Welcome to the land of Extreme Conservatism! We allow you to think for yourself, as long as you think the way we think, act as you wish as long as you act the way we act, and fit the mold we have cast for you!
Georgia has been almost completely successful in eliminating Democrats, but mostly by spray-painting the old-guard southern Democrats with shiny, new Republican colors. They look pretty, shiny, and even smell a little better. But they are still mostly the same fiscally irrepressible wolves.
We have a neighbor to the south, Florida, which has NO INCOME TAX, and yet Georgia has it all, income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, sin taxes, yadda-yadda. We have tax problems, traffic problems, water problems, and still our elected officials return to the trough, asking the taxpayer to approve TSPLOST. The DOT spends $2B every year, but cannot seem to find enough money to fix traffic in and around Atlanta (formerly known as Terminus), the hub of commerce of the Southeast. A $.24/gallon transportation tax on fuel is 18th in the country, and much of that fuel is used on roads around Atlanta - why isn't that money being effectively, and efficiently used to build and improve roads throughout the region?
Why do I and so many others refuse to live in Atlanta, and insist on living OTP in the suburbs? Because, I like (demand) good quality schools, I like (demand) to feel safe in my home, and I refuse to live in a city run by corrupt politicians, who use tax revenue to reward those who vote for them, those who donate to their campaigns. Why do I live in Georgia? Because my parents moved here, because I graduated from KSU, because I met and married my wife, and have beautiful children here. I have roots in Georgia, it is my home. And so I must ask, I must demand that Georgia become better.
Yet, there are so many problems. Atlanta and the region suffers traffic problems, Georgia suffers unemployment and housing challenges, and offers an educational system which can only be described as tragic. So many of the problems in the Atlanta area and Georgia turtle down to tax revenue and spending. Government has consistently demonstrated an uncanny ability to spend all of the money it can collect. It doesn't matter whether one considers Federal, State, County, City - any government has proven that it can spend as much money as it can raise in tax revenue. So we must consider, is the problem that Government has so very much to do that it needs all the money it can find, or is the problem really much simpler, that government will gleefully spend every dime the taxpayer will provide, and with reckless abandon? And the answer is both. Government can always expand to spend all the revenue taxpayers provide. And well-meaning (and/or corrupt public servants) can always create new programs to spend tax revenue.
The solution must be that responsible people, elected leaders, thought leaders, taxpayers, and voters, must consider the income side of the tax equation, must consider how much tax revenue is "enough", and set hard limits. They must loudly, clearly, and firmly place these hard limits on tax revenue. The tax burden each family pays, either through the income or sales tax, property or ad valorem tax, fuel tax, alcohol or cigarette tax, fees, et cetera, must be considered.
The total tax bill for a family can be calculated as a percentage of either income, wealth (property and ad valorem), or expenses (sales, luxury and sin taxes). Whether to tax wealth, income, or expenses is a policy choice, and valid arguments can be advanced for each. Taxing wealth hurts the rich and seniors, taxing income hurts the middle-class/poor and younger taxpayers (who have yet to build wealth), and expense (sales) taxes is regressive, placing more of the tax burden on lower wealth/income individuals (wealthier, older taxpayers often consume a lower percentage of their income). Focusing on expense (sales) and wealth (property, ad valorem) taxes might allow more choice for the taxpayer (spend less, save more, and decrease your tax burden), but that mix could hazard shifting more of the tax burden onto older taxpayers. And tax policy must fairly allocate the tax burden – the challenge is to determine what is fair.
But however the tax revenue is collected, the total amount collected for state & local government should be decided judiciously, by taxpayers, and limited so that the spending is controlled. Perhaps this may seem counterintuitive to those who manage family finances. Perhaps you focus on the expense side of your budget, and when you determine that you don't have enough money, you decide to take a second job or increase your income to bridge the gap. But when the expenses are being shared by all taxpayers, making the choice to increase taxes on others (forcing them to increase their income to maintain their current position/lifestyle) forces others to pay for your spending. When you budget for your family, you must consider your income, your expenses, and you have a choice to (attempt to) increase your income should your expenses exceed income (and you are unwilling to reduce expenses).
Consider your tax burden as a section on your family budget (with several line items including income, sales, propterty, ad valorem taxes, and fees). How much are you willing to pay for all government services? How much can you afford to pay? Should the amount be a percentage of your income? or a fixed amount? It is reasonable that as a taxpayer you would want a fixed amount or a defined percentage, and you would seek to minimize that amount (much like you would want to reduce cable costs, car insurance, or reduce entertainment to fix a leaky budget).
Suppose we pick a percentage, say 9%, and say that no family should be required to pay more than 9% of income, for all state taxes. Georgia does not provide social security retirement, or defense, but state an local government does provide roads, police and fire, and education, as well as parks, and other services. If we agree that the Federal government provides defense, retirement, and retiree medical benefits, then we have a good division of responsibilities. And why should taxes take more than a 'tithe'? Want to bet that state and local government wants more than 9%? Demand that they earn their taxes.