The Jolt: Jon Ossoff weighs in on Biden tax hikes: “We will have to raise some revenues”

News and analysis from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff headed to the Q CELLS solar manufacturing plant in Dalton Monday to tour the facility, the largest of its kind in the Western hemisphere, and to signal his support for the massive infrastructure package that President Joe Biden pitched last week during a trip to Georgia.

Ossoff called the proposal “a generational opportunity to invest in jobs here in Georgia and clean energy production.”

But Biden’s new programs would come with a hefty $2 trillion-plus price tag, which the president said he’ll pay for with a tax hike on the wealthiest Americans, as well as large corporations, some of which pay no taxes at all.

The president’s proposal won’t have a chance of passage without the support of Ossoff and all his fellow Democratic senators, so we asked him about the tax piece specifically.

“We will have to raise some revenues to responsibly finance this kind of investment in infrastructure and in the clean energy sector,” he said. “And broadly speaking, I agree with the President that we should not be raising taxes on working class and middle class people.”

Ossoff also floated the idea of “lowering costs with tax credits” to incentivize specific manufacturing sectors and cutting some individual taxes.

“Whatever measures we wind up taking up in the Senate to raise some revenues to support investment in infrastructure, it’s important to me and consistent with the vision the President’s laying out that working class and middle class people, if anything, see their tax burden, reduced by whatever policy we pass.”

Without specific legislative language in the Senate, senators can’t say specifically what they’ll ultimately vote for. But now is the time for senators, especially those whom the White House has its eyes on, to lay out their own priorities for what’s ahead.


Georgia’s new election law has already been targeted with a half-dozen federal lawsuits. Late Monday, we got a glimpse of how the state attorney will defend the overhaul -- and who will lead the defense.

In a 28-page filing in response to a lawsuit from the New Georgia Project, Attorney General Chris Carr contended that Georgia remains in the “top tier” in voting access, that the law amounts to “a handful of—at best—minimally burdensome changes” and that there’s no evidence of “causal link between race and any of the specific practices they challenge as a burden.”

The state argues in conclusion: “This court should allow Georgia to do what the Constitution specifically allows it to do — regulate its own elections — and this court should dismiss this case.”

The attorneys listed in the defense for the state, along with Carr, are Bryan Tyson, Bryan Jacoutot, and Loree Anne Paradise with the Atlanta law firm Taylor English Duma.

All three attorneys came under scrutiny in November for a possible conflict of interest when they represented the Trump campaign in the former president’s legal challenge of the Georgia election results.

The same lawyers were simultaneously defending the integrity of the state’s voting equipment in a separate lawsuit. From the AJC’s reporting in November:

The dual representation of both the president's campaign and the Georgia secretary of state's office raises questions about potential conflicts of interest.

Attorneys aren't allowed to represent a client if there's a “significant risk" of adversely affecting another client, according to rules of the State Bar of Georgia. The maximum penalty is disbarment….

“There is no conflict that exists between providing advice to a campaign about Georgia law and representing government officials who are carrying out those same laws," said Molly Metz, a spokeswoman for Taylor English Duma.

- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


The Georgia political chattering class went into overdrive yesterday after state Sen. Burt Jones, R-Jackson, posted a picture of himself and his (uber-wealthy) father flanking former President Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago.

“Good to see the President this morning at his home in Palm Beach,” Jones wrote about the former president.

The middle Georgia Republican has been rumored all year as a likely candidate for multiple statewide offices -- U.S. Senate, governor and lieutenant governor -- and with Trump’s endorsement he would have an automatic boost in fundraising, visibility and grassroots support.

Jones’ allies say he was kicking the tires on a challenge to Gov. Brian Kemp a few weeks ago. But with Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan expected to step aside next year, other Republicans see him far more likely to run for an open seat.

Jones has been among Trump’s strongest allies in the state Senate and saw Duncan strip his committee chairmanship after Jones joined the Texas lawsuit to overturn Georgia’s election results in 2020.


Gov. Brian Kemp is set to sign legislation before Monday’s veto deadline that would repeal parts of a citizen’s arrest law that dates back to the Civil War. The measure was a bipartisan priority after the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, when local prosecutors wrongly used the existing statue to justify the killing.

Here’s what Kemp said about why he supports the overhaul:

“We’re a state that’s too busy to hate, and we don’t need modern-day vigilantism. We did it in a way that continues to protect peoples’ right to protect themselves, their property and their person, but it also isn’t going to allow people to be hunted down in the middle of a public street somewhere. And being the first state in the country to do that, says a lot about our state. "


Politico writes about the Democrats’ heavy lift on passing voting rights legislation, with U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock playing a lead role pushing the measure forward.

“We know we’ve got to pass voting rights,” Warnock told Politico. “We ought to have 10 Republicans ... in that sense the ball is in their court. I’m not saying the outcome is in their court.”


House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy is making a bee-line to Cobb County to join the other GOP lawmakers criticizing the “cancel culture” that led Major League Baseball to pull the All-Star game in protest of the election law.

He’ll tour small businesses with U.S. Reps. Barry Loudermilk and Drew Ferguson, who both represent parts of west Georgia. They’ll also hear from community leaders “adversely impacted by the Left’s continued assault on small businesses.”

One question we have: Did he invite Gov. Brian Kemp along for the ride?


The U.S. Senate confirmation process has begun for another Georgia native serving in the Biden-Harris Administration. Andrew Light, who grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Mercer University, is in line to become an assistant secretary in the Department of Energy, where he’ll lead the office of international affairs.

During the Obama years, Light was a climate change adviser and helped contribute to the Paris Agreement.


Augusta’s chief judge, Carl C. Brown, Jr., will step down rather than face disciplinary proceedings, the Augusta Chronicle’s Sandy Hodson reports. More:

Brown, 72, will remain in office until June 30, which will be the last day that the Augusta Judicial Circuit remains intact, pending a legal challenge to the circuit's split. However, the agreement requires Brown to relinquish all administrative and supervisory authority over the courts immediately.

Brown has been the chief judge of the Superior Courts in Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties since 2016.

Complaints against the chief judge were filed with the Judicial Qualification Commission concerned three areas: nepotism and favoritism over juvenile court matters, trying to improperly influence the appointment of assistant magistrate judges in Burke County and inserting himself improperly in the plea negotiation process.

- The Augusta Chronicle


The leader of Georgia’s chapter of a prominent advocacy group for Muslim Americans has been asked to move to Florida and take the helm of a sister chapter that’s been swamped by scandal.

NPR has a full report, but in a nutshell Hassan Shibly, executive director of Florida’s chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, faces accusations of sexual harassment, abuse and even a secret marriage.

The national office decided to replace Shibly with Abdullah Jaber, who until recently served as the executive director of CAIR Georgia. Murtaza Khwaja, the chapter’s legal and policy director, has been promoted to executive director.


Russel Read has moved on from his job as U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde’s chief spokesman to a similar job with U.S. Rep. Scott Franklin of Florida.


Before President Joe Biden appeared in Gwinnett County last week, he stopped by Plains to see his old pal, former President Jimmy Carter.

The Carter Center released a photo of the President and First Lady with the former President and First Lady, who looked to be having tea and a good time all around.