Originally created 01/29/97

De-fund Georgia's `AARP' 012997 - The Augusta Chronicle



The Silver Haired Legislature, a group of politically-active senior citizens who work up a legislative agenda every two years, is lobbying Georgia lawmakers for funds to meet every year.

With all due respect to the seniors - some of whom we know and admire personally - they are way off base. Their agenda looks like it has been lifted out of the American Association of Retired Persons' playbook.

Special tax exemptions or credit proposals abound, along with other requests for government favors. Enough is enough. Taxpayers contribute plenty to AARP through federal revenues without now being asked to cough up more for Georgia's "silver sages" at the state level.

Besides, government - state or federal - has no business doling out money to special-interests whose purpose is to lobby government for evermore goodies. That's how taxpayers go broke.

To be sure, the Silver Haired legislators have every right to work up a lobbying agenda, but they ought to pay for their own "legislative session" when they do it.

The General Assembly realized this last year when it turned down an outright subsidy for the seniors' playpen. But Secretary of State Lewis Massey - courting last November's elderly vote - began funding them with $25,000 of taxpayer money that's supposed to be allocated just for his office operations.

This year lawmakers should resist outright funding again - with a notation to Massey that, if he keeps subsidizing them, his office will be docked the amount of the contribution at appropriations time.