Around Town: Tax-Pledge Tussle - Norquist, Chambliss duel on edge of fiscal cliff
by Bill Kinney and Joe Kirby
Around Town Columnists
November 27, 2012 12:56 AM | 4473 views | 4 4 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ANTI-TAX CRUSADER Grover Norquist won’t be at Saturday’s Cobb GOP Breakfast in the flesh, but he still might rate co-billing with the actual headliner of the event, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).

Chambliss and Norquist spent the holiday weekend dueling it out in the press over whether the need to raise taxes to close the federal budget deficit should outweigh Chambliss’ agreement decades ago to sign Norquist’s “no-tax” pledge. You can be sure that many in the audience will be ready to sound out the senator over his current position.

CHAMBLISS told WMAZ in Macon over the weekend, “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge. If we do it his way then we’ll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that.”

Replied Norquist, who is president of Americans for Tax Reform, “If he plans to vote for higher taxes to pay for Obama-sized government he should address the people of Georgia and let them know that he plans to break his promise to them.”

Continued Norquist, “Raising taxes on the people of Georgia to pay for Obama’s reckless spending is not the right thing to do for America or Georgia. We have a problem because Washington spends too much, not because Sen. Chambliss has failed so far to raise taxes on the hard-working men and women of Georgia.”

CHAMBLISS IS ONE OF FOUR high-profile Capitol Hill Republicans to have publicly distanced themselves from Norquist and his pledge in recent days, along with U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee and U.S. Rep. Peter King of New York. Yet to be determined is whether their move is simply a trial balloon or the beginning of a reluctant embrace by the GOP of “new revenue.”

THE MOST PROMINENT Republican to bow to Democrats’ demands for higher taxes was President George H.W. Bush. He agreed to higher taxes in 1989 a year after famously promising at the GOP Convention, “Read my lips: No new taxes!” His party got clobbered in the 1990 midterm elections as a result and anger over his broken promise helped fuel the rise of budget hawk Ross Perot in the 1992 presidential race. Perot siphoned so many votes from Bush that year that Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton was elected.

You can be sure Bush’s fate is in the back of the mind of every elected Republican these days, especially those on the national level, as the country lurches toward the “fiscal cliff.”

SATURDAY’S BREAKFAST will take place at 8:30 a.m. at the Cobb GOP Headquarters, 799 Roswell St., Marietta. For more, contact Cobb party Chair Joe Dendy at (770) 820-6545.

THE COBB LANDMARKS & HISTORICAL SOCIETY will hold its annual gala Friday on the eve of its Marietta Pilgrimage Christmas Home Tour. This year’s party takes place for the first time at First Landmark Bank. Gala co-chairs are Kelley Weiner and Angela Poston, with Cassandra Buckalew and April Wright as Pilgrimage co-chairs. For ticket info contact Cobb Landmarks or the Marietta Welcome Center. Last year’s gala took place at the Whitlock Avenue home of former Gov. Roy Barnes and First Lady Marie, and will be remembered for taking place sans lights — and heat — after a transformer blew.

WELLSTAR KENNESTONE HOSPITAL will hold its annual tree lighting from 5-6 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Cancer Center Parking Deck. Jordan Graye of B98.5 FM will emcee … Southern Polytechnic State University will hold its Holiday Open House from 5-7 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Engineering Technology Center. … The Cobb Democratic Women’s annual Holiday Party is slated for 2-6 p.m. Sunday at Brawner Hall in Smyrna. Attendees are asked to bring an unwrapped toy to be donated to a local women’s shelter. … Good Samaritan Health Center of Cobb will hold its Christmas Coffee Open House from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 5 at 1605 Roberta Drive in Marietta.

GEORGIA House Speaker David Ralston will be keynote speaker at Wednesday’s breakfast of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Marietta Chapter. The group also will present its Marietta Citizen of the Year Award that day at the Mansour Center.

MUST Ministries President and CEO Dr. Ike Reighard will be the featured speaker at the Cobb Chamber’s First Monday Breakfast Dec. 3 at the Cobb Galleria Centre. Also that morning the Cobb Chamber and Georgia Trend magazine will present the Sam Olens Business Community Service Awards.

CHARLES SWITZER has decided it’s time to “put the book back on the shelf” after 30 years’ service on the Cobb Library System’s Board of Trustees. Switzer, the county’s longest-serving volunteer board appointee, has chaired the Library Board since 1999 and will be the recipient of a proclamation at today’s Cobb Board of Commissioners’ meeting.

Switzer grew up in south Cobb, graduated from the former Fitzhugh Lee High School in Oakdale, holds degrees from Georgia Tech and Southern Poly, worked for Lockheed and is a retired lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve.

Highlights of Switzer’s service include helping persuade the public to approve a bond referendum in 1986 to build a new central library on Roswell Street, three new branch libraries and expand two others. His years on the board also saw the opening of the Central Library in 1989 and the opening of regional libraries in east Cobb (1990), west Cobb (2002) and south Cobb (2005).

COBB LIFE magazine’s December issue will be inserted into Sunday’s MDJ with a centerpiece story on Cobb family recipes that have been passed from generation to generation. Other features in the issue include a profile on Marietta native and former NBA star Dale Ellis.

THE ANNUAL Wreaths Across America ceremony is slated for Marietta at noon Dec. 15 and this year will encompass not just the Marietta National Cemetery but the Confederate Cemetery in Marietta as well, reports local liaison Mary Lou Cagle.

Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun in 1992. Wreath-laying ceremonies are coordinated at veterans’ and other cemeteries in all 50 states and overseas. The program is organized on a volunteer basis. Wreaths are $15 each.

“It is a wonderful thing and when I attended for the first time I was really touched but disappointed that there were not many people there,” Cagle told Around Town.

Volunteer Location Leader for the National Cemetery Maj. Paige Joyner can be reached at (678) 570-5422

or Contact location leader for the Confederate Cemetery Col. Houston Spencer Jr. at (770) 419-7153 or

NEW Cobb Superior Court Clerk Rebecca Keaton will be sworn in at 2 p.m. Dec. 12 in the Ceremonial Courtroom at the new Cobb Superior Court Building, with reception to follow in the Jury Assembly Room. …

Cobb District Attorney-elect Vic Reynolds will host a “Cancel the Debt” reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Marietta Hilton. RSVP to Haley McConaghy Woods at

HOLIDAY PARADE: Babe Atkins Byrne enjoyed a “Parade of Roses” of her very own last week to honor her upon her retirement after 34 years at the Cobb Courthouse, much of that as judicial administrative assistant to Cobb Superior Court Judge George Kreeger, who retired this fall as well.

Friends and co-workers took turns delivering single red roses to Babe at 15 minute intervals throughout her final day, Nov. 20, on the suggestion of State Court Clerk Diane Webb.

The first rose was delivered by Judge Kreeger and the final one by her husband, former Cobb Commission Chairman Bill Byrne

Comments-icon Post a Comment
November 29, 2012
Chambliss has my support. It is well past time to deal with a deficit that grew under tax during war that added to the debt we are now struggling to cover. Raise the taxes on those making $250k or more. And make changes in some of the tax breaks we all get - like the tax break for interest on the purchase of a home. Rather than totally get rid of it, phase it in so that those who bought a home counting on a tax break to make those payments aren't thrown for a loop. Means test it or place a limit on it.
Tom Sukalac
November 27, 2012
I hope Grover gives him a good shove. Saxby has been working on becoming a "STATESMAN" at the expense of his constiuents. Have you ever asked Chamblis a question via email? Generally the response has nothing to do with the question.
Kennesaw Resident
November 28, 2012
Exactly. I suggested that Medicare Part B deductibles be raised to $400 annually and got back an e-mail response that talked about how much he supported Medicare. Nothing to do with my suggestion for entitlement reform! This tells me that he is not interested in entitlement reform at all.
Cobb Taxpayer
November 27, 2012
Chambliss voted for most of that debt, especially Medicare Part D. Now he is willing to raise taxes to pay for this centrally planned (communistic) entitlement program and the unfunded war in Iraq which was unnecessary. Chambliss needs to go!
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