tagalongs and Samoas
that the Girl Scouts
sell every year to raise money for their leadership and community involvement programs.
The Girl Scout's slogan for the organization's annual cookie drive is "Every Cookie Has a Mission." If this new tax law is passed, that mission will, in effect, include helping the state balance its budget.
The proposed bill doesn't specifically target the goodies that neighborhood Brownies and Daisies sell, but the impact is just the same.
While policy debates are always being made about whom to tax and how to create more jobs, shifting even a portion of the tax burden to nonprofits reflects a certain tone-deafness in the name of fiscal responsibility. How could Georgia Republicans not have foreseen that their new strategy would make them look like the Grinch sneaking into Cindy Lou Who's house at Christmas and stealing the roast beast?
But there's a larger issue here than just one state's approach to its budget crisis. This move in Georgia is just the latest episode in a growing effort to change our culture through legislation. Wisconsin is pitting teachers against taxpayers with its collective bargaining saga
. In New Hampshire, some lawmakers want to stifle college-student voters because those crazy kids vote
with their hearts, not their heads. And, as Lent proceeds, Congress is investigating religion
in a way that makes me think about those so-called Salem witches.
Such efforts may seem "neutral on their face," as they say in the law, but when viewed together they create a larger picture of how those with more power treat those who have less.
As for those Scouts in Georgia, there is one leadership lesson they're learning from all this. The head of the Greater Atlanta Girl Scouts, Marilyn Midyette
, reportedly sent an e-mail encouraging parents and supporters to contact their lawmakers about the proposed shift in the state's tax laws -- but asking them to do it in a courteous and "Scout-like" way, of course.
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