Politics & Government

Georgia senate fails to crack down on tax delinquent members

ATLANTA — A push to give the Georgia Senate more power over members who fall behind on paying their taxes failed Thursday after a very personal speech from state Sen. Robert Brown of Macon.

Brown, also the Senate's Democratic minority leader, said he was near death and in the hospital for months in 2007. His business ran aground and tax problems followed, he said. Brown said earlier in the week that he hasn't filed state or federal income taxes in at least the past two years.

Every tax case is different, and legislators shouldn't be subject to extra rules that ordinary taxpayers aren't, Brown said Thursday. Other senators against the bill said the Georgia Department of Revenue makes too many mistakes to be relied on when trying to remove someone from office.

Brown also chastised state Sen. Eric Johnson during his speech, calling the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor a "bloodsucker" pandering to voters. It was Johnson who proposed stronger punishments – to be meted out by the Senate itself – for senators who owe back taxes.

"This is nothing but a political move by somebody who is desperately running (for office)," Brown said from the well of the Georgia Senate. "He doesn't care who he runs over."

To read the complete article, visit www.macon.com.