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Powerful GOP Senator opposes transportation sales tax

7:30 PM, Jul 9, 2012   |    comments
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Sen. Chip Rogers (Courtesy senatorchiprogers.com)

ATLANTA -- One of the most powerful politicians under Georgia's gold dome has come out against the July 31 transportation sales tax vote.

State Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) helped push through the bill authorizing the referendum in the legislature.

He personally voted for it twice.

RELATED | Atlanta's sports teams go to bat for transportation tax

But at a State Capitol news conference Monday morning, Rogers joined with an anti-transportation tax group urging voters to reject the tax.

Rogers said he supports improving transportation through sales taxes, but he objects to the list of approved projects that would benefit from this specific vote.

The conservative GOP lawmaker claimed many of the projects approved by roundtables of local officials after the bill passed will do nothing to relieve congestion and will burden taxpayers for years to come.

He urged voters to reject the pre-approved project list, saying lawmakers can still come back in two years to create a better list.

"I believe we can go back to the table and we can fix this problem and do it right," Sen. Rogers said.

"People in Atlanta and Georgia want to solve the traffic congestion problem, but that's what they want to solve; this list and what is being put before the voters on July 31st will not, in fact, solve that," he insisted. 

The President and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce praised Sen. Rogers for his support of business.

But he criticized him for turning against the transportation tax vote.

"To go back at this point and to say, 'I don't like the list' is a little revisionist," Chris Clark told 11 Alive News.

"What we're encouraging people to do is look at those lists; if they make a difference in your community, if they make a difference in your commute or your opportunity to get a job, then support this and vote favorably for it," Clark added.

RELATED | Early voting starts Monday for July 31 primary

Sen. Rogers faces a tough reelection contest himself in the July 31st Primary with opposition from fellow Republican Brandon Beach, head of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Georgia Transportation Board.

While Rogers has criticized the transportation tax project list at some campaign appearances in his district, Monday's news conference was his first major announcement against it.

Fellow Republicans Governor Nathan Deal and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle support the tax.

(Associated Press)

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