Perdue: Taxes could increases, services decrease because of health care (UPDATE-3)

ATLANTA – Georgia residents might soon have to pay more in taxes and government services might have to be cut because of last night’s health care vote, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue warned today.

“This vote will force an additional billion dollars or more of Medicaid spending per year, requiring either a tax hike or offsetting cuts to public safety, education and other core services of state government,” Perdue, a Republican, said in a statement.

“While this colossal unfunded mandate cripples our budget, I am even more concerned about the debilitating impact it will have on Georgia’s small businesses,” the governor added. “The extension of the Medicare tax on all non-wage income means that small business owners will see their top rate increased by 20 percent and investment income taxes increasing 60 percent.”

The U.S. House last night passed a controversial health care bill by a vote of 219-212, and the measure now goes to President Obama for his signature. The president is expected to sign the bill on Tuesday at the earliest.

Meanwhile, at least 12 states are expected to sue the federal government over the measure, Bloomberg News reported. While a spokesman for Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker, a Democrat, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Monday, previous published reports indicate Baker likely wouldn’t join such a lawsuit.

Meanwhile, Republican members of the state’s Congressional delegation vowed to keep fighting.

“Let me be clear. This is just one skirmish in the battle over whether we will continue down the road towards a centrally-controlled government or turn around and preserve liberty,” U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., said in a news release. “It is never too late to do the right thing. And I can assure you I will continue to fight to preserve our nation’s freedom.”

According to U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Americans’ individual premiums could rise by 10-13 percent because of the bill. At the same time, the measure includes tax increases totaling $569 billion and Medicare cuts for seniors totaling $523 billion.

“Democrats cannot hide the fact that when you’re raising the type of revenues in this bill, that money is ultimately going to be paid by the consumer,” Isakson said in a news release. “Any time government raises taxes it raises the cost of living for the American people.”

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