Friday, July 3, 2009

Have we Outsmarted the Founding Fathers?

Our founding fathers who gave us the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were smart people. But guess what--they did not create the infamous federal income tax. It took an amendment to their hallowed document to allow a system of progressive taxation withholding income at the source. How did we get so off track?

First initiated by Lincoln during the Civil War, the Congress passed the 16th Amendment in 1913 making the income tax permanent. One has to wonder how an entire nation can be lured into taking such action. But if that wasn't bad enough, individual states begin to follow the lead of their federal government. States like Georgia and many others adopted their own income tax to keep themselves afloat. Add to these taxes the gas tax, the car tax, the property tax, the sin tax-and people wake up one day and find themselves working more for the good of the government's good than for the good of their family. Not all states caved to this pressure though. The boarder states of Florida and Tennessee have no income tax. Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming have resisted as well.

The good news for us in Georgia is that it is not too late to make a change. With the right leadership under the gold dome, Georgia could eliminate its income tax and create an entirely new tax system -a system more like our founding fathers implemented. Our neighbors in Florida have certainly made this work, and I think we can too. Imagine Georgia becoming a magnet for retirees because of such bold leadership. Imagine the economic impact of more money in the pocket of Georgia's citizens and businesses. Such a move requires vision, courage and political fortitude from leaders-and tremendous public pressure from the citizenry. I personally believe Georgia is ripe for this change and I urge you to join me in this call.

John Oxendine is the State Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner and is running for Governor. Reach him at with your comments about Georgia's income tax or other concerns.

John Oxendine
Governor 2010

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