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.
Some important news came out of Atlanta on Monday, when Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, a Woodstock Republican, introduced what he called a "much needed" overhaul of Georgia's property tax system. In doing so, Rogers acknowledged what most homeowners have known all along: the current system is a mess.
State Senator Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, will be reporting each week during the legislative session. The session began Jan. 11 and is expected to last until the latter days of March.
In the wake of losing Teddy Kennedy's Senate seat, in an electoral rebuke for the ages, liberaldom has a new catechism. These articles of faith may seem strange and implausible to the outsider, but they give comfort to the believer in these times of trial.
In addition to the national recession, another contributing factor in Georgia's state budget deficit is the hundreds of millions of dollars foregone through a number of special-interest tax cuts and exemptions implemented over the past several years. On Jan. 25, a House subcommittee moved forward with legislation to evaluate those tax breaks' impact on the budget and their success in achieving their intended goals.
At last year's inaugural Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Savannah, a small band of women from Liberty County walked together calling themselves Team Suzie Q.
A bill in the Georgia legislature proposing a ban on using a cell phone to send text messages while driving has been sent back to the drawing board due to concerns over how it would be enforced, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported earlier this week.
What this state needs is a good old-fashioned Tea Party. Not one directed at the liberal weenies in Washington who tried to ram health care reform down our throats. This protest needs to focus on the state of Georgia.
With the 2010 session under the Gold Dome, there are many issues on the minds of lawmakers that will have a significant impact on you, your families and all of Georgia.
"We want our money back" is a battle cry you'd expect from a tea-party rally. Such lack of nuance. Such grasping materialism. Such us-vs.-them populism.
Our veterans shouldn't need an act of Congress and a presidential signature to get the Veterans Affairs healthcare system up to speed. But that's just what it took.
Whistleblowers, often revered and feared by the Obama administration, have received a special place since the 2011 initiation of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a global transparency campaign. Their prominence is justified. The OGP will become a magnet for cynicism unless there is safe cover for those who will make it work or fail - whistleblowers on the front lines of fraud, waste and abuse currently sustained through secrecy and enforced by repression.
According to the Federal Register, on Dec. 7, 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency "found" that current and projected concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations. Unfortunately, this finding and the EPA's subsequent action threaten the health and welfare of current and future generations of Georgians far more than greenhouse gases do.
Just when you thought Washington couldn't get any messier, our elected officials in the nation's capital prove it can.
Dear Georgia public-school teachers, It is new school year but, alas, the same old impediments: an out-of-touch federal bureaucracy, ideological state legislators who choose not to send their kids to public schools but intend to tell you how and what to teach, and a society that values reality television more than quality education. Sometimes, I wonder how you manage.
This week, school bells will ring and the 2014-15 academic year will begin. Some children welcome it, others don't. Parents also likely have mixed feelings about the start of another term.
How do you create positive community change? That is a good question. It is one that the national organization, Keep America Beautiful, has been fine-tuning a solution since the 1950s.
Some missing something or the other required me to prowl through closets at Mama's house. That's when I found it. I pulled it out and smiled broadly, warmed by the memories it evoked.
Editor, According to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, our water source is slowly being polluted with saltwater, and the coastal area of Georgia will have to reduce the amount of water that it pulls from the Floridan aquifer by 17 million gallons a day.
It's depressing to read poll after poll highlighting Americans' utter disdain for Congress. But it's my encounters with ordinary citizens at public meetings or in casual conversation that really bring me up short.
Area schools start classes back this week and next. For both students and educators, the new year brings many challenges.
Editor, I would like to personally thank Fort Stewart EFMP, Reaching Milestones and all the wonderful military and civilian volunteers who came out to support our annual Special Olympics Spring Games. The competition would not have been successful without such tremendous support from the Hinesville and Fort Stewart community.
The U.S. Senate race this November between Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue will be one of the more unusual campaigns we have witnessed in Georgia. Neither has held public office, and both are anxious to portray themselves as the ultimate "outsider."
Editor, I would like to express my thanks and gratitude for the great job that Vicki Davis did when employed as the executive director of the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority. The seven years that she gave to our community opened many doors of opportunity to the Liberty County Community and Area Mass Choir.