Carter “Can’t Have it Both Ways” on Education Funding

September 9, 2014

Liberal gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter loves to make brazen, baseless critiques of Republican Governor Nathan Deal without providing detailed plans on what he would do differently.

When it comes to education under Governor Deal’s leadership, Jason Carter called year-over-year increases to education funding (including this year’s increase of over half a billion dollars) a “shell game” and promised to add (as Governor) $1 billion to the budget without raising taxes on fellow Georgians.  When pressed for specifics, Carter went into hiding and hoped the media would move on to another story.

But they didn’t.  Like U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson said, ” You can’t have it both ways…You’ve got to ultimately declare what you’re going to do.”

After months of outrunning questions about his plans for funding education reform efforts in Georgia, Jason Carter eventually declared how he would add $1 billion to the budget without raising taxes or slashing state departments.

His solution? Eliminating the “giant amount of waste” in state government.

When asked for specifics, Carter was short on details.  “You see it throughout the government. Everyone knows that it’s there.”

When Georgia voters clearly rejected Carter’s half-baked plan, he moved on to Plan B: Collecting delinquent taxes.

Pointing to a January report by the Department of Audits & Accounts that includes an estimate from the Department of Revenue, Carter expects to collect $2.5 billion in delinquent taxes as governor, which he would then appropriate for education.

The Augusta Chronicle recently published an article citing problems with Carter’s tax collection scheme.  “Of the uncollected amount, nearly $2 billion is owed by individuals, and 80 percent is older than four years. The older the debt, the more likely the person owing it has moved, died or gone broke.”

Public-finance expert Thomas Lauth identified another hole in Carter’s plan.  “Delinquent-tax collection is one-time funding (unless one assumes continuing delinquency), not recurring funding,” said Lauth.  It’s no surprise that Lauth concluded that Carter’s proposal was “not a very viable” solution.

So, what is Carter’s real plan to add $1 billion in education funding to Georgia’s budget?  Higher taxes, department ending budget cuts, or just more “shell games?”  At this rate, we may never know.

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