Unlike D.C. lawmakers, state legislators are getting things done

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The Georgia General Assembly just finished its regular session for this year, and what a contrast it showed between our federal government in Washington, D.C., and our state government in Atlanta.

In Atlanta we passed a balanced budget; in Washington, barely two weeks ago, the Democrat-controlled Senate barely squeezed out a budget for the first time in four years.

The Georgia Legislature debated making it easier for law-abiding citizens to carry a gun for protection; the administration in D.C. is proposing taking away Second Amendment rights from those who follow the law.

GEORGIA REPUBLICAN legislators are contemplating ways to eliminate the state income tax; liberals in the federal Capitol are raising income taxes and looking for ways to make other taxes higher.

Even during the recession, the Republican-controlled Georgia Legislature has passed a balanced budget each year. It has not been easy, and it was not easy this year. But on March 28, the state House and Senate passed a balanced budget and sent it to Gov. Nathan Deal. We also passed resolutions encouraging Washington to enact the same thing our state constitution has: a balanced budget amendment.

An amendment to our Constitution doesn’t make it easier for a government to live within its means, but it certainly mandates the process. We have cut and cut in Georgia until it hurts. Just ask one of several entities that depend on state funding. But we have managed and are better off for it.

By contrast, the printing presses have never stopped printing money in Washington. All that printing of money and federal deficit spending is going to catch up with us. The fiscal chickens that are coming home to roost because our federal government is out of control will have an impact much harsher than the more responsible method Georgia has employed of making tough budget choices each year.

While the Georgia Legislature is pondering how to make it easier for law-abiding citizens to carry weapons for protection, the administration in D.C. is proposing making it harder. We understand under the Gold Dome that the only thing to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

The three high-profile national tragedies of recent years where a bad guy killed innocents – the school in Connecticut, the movie theater in Colorado and the college in Virginia – all took place in “gun-free” zones. In other words, the shooters had reason to believe they would likely be the only ones with a gun when they started their murderous rampage. Would more people be alive if someone could have shot back?

BILLS PASSED THE Senate and House in Atlanta to make it easier for honest people to protect themselves. In the coming months, I anticipate the differences will be worked out, and Georgia will allow more opportunity for good guys with guns to be around.

From liberals in Washington, all you hear is how much better things will be if we can just raise taxes again and again and again. No country ever taxed themselves out of a recession. That wisdom is lost on some, but not in Georgia. As hard as it is to cut budgets, it’s better than raising income taxes. In fact, bills are being introduced in Georgia, and the debate is becoming serious about how to eliminate income taxes at the state level once and for all.

A “fair tax” type discussion is taking place amongst Georgia legislators as to the best way to end the income tax and instead move toward a sales-tax-based revenue. This is not a new idea at the state level. Several states already do this. A few examples are Texas, Tennessee and Florida. All three of those states enjoy economic advantages over Georgia because they have eliminated their state income taxes.

Besides the fact it makes for better job creation, eliminating the income tax also encourages thrifty behavior. Moreover, you
no longer are penalized for working hard and earning more. Instead, you control more of your taxation by deciding when to buy. Keeping that lawnmower in good shape or repairing that grill instead of buying a new one means you pay less in taxes. We all win anytime you insert responsibility into society and reduce government.

THE CONTRAST between Washington and Georgia is great. We can hope the difference is enough to stem the spread of a national government that grows like a cancer and spends like a drunken sailor. Be proud that at the state Capitol in Atlanta, we spend time talking about personal responsibility, independence and God-given freedoms. Be worried that in Washington, those three ideas are passé.

The good Lord helps us all and gives us the wisdom to change the things we can. We begin every day of the legislative session in Georgia with a pastor of the day who brings us wisdom from the Scriptures. Let’s all pray for our federal government to receive and follow that wisdom as well.

(The writer represents Georgia House District 121, which includes portions of Columbia and McDuffie counties. He is an attorney in Evans.)

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/14/13 - 06:26 am
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It's too bad Barry Fleming

It's too bad Barry Fleming didn't win the Congressional seat. We would be much better off.

RMSHEFF
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RMSHEFF 04/14/13 - 08:07 am
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This is true in most state

This is true in most state governments across the country. While the federal government is completely out of control, most state governments are getting their finances in order and conservatives are gaining in numbers. The states that are the most liberal (run by democrats) are a basket case just like Washington DC. Soon California, Michigan, New York etc will look to the rest of us to "bail" them out. Have you ever noticed that liberalism always need to be bailed out by conservatism.

TrukinRanger
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TrukinRanger 04/14/13 - 09:07 am
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It's easier to balance
Unpublished

It's easier to balance budgets when you furlough the state workers again and again.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 04/14/13 - 01:22 pm
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Don't break your arm, Barry

What a double (make that a triple) load of tripe! A thinking person can see right through Fleming's self-back-patting.

As far as balancing a budget, it's no big deal. It's all about projecting income and outgo. It's all in the future. Anyone can write numbers on paper to create a budget. But the actual spending is the rub. I think it is shameful that they are planning to increase state funding for the unproven and unnecessary pre-K programs all around the state.

As far as gun protection, look at what Fleming says:

The Georgia Legislature debated making it easier for law-abiding citizens to carry a gun for protection. . . . the three high-profile national tragedies of recent years where a bad guy killed innocents – the school in Connecticut, the movie theater in Colorado and the college in Virginia – all took place in “gun-free” zones. . . .

Yeah, they debated it, they talked about it, but they didn’t pass any bills whereby college students can protect themselves with guns on campus. The legislature blinked when the Georgia Board of Regents bullied them. Likewise, they did nothing to set up systems whereby individuals can be certified and authorized to carry guns on primary and elementary school campuses for the protection of the students. Way to go, Barry.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 04/14/13 - 01:30 pm
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Lastly

Cruelest of all is Barry Fleming’s posturing on income taxes. Let's parse what he wrote:

Georgia Republican legislators are contemplating ways to eliminate the state income tax. . . . A “fair tax” type discussion is taking place amongst Georgia legislators as to the best way to end the income tax and instead move toward a sales-tax-based revenue. . . .

This shift from income tax to sales tax is a cruel joke to baby boomers. They have paid Georgia's maximum income tax rate all their working lives, and now when they start claiming Social Security benefits (which are exempt from Georgia income taxes), legislators propose to do away with and impose sales taxes on everything. They want to have sales taxes on services as well as commodities. They want to tax your doctor bills, your lawyer bills, your beautician bills, labor on car repairs, and other services too numerous to mention.

Switching the Georgia tax system from income to sales is a kick in the groins of senior citizens by state legislators.

KSL
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KSL 04/15/13 - 11:51 pm
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I have thought that about the

I have thought that about the fair tax as well, little lamb. So we rely on sellers to reduce the embedded prices. How do we know that they took it all the way down? And what about the pass through time? People who have inventory from before the switch?

dahreese
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dahreese 04/16/13 - 10:14 am
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This is the only comment so
Unpublished

This is the only comment so far that's worth the time it took to write; "What a double (make that a triple) load of tripe! A thinking person can see right through Fleming's self-back-patting."

Precisely.

And it's doubtful he's the only conservative/Republican blowing off like this.

Given the "amen" comments above there's no doubt some of the people can be fooled all of the time.

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