ATLANTA – Taxes and infrastructure reform are emerging as major issues in the nation’s most expensive congressional election in history.
Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff are vying to replace Tom Price, now President Donald Trump’s secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in Atlanta’s 6th congressional district.
Back in April, 11Alive polled 900 6th district voters and asked which issue they wanted Congress to focus on next. The No. 1 topic, far and away, was tax reform.
But that's one area where the candidates – up front – don't show a lot of differences.
Both say they'll work for a simpler tax structure; both mention businesses. But Ossoff tends to focus his energy on small business, as he has in interviews with us:
"If we can achieve a reduction in corporate income tax rates for small- and medium-sized business, I think that would be a big win here in Georgia,” he said. “I want to cut wasteful spending. And I want tax reform that aggressively simplifies the tax code."
Handel has talked about more far-reaching measures, and she has maintained her desire to push a conservative platform, of which tax reform has been a major part. Here's what she said last week on the Laura Ingraham radio show.
“We’ve gotta get up every single day and be relentless about moving forward a conservative agenda for this country, every day. And if we can get 10 yards, great. If we can get 50 yards, even better."
Here’s where the candidates stand on infrastructure reform:
"Karen Handel's priorities are to stretch existing federal dollars further via streamlining or eliminating federal regulations that add years and millions to the cost of any major project, and to bring more dollars into infrastructure spending by expanding the use of public private partnerships,” said campaign spokesman Charlie Harper. “She would also like states such as Georgia to receive a higher share of their federal money returned based on the investment that we are making in local infrastructure projects."
"Jon Ossoff supports fiscally responsible investments in infrastructure that address the transportation needs of metro Atlanta, grow our economy and create jobs, and help to turn metro Atlanta into the Silicon Valley of the South,” said Ossoff spokeswoman Sacha Haworth. “The full details of the President's infrastructure plan have not been released, but Jon Ossoff would be inclined to support an infrastructure plan that meets that criteria, because Georgians deserve fresh leaders who are willing to work with anyone, not more career politicians who seek to divide Georgians along party lines."
Early voting has already begun in the election, which will be held on June 20.