Will Any Statesmen Emerge When the Georgia Legislature Goes into Session Monday?

This is the year that we are going to find out who are the real statesmen in the Georgia legislature,  or we may find there are none.  This is going to be a one of the most challenging sessions of the legislature,  and if the lawmakers simply sit on their votes and let things slide they will be committing not only a severe dereliction of duty,  but an immoral act.

Georgia State Capitol

Georgia State Capitol

Just look at the gargantuan problems facing this state. 

First of all, the recession is going to put great pressure on the state budget.  When tax revenues drop, as they always do in disastrous economic times,  programs have to cut.

Even though those tax revenues are much less,  the need for state funds are not.  Education, number one priority for most people, including lawmakers, has already been severely cut,  and more and even greater cuts are in the offing.  This will have harmful effects on the state economy because industry wants well educated people.

Transportation is an area that simply cannot be ignored.  It virtually was in the last session of the legislature since it did not pass a comprehensive transportation plan for the state.  Gridlock in the Atlanta area gets worse by the day. The state continues to emphasize road building and adding lanes to existing roads, and simply will not switch a good percentage of the dollars to mass transit.  Instead of pouring millions and millions of dollars worth of concrete and asphalt, it needs to divert a lot of that money to rail, the most efficient way to transport masses of people.  

I am really sick of the never-ending construction on I-85.  It causes miserable driving conditions and is not solving the problem.  Instead of adding lanes, they should be laying rails.  I know I have stated that before,  but it seems so obvious to me and I can’t understand why the legislators can’t grasp the facts about rail.   At least some of the states political leaders are warming up to rail, including Lt. Governor Cagle.

Believe me, even though everyone knows that the state government is going to have to concentrate on the greatest needs for the most people,   there will be a lot of people trying to get state funding for their pet projects,  and there will be legislators who will try to send sparse state funds their way.

Governor Perdue is talking about shifting a lot of emphasis to infrastructure, not only because of bridges and other infrastructure  needing to be upgraded,  but also to provide jobs.  That sounds Democratic,  the sort of thing that Barack Obama wants to do for the country, following the lead of  FDR in the early 1930’s.  Democratic or or not,  he appears to be on the right track considering the times we are in.

Yes, this is going to be the session when we learn who really in the Georgia legislature cares about the greater good for the common welfare of the people of this state.  If it is business as usual,  this state is in real trouble during these extraordinarily troubled times.

Another big issue will be attempts to change the way taxes are paid in Georgia.  We’ll  look at that in future posts.

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