For the past two weeks, the Georgia state legislature has taken a working recess to address our budget crisis. At issue are both the FY 2010 amended and the FY 2011 general budgets.
The crowd gathered behind barricades in barely contained anticipation - and in some cases adoration - Tuesday prior to President Barack Obama's arrival at Savannah Technical College reminded me of Beatle-mania way back in the 1960s, when four charismatic musicians from Manchester, England, forever changed America's rock music scene.
Editor's note: State Rep. David Casas, R-Lilburn helped write this column.
The budget was the focal point and our top priority last week. Although the General Assembly was not in session, our time consisted of attending and giving input during the subcommittee meetings of the Appropriations Committee.
I am up to my gizzard with our governor and Legislature and assorted bureaucrats stomping around in public education with little regard for the consequences of their actions. Example: One school system in the state has been considering allowing the police to bring Tasers into the schools to quell unruly students.
Editor's note: Carter (R- Pooler) is reporting each week during the Legislative Session. The session began Jan. 11, and is expected to last until the latter days of March.
The Georgia General Assembly adjourned last Thursday, after day 20 of the 2010 legislative session. The Assembly has decided to take a two-week break from the legislative session to work on the daunting task of balancing the Fiscal Year 2011 budget.
The body is a little frail and he walks with a cane but the man still has the look of a warrior. His name is Charles Ector. He experienced the uglier side of society and with dignity and determination took prejudice head on.
The House and the state Senate voted Thursday to adjourn the current legislative session until March 8 to allow Appropriations Committee members to work full-time over the next two weeks on the budget proposal for fiscal year 2011, which begins July 1.
A majority of the House of Representatives Thursday approved an amended state budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2010. Overall state spending is reduced by $1.2 billion to reflect that state revenues have declined for 14 consecutive months.
Day 14 (Feb. 8): As we head back into session today, we are greeted with the disappointing news. The January revenues are down 8.7 percent over those in January 2009. Combined with the losses from a year ago, this means January revenues are a whopping 23 percent lower than January 2008. More importantly, the governor's proposed amended FY10 budget called for a $1.44 billion shortfall with the expectation that the remaining six months revenues would be flat.
While you and I have been tending to the mundane matters of life like filing our taxes and paying our bills, members of the General Assembly have been watching too many science fiction movies.
The U.S. Constitution begins with arguably the most powerful words in the English language, "We the People" not "we the government."
Whenever this world starts looking too complicated, I call my friend Skeeter Skates, owner of Skeeter's Tree Stump Removal and Plow Repair in Greater Metropolitan Pooler. Skeeter puts things into perspective.
Members of the Democratic Caucus in the Georgia House this week introduced the Transportation Jobs Development Act, a legislative solution to the transportation funding problem that has caused Georgia to fall behind other states in recent years.
Editor, Veterans, did you know that when Congress passed legislation to provide caregiver assistance to our nation's most severely disabled warriors, they instituted willful discrimination the likes of which hasn't been seen since the oppressive days of Jim Crow laws?
I'm a CEO with a GED, and I have walked in the shoes of a minimum wage worker. I know from experience that it's a tougher road today.
Not long ago, the national philosophy behind criminal-justice policy was to lock offenders away and teach them a lesson. This was popular with politicians who found that it played well before crowds, and it was popular in communities where prisons and jails created jobs. Some folks even seemed to celebrate the idea that prisons were real hellholes.
Seven or eight years ago, as our nest became empty, my wife and I began taking short road trips to destinations as far as three hours from home.
Editor, In the recent Courier article announcing Sen. Isakson's visit to Hinesville on Sept. 5, Isakson was quotes as saying, "As you may know, it takes the VA an average 478 days to make a determination on a VA claim. That's more than a year. Although there are signs of improvement, it's still taking too long."
The Woman Who Shares My Name instructed me that this week's column was to be about positive things. She says she is tired of bad news and thought you felt the same way. "Surely, you can find some positive things to write about," she said, "and temporarily take people's minds off all the terrible things going on in the world. I think your readers would appreciate that."
I've always been one of those persons who won't hire someone to do something for me if I can do it myself, such as painting my house, building a deck, building a utility barn, caring for my own lawn, installing new flooring, etc. It was just the way I was raised. And it stuck.
When I think back on the days of my youth, that time when I had the privilege of traveling on the NASCAR circuit, it would be hard to pick a lesson learned that was more important than another.
Most mornings, I spend about five minutes pulling my freshly washed hair into a ponytail. It's easy, it's efficient, and, I like to tell myself, it's even chic. When I know I'll be meeting important people or attending special events, however (like, say, the United Way annual campaign kick-off party or a chamber of commerce breakfast), I break out the products and utensils and spend an extra 20 minutes or so coaxing my locks into what I hope is a more professional-looking style.
I am superficial. I know that looks matter - when it comes to our community's appearance, that is.
Editor, I'm appalled - to say the least - at the extravagant salary paid to Liberty County School System Superintendent Dr. Valya Lee.
I'm not sure how many wilderness survival shows there are on television right now, but it appears there is some kind of obsession going on with this type of programming. And they are running the gamut from being naked in the wild to being fat in the wild. That's right, there's a show now titled "Fat Guys in The Woods." Fortunately, they keep their britches on.
• President Ronald Reagan, Jan. 30, 1984: "Exports create and sustain jobs for millions of American workers and contribute to the growth and strength of the United States economy. The Export-Import Bank contributes in a significant way to our nation's export sales."
Editor, The following is an open letter on sequestration to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, from retired U.S. Army Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, head of the Association of the United States Army:
Some of my favorite Norman Rockwell prints all have something to do with eating, but not for the reasons you might think.