How tax overhaul fell apart

E-mails show attempts to make figures match promises. With time running out, questions unanswered, leaders pulled the plug.

Hundreds of frantic e-mails sent between legislative staffers and Georgia State University economists during the final days of the General Assembly show a desperate attempt to rework the tax bill to make it match the promises of Republican leaders.

The messages show David Sjoquist, director of the GSU Fiscal Research Center, was asked to rework estimates of what the plan would do to your tax bill and the state’s revenue projections nearly 40 times in the final two weeks of the legislative session. Meanwhile, staffers in the Capitol were massaging the numbers to answer complaints from both Democrats and conservative groups that the plan would increase taxes on ordinary Georgians while cutting them for the rich.

The exchanges, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, show regular miscommunication, mistakes and frustration between the groups as time grew short to get the plan to a vote. The 11th-hour confusion about the data contributed to House leaders’ decision to pull the plug.

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