• Day 21 (Monday, March 8): After a two week working recess to address our budget woes, we're back in session today and greeted with more bad news as we learn that February's revenues fell by nearly 10 percent from this time last year. Considering that February 2009 revenues were down by 34 percent from February 2008, this means that February 2010 revenues are down 44 percent from two years ago- devastating news.
The news in Georgia has gone to the birds. Literally. The latest big debate in the state isn't centered on how lawmakers are tackling the much-hyped $1 billion budget hole or even how the Atlanta Braves look at spring training. The campaign creating the most buzz isn't political in nature - it's ornithological.
In the midst of one of the worst economic crises in memory, the Georgia General Assembly has to make some extremely difficult financial decisions. I don't envy their job.
The news is not good for Georgia on the economic front. It seems sales tax revenue is down approximately 10 percent from February 2009, and last year revenue was down ... well, let's say they were way down and leave it at that for now.
April 1, 2010 is the deadline for accepting applications for homestead exemption for tax year 2010. Applications can be accepted year round but those received after April 1st will be applied to 2011 taxes. You can file at either of the two offices of the Tax Commissioner: (1) 11 North College Street in Pembroke or (2) 185 Richard Davis Drive in Richmond Hill.
As a child who wanted nothing more than to grow up and become a journalist, I used to write stories for and draw out my own homemade "newspapers" to distribute to my family on Sunday mornings at breakfast. I tried to design my publications based on what I thought each of my family members might want to read. Dad's "newspaper" was about sports and my younger sister's often featured reports on Strawberry Shortcake and her social circle.
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.
Editor, An editorial cartoon by R. McKee serves as a modern take on the old Hans Christian Anderson tale about the emperor who was swindled by to weavers who promise to make him a suit of clothes that is invisible to people who are stupid and incompetent. When the emperor and his cabinet members cannot see the clothes, they pretend to be able to see them for fear of being deemed unfit for their positions. In reality, the swindlers only pretended to make the suit and clothe the emperor. He isn't wearing anything.
Editor, Today, I was nursing Gauge, my 2-month old son, at the Dunkin' Donuts in Hinesville. I have nursed in public like this numerous times. I sat in the corner and even had my friend stand in front of me to make sure nobody saw anything. As I was leaving and getting Gauge buckled into his car seat, an employee followed me to my car and told me that from now on when I nursed in the donut shop, I needed to cover up because customers complained.
Back in 1966, Bobby Fuller sang about, "Robbin' people with a six-gun, I fought the law and the law won." And rightfully so - robbery is a crime. But what happens when it's the law doing the robbing and the law wins?
On my "to-do" list last week was a reminder to call former Gov. Carl Sanders and see if he had any thoughts on how to get the field at Sanford Stadium named for UGA's former coach and athletic director Vince Dooley. I knew he would like the idea and perhaps could jerk a few chains I seem to have been unable to rattle thus far.
I love this time of year. All the lights and decorations really can make our community look pretty. It would be wonderful if we all made that kind of effort all year long.
It started accidentally. Some good ideas and memorable moments are like that. They aren't planned. They're born, bringing with them an ability to nudge a way naturally into our lives and become a tradition.
Moms want everything and nothing at all. We want to be everywhere at once and also nowhere to be found. We want to impress everyone, handle every chore imaginable and spend every waking second bonding with our children. We also want to totally escape from life. Failure to accomplish this leads to immense guilt and, occasionally, foul moods.
Editor, In my humble opinion, the failure of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax was not a criticism of the tax, but rather of the excessive - and perhaps arrogant - spending of our tax dollars by our elected officials. The threat of the new Transportation SPLOST, another tax, was maybe another factor.
Editor, "it's gr8 dy.h.a mtg @ d mal l8r"
Editor's note: U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Georgia, and other area elected officials will contribute periodic columns during the upcoming legislative sessions. This is a report about orientation that he went through last week.
I was on St. Simons Island last week, scarfing down massive amounts of corn-fried shrimp at the exquisite little Georgia Sea Grill, when someone came to the table to inquire if Junior E. Lee had finished his analysis of the recent election. That really puffed up Junior when I told him.
Editor, Why did SPLOST fail? Just take a look at the article in Sunday's Coastal Courier: "City council looks at property-tax increase."
One afternoon, I had a hankering, a primal-like craving, for a supper of pinto beans and cornbread with a tall glass of cold, rich buttermilk thrown in for good measure and extra filling.
Typically, I use this weekly column to address parenting issues, reflect on challenges faced by (fairly) new moms and provide what I hope are amusing anecdotes that stem from daily life encounters with a toddler. This Sunday, though, I'm going to explore a topic that's more indirectly related to - but still very much a part of - child-rearing.
I really do love the holidays - but I cringe as we also approach the trashiest season of the year.