Kyle Wingfield blog posts

Opinion: Deal, legislators get it right with latest tax-reform proposal

Opinion: Deal, legislators get it right with latest tax-reform proposal

Well, they did it. After going back and forth about how to address a projected $1 billion-per-year increase to state coffers from the federal tax reform, Georgia’s top lawmakers said Tuesday they will do the right thing and cut the top income-tax rate. The announcement was made by Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Speaker David Ralston, with a host of House and Senate members at their...
Opinion: A different kind of waiting period when it comes to guns and mass shootings

Opinion: A different kind of waiting period when it comes to guns and mass shootings

It has been five days since the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and so my self-imposed restriction on posting about it has now expired. Now, to those of you who demanded we talk about it on this blog, let’s talk. Let’s start with why I waited five days to write about it. It’s of a piece with my other policy about these shootings, which...
Opinion: Why Georgia Republicans changed their minds about transit

Opinion: Why Georgia Republicans changed their minds about transit

A guy from Blue Ridge, a guy from Dawsonville, a guy from East Cobb, a woman from Johns Creek and a woman from Dacula walk into a bar — I mean, a press briefing — to talk about a bill. They’re all Republicans. Care to guess what the bill’s about?  If you guessed “expanding mass transit,” you deserve an extra cookie for dessert. And a trip down memory lane to...
Opinion: Georgia must get tax-reform basics right the first time

Opinion: Georgia must get tax-reform basics right the first time

A great deal of GOP orthodoxy has been challenged over the past couple of years: on the merits of free trade, on the value of international alliances such as NATO, and on the urgency of taming federal deficits and debt, among other things.  But one constant, at least, has remained. The income tax should err on the side of being simple rather than complicated, broad-based rather than riddled with...
Opinion: State should take advantage of opportunity federal tax reform presents

Opinion: State should take advantage of opportunity federal tax reform presents

“It’s now or never” is a phrase one should be wary of applying to legislation. Even more so than with perennially close-but-no-cigar sports teams — and, sadly, we have plenty of those locally — “there’s always next year” more befits bills that face long odds at the present time.  But I may have found an exception. While it’s not quite &ldquo...
Opinion: Congress keeps the lights on by passing a bloated mess

Opinion: Congress keeps the lights on by passing a bloated mess

I was tempted this morning to declare the death of the tea party (2009-2018) after the spending bonanza Congress approved in the wee hours of Friday. But given that 67 Republicans in the House and 16 in the Senate voted against the bill, perhaps “death” is a bit overstated. It might be more accurate to say those who still opt for fiscal restraint are wandering the wilderness even...
Opinion: The first thing Atlanta needs to do for housing affordability

Opinion: The first thing Atlanta needs to do for housing affordability

Atlanta has a problem with housing affordability, as most everyone seems to recognize. The city’s new mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, even campaigned on spending $1 billion to address the problem.  A fat lot of good even that large a sum will do, though, if the biggest threat to homeowners’ finances isn’t solved in a very real way.  Recall last summer, when homeowners across...
Opinion: Senate’s objections to adoption bill don’t withstand scrutiny

Opinion: Senate’s objections to adoption bill don’t withstand scrutiny

I never like to start an argument by assuming bad intentions on someone else’s part. So I take state senators at their word when they say they worry allowing more adoptive parents to cover certain living expenses for birth mothers will drive up the cost of adoptions.  I just think they’re wrong. The bill that has loomed over this session so far — and was destined to do so since...
Opinion: What ‘the memo’ tells us (and doesn’t tell us) about FBI and Trump

Opinion: What ‘the memo’ tells us (and doesn’t tell us) about FBI and Trump

We now have “the memo.” Click here to read it, not that I expect it to change a single person’s mind about anything.  The biggest claims in the document -- which was created by Rep. Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and released Friday after President Trump declassified the information within it -- basically boil down to this: The Justice Department...
Opinion: Giving SOTU credit where SOTU credit is due

Opinion: Giving SOTU credit where SOTU credit is due

It’s become fashionable in some quarters to pine for the days, long ago, when the State of the Union was a written document the president delivered to the Congress once a year rather than the seemingly-made-for-TV spectacle it has become. There are basically two types of people who make these calls: partisan opponents of the president who resent the rhetorical opportunity the SOTU provides,...
Opinion: Which Trump will show up for the State of the Union?

Opinion: Which Trump will show up for the State of the Union?

The overwrought ritual known as the State of the Union address revisits us tonight. The link between presidential pronouncements in this annual speech and actual policy-making afterward has grown tenuous in recent years, because of partisan bickering as well as intraparty disagreements. Still, given the way the national narrative continues to be set in large part by the president, whoever he is at...
Opinion: If this school-choice bill won’t pass, perhaps nothing will

Opinion: If this school-choice bill won’t pass, perhaps nothing will

School-choice proponents have honed their arguments in recent years, taking their opponents’ objections and, where possible, addressing them in the bills they propose. The evolution continues with the latest measure to appear under the Gold Dome.  But here’s the money question: Will it matter? House Bill 482 by Rep. Wes Cantrell, R-Woodstock, is probably the most bulletproof piece...
Opinion: If it’s worth doing to attract Amazon, isn’t it just worth doing?

Opinion: If it’s worth doing to attract Amazon, isn’t it just worth doing?

Amazon last week eliminated 218 cities from its HQ2 sweepstakes, and Atlanta wasn’t one of them. Instead, Atlanta made the 20-city “short list” of candidates still in the hunt for a $5 billion investment and 50,000 high-paying jobs. Celebration is not only premature but a bit unseemly. There’s a long way to go, and it would have been shocking had Atlanta not made this cut....
Opinion: Don’t let the shutdown kill the filibuster

Opinion: Don’t let the shutdown kill the filibuster

As we await a vote scheduled for noon to end the filibuster and pass the short-term spending measure -- or else allow Senate Democrats to continue shutting down the government -- we once again hear talk that senators should kill the filibuster. Not for the first time, President Trump is making that case (via Politico):  Despite mounting frustration over the shutdown and various...
Opinion: Democrats are trying to claim credit for the impending shutdown. Let them

Opinion: Democrats are trying to claim credit for the impending shutdown. Let them

I still like to think of myself as a young-ish guy, even if I recently removed “30-something conservative” from my blog tag line. (I’m not 40 yet. But I will be soon. Stop asking when.)   But even I’m old enough to remember when refusing to fund the government because you wanted to extract unrelated policy goals from the other party was considered tantamount...
Opinion: Americans are of two minds about Trump, both of them wrong

Opinion: Americans are of two minds about Trump, both of them wrong

This week brought an update on President Donald Trump’s health from the White House physician. Trump is up 3 pounds from his last check-up but his “overall health is excellent,” said Navy doctor Ronny Jackson. He added that, at Trump’s request, he’d administered a cognitive screening test and confirmed, contrary to perceptions in some quarters, the president is not...
Opinion: Is an immigration deal close, despite Trump?

Opinion: Is an immigration deal close, despite Trump?

This is the time of year when I have both eyes on the state’s business under the Gold Dome and maybe half an ear attuned to what’s going on in Washington. (It’s a neat trick: Stare straight ahead at the computer screen, think about your ear until it sort of twists and rises up, and ... LOL, you really tried it, didn’t you? Be honest, now ...)  In any case, I gather there&rsquo...
Opinion: On presidential visits to ballgames and long security lines

Opinion: On presidential visits to ballgames and long security lines

I was there in the security line Monday night outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium -- a.k.a., the site of the Atlanta/Georgia Sports Curse Vol. LXVII -- when the frustration began to mount, for me and everyone around me. I spent a solid hour in the cold and light rain being pushed and pressed toward the metal detectors and Secret Service screeners, and I heard about many others whose ordeals were even...
Opinion: How this session starts will tell us much about how it ends

Opinion: How this session starts will tell us much about how it ends

Legislative sessions have a particular rhythm. They start slowly, then pick up the pace as more bills are filed and vetted by committees. There’s a rush to the first deadline, Crossover Day. Then a short breather, and an even more furious sprint to the Day 40 finish. At the end there may be suspense. There are sometimes surprises, and often disappointments. But there are no cliffhangers. When...
Opinion: Why the economy could be GOP's saving grace in 2018

Opinion: Why the economy could be GOP's saving grace in 2018

It’s always tempting to look ahead to the next elections, and the results from November’s contests in New Jersey and Virginia, and special elections in Georgia and elsewhere, have our Democratic friends licking their chops about this fall’s midterms. They’re right to be optimistic. Midterm elections are always difficult for new presidents, and the...
Opinion: The electoral map is still growing redder, but not as quickly

Opinion: The electoral map is still growing redder, but not as quickly

The 2020 census, and the reapportionment of congressional seats that takes place afterward, may seem far off. But control of the state legislatures and governor's offices that redraw the lines is up for grabs this November in many states, including Georgia. With so much on the line, it's not too early to peek at what may happen. All the more so after the Census Bureau late last month ...
Opinion: Orrin Hatch to retire; enter Sen. Mitt Romney?

Opinion: Orrin Hatch to retire; enter Sen. Mitt Romney?

Seven terms in the U.S. Senate will be all for Utah's Orrin Hatch, who said Tuesday he will not seek re-election this fall. If only he'd made the announcement a couple of weeks ago. Hatch has denied repeated retirement rumors over the past several months, leading the Salt Lake Tribune to blast him last week in an editorial naming him its "Utahn of the Year."...
Opinion: Welcome to 2018, which is starting off right

Opinion: Welcome to 2018, which is starting off right

Remember what I said about 2018 needing to be better than 2017? So far, so good . Georgia defender John Atkins celebrates beating Oklahoma 54-48 during double overtime in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game on Monday, January 1. (AJC Photo / Curtis Compton) Yes, I am back. My...
Opinion: Hurry up and get here, 2018

Opinion: Hurry up and get here, 2018

2017 is all but over and, as of this writing, the world has not ended. Given the many dire predictions made this time last year, as Donald Trump was preparing to enter the White House, that’s no mean achievement. Life as we know it — the shared, American consciousness — definitely changed this past year, perhaps forever. Whether for good or ill depends on your perspective, though...
Opinion: Why joy in politics is in such short supply

Opinion: Why joy in politics is in such short supply

Joy to the world. Please. I realize the entire world is not the political one, but in those precincts there is precious little mirth these days. The happy warrior is an endangered species. This joylessness is more a feature of those obsessed with politics than of actual practitioners. Social media and comment threads, marches and public hearings — these are meeting places for those who thrive...
Opinion: What you didn't know about tax reform and 'the rich'

Opinion: What you didn't know about tax reform and 'the rich'

The tax-reform bill cleared the House Tuesday afternoon and is expected to be taken up by the Senate soon (though it appears the House will have to re-vote on it after the Senate, for technical reasons). As it marches on toward becoming law, two refrains won't go away: first, that the bill is skewed in favor of "the rich"; and second, that it is unpopular. The...
Opinion: Tax reform is coming, and here's the best part

Opinion: Tax reform is coming, and here's the best part

The House is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the final version of tax reform , and the bill seems all but certain to land on President Trump's desk by the end of the week. So it's time to take stock of what this bill has become . Let's start with the corporate side, which is the only part of this bill that we might reasonably expect to create some...
Opinion: A substantive effort to boost ailing rural Georgia

Opinion: A substantive effort to boost ailing rural Georgia

MILLEDGEVILLE — Almost 150 years have passed since the seat of Georgia’s government left this city built for the purpose. It only feels that long since the rest of the state had as much influence and prosperity as Milledgeville’s replacement, a future metropolis called Atlanta. Injecting new life into far-flung communities long in decline has been the mission of a...
Opinion: What does their Alabama win mean for Democrats in 2018?

Opinion: What does their Alabama win mean for Democrats in 2018?

We now have an answer to the question, what does it take for the Republicans to lose in a deep-red state like Alabama? But be careful, because it's a longer answer than you might expect. Start with a special election to replace a senator (who seems to be in constant danger of being fired from his new job). Add an interim replacement whose appointment came amid somewhat sketchy circumstances. Mix in...
Opinion: Wild Alabama Senate race offers one last twist before the end

Opinion: Wild Alabama Senate race offers one last twist before the end

Here is your weird, no-one-knows-which-end-is-up news of the day (so far), in two headlines: 1.  Roy Moore takes biggest lead in weeks over Doug Jones in new Senate poll 2.  Fox News Poll: Enthused Democrats give Jones lead over Moore in Alabama That's right. This morning, we got one poll that shows Moore -- the Republican who has been credibly...
Opinion: A day of reckoning coming to Congress?

Opinion: A day of reckoning coming to Congress?

Al Franken's announcement Thursday that he will resign from the Senate may not be the beginning of the end of the story of powerful elected officials in Washington brought down by their bad behavior. It might not even be the end of the beginning. The Minnesota Democrat finally stepped down after another woman alleged he'd forcibly tried to kiss her ...
Opinion: An example for Atlanta's new mayor to follow

Opinion: An example for Atlanta's new mayor to follow

A departing administration stained by corruption charges. Campaign issues such as inadequate infrastructure, police shortages, and gentrification’s effect on housing prices. A candidate who’s cozy — maybe too cozy — with the city’s political establishment; who’s dogged by questions about personal tax liens in her personal life; who resorts to accusing her opponent...
Opinion: Dealing with the good and the bad of our falling icons

Opinion: Dealing with the good and the bad of our falling icons

We spent the late summer talking about monuments to dead men, and whether we should tear them down. We’ve spent the fall tearing down the living. Unlike the statues in our parks, the men (they’re all men) being felled by accusations of sexual harassment and/or assault over the past two months are able to speak up for themselves. In most cases, they haven’t really tried. What&rsquo...
Opinion: What Michael Flynn's guilty plea does and doesn't tell us

Opinion: What Michael Flynn's guilty plea does and doesn't tell us

A lot of people spent their morning trying to figure out the larger meaning of this (via the AJC ): Let's try to sort out a few things. First, Flynn is the highest-profile figure so far to plead guilty in Robert Mueller's investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. So it's natural to think his guilty plea and related...
Opinion: Why Mary Norwood is the clear choice for Atlanta mayor

Opinion: Why Mary Norwood is the clear choice for Atlanta mayor

The sprawling field of candidates to be Atlanta’s next mayor produced a splintered electorate . Forty-seven percent voted for one of the candidates in next week’s run-off; 53 percent didn’t. Forty-nine percent voted for a white candidate, 51 percent for a black candidate. One divide was more decisive: Twenty-six percent voted for Mayor Kasim Reed&rsquo...
Opinion: No, Senate Republicans aren't raising taxes on the poor

Opinion: No, Senate Republicans aren't raising taxes on the poor

It seems the latest talking point from the left about GOP tax-reform efforts, specifically the Senate version of the bill, is that it will actually raise taxes on the poor. This is a perfect example of how to use partial information, flawed modeling and deceptive rhetoric to create a false narrative. The basis of this claim is a score of the bill by the Congressional Budget...
Opinion: Who's afraid of the big, bad 'establishment'?

Opinion: Who's afraid of the big, bad 'establishment'?

We’re now six months away from picking party nominees for Georgia’s statewide offices. Most voters probably aren’t paying much attention to the campaigns yet, but some themes are starting to emerge. One theme is a staple of contemporary election cycles, particularly on the Republican side: What is really needed, some candidate says in seemingly every race, is someone who will fight...
Opinion: A humble suggestion to improve our politics

Opinion: A humble suggestion to improve our politics

Angels do not govern men, a fact we face more and more often. The U.S. Senate this week alone featured one member who may face an ethics investigation (Robert Menendez of New Jersey, whose corruption case ended in a mistrial ), one member who asked for an ethics investigation into himself (Al Franken of Minnesota...
Opinion: Tax reform clears a major hurdle, faces another

Opinion: Tax reform clears a major hurdle, faces another

Big news out of the U.S. House just now: That's a more comfortable margin than the razor-thin, 217-213 vote by which the House passed its Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill in the spring. Just 13 Republicans ended up opposing the bill . There were fears of more defections -- more than twice that many House Republicans come from the high-tax states of California, New Jersey...
Opinion: Roy Moore and the 'binary choice'

Opinion: Roy Moore and the 'binary choice'

Harvey Weinstein should've run for president, or at least Congress. Let me explain. Weinstein is by most accounts a despicable man, a Hollywood mogul who stands accused by a slew of women of using his position of power to get away with sexually harassing or assaulting them over the years. He has no business running doughnuts from the pastry shop to the green room, much...
Opinion: The Georgia GOP's real problem going into 2018

Opinion: The Georgia GOP's real problem going into 2018

A special election — actually, three of them — finally went Democrats’ way in Georgia. After the bonfire of the punditries that was their expensive bust in the 6th Congressional District, these successes are heralded as the omen of a blue restoration in state government. Republicans are right to be concerned about 2018, but...
Opinion: Damaging allegations hit Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore

Opinion: Damaging allegations hit Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore

In a December runoff, I guess you get November surprises. This certainly qualifies as one. The Washington Post is reporting Roy Moore, the longtime social-conservative politician and current U.S. Senate candidate from Alabama, had inappropriate contact with four teenage girls when he was in his early 30s. Moore is now 70 years old, so these incidents took place almost four decades ago...
Opinion: The big takeaways from 2017 elections aren't good for GOP

Opinion: The big takeaways from 2017 elections aren't good for GOP

We'll get to the meaning of the local races later, but first let's do what I said yesterday we should be wary of doing: Looking at the results from a Republicans vs. Democrats perspective. Why the change of heart? The magnitude of the results. There is no good news here for Republicans. None. They lost a pair of state House seats in which just a year ago Democrats didn't...
Opinion: Today's elections more about ethics, taxes than R's and D's

Opinion: Today's elections more about ethics, taxes than R's and D's

It's Election Day , not that most voters will notice. We can expect poor turnout to elect folks to offices that, while not always staples of headlines or dinner-party conversations, often have the largest direct effect on our everyday lives. Locally, we can expect a runoff at least for Atlanta's mayor , who first and foremost will be called on...
Opinion: How Congress could push Georgia's tax rates lower

Opinion: How Congress could push Georgia's tax rates lower

Republicans unveiled their long-awaited federal tax-reform bill last week. There’s much work left to do, but it gets the ball rolling on one of the GOP’s last chances to enact a major piece of legislation before next year’s midterm elections. It should also give renewed momentum to an update of Georgia’s tax code. If you think the Reagan tax reform...
Opinion: First impression of tax-reform bill? It's a good one

Opinion: First impression of tax-reform bill? It's a good one

Here are some initial thoughts about the tax-reform bill House GOP leaders unveiled Thursday : 1. It's immediate and permanent: There are a few exceptions, but for the most part the big changes in this bill take effect immediately and have no expiration date. There's no phase-in (nor do the changes apply retroactively, i.e. to the 2017 tax year)...
Opinion: Tax reform needs less SALT, more of a spur to save

Opinion: Tax reform needs less SALT, more of a spur to save

Today was supposed to be the day House Republicans unveiled their tax-reform bill. Instead, the roll-out has been delayed until (at least) Thursday. There seem to be two major hang-ups, one that the GOP should push past and one where lawmakers should tread extremely carefully. The deduction for paying state and local taxes, often abbreviated as SALT, is one where Republicans need to bite the bullet...
Opinion: Two (maybe three) big developments in Mueller's probe

Opinion: Two (maybe three) big developments in Mueller's probe

A man who led the Trump campaign for part of 2016 surrendered himself Monday on charges that include conspiracy against the United States. And that was the relatively good news about the president's (former) men. Paul Manafort and a former business associate, Richard Gates, are charged with failing to register or report income from their work as lobbyists for the government...
More Stories