Georgia primary profiles

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Three Republican primary contests involving federal and state offices take place Tuesday. The Chronicle asked the candidates their positions on the issues.

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<P><b>BRETT MCGUIRE </b></P> <P><b>HOME: </b> Appling</P> <P><b>OCCUPATION: </b> Retired businessman</P>  Special
Special

BRETT MCGUIRE

HOME: Appling

OCCUPATION: Retired businessman

STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 117

BRETT MCGUIRE


HOME: Appling


OCCUPATION: Retired businessman

LEE ANDERSON


HOME: Grovetown


OCCUPATION: Farmer

Q: What plan would you propose to offer tax relief?

BRETT MCGUIRE

There are a lot of plans on the table, but I'm leaning toward freezing property taxes. If your assessment goes up $50,000, your homestead exemption should go up by the same amount. As long as you own your home, your taxes essentially will be frozen, but if you sell it the new owner is taxed at the higher rate.

LEE ANDERSON

One of the main areas I would look at would be to bring the private sector in to run such organizations like recreation. I believe we can reduce taxes in that area and still have quality recreation. The burning problem we have right now is gas prices. I believe we should suspend state taxes on gasoline immediately. I'd also like to work toward a fair tax.

Q: What can lawmakers do to improve public education?

BRETT MCGUIRE

I don't like it when political bureaucrats dictate what local boards of education have to do. I'm a big proponent of keeping as much as we can under local control. And we need to eliminate unfunded mandates.

LEE ANDERSON

I believe the biggest thing is taking a burden off teachers for the paper workload and let the teachers carry out their job of teaching our children. I'd also like to reduce the number of students per teacher to give them more one-on-one time.

Q: What role should state legislators play in the expansion of the Medical College of Georgia?

BRETT MCGUIRE

There's no doubt we need more doctors. If the quickest and most economical way to accomplish that is to expand into Athens and Savannah then let's by all means do it. But I'm not sure that's the case. Whatever the case may be, it's the state Legislature's responsibility to ensure the funding is there for the growth.

LEE ANDERSON

I would be there 110 percent in any way I could to help expand MCG in any way we can.

STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 118

BEN HARBIN (INCUMBENT)


HOME: Evans


OCCUPATION: Co-owner of a land survey company and part owner of an employee benefits company

LEE BENEDICT


HOME: Martinez


OCCUPATION: Teacher

Q: What plan would you propose to offer tax relief?

BEN HARBIN (INCUMBENT)

We're trying to move to a fairer tax with a sales tax system, which is a good plan to relieve pressure on property owners and those paying income taxes. The lieutenant governor's plan to reduce the income tax is a good plan. I think the biggest impact we can have on individuals is removing the tax on cars. ... Automobiles are not a luxury. ... You can't do anything without that necessity.

LEE BENEDICT


What has made the most sense is the plan to reduce state income tax by 10 percent over five years. ... It's popular to say you want to get rid of the ad valorem tax ... but in Virginia they did that and services were cut, public universities had to raise tuition and there were hiring freezes on police departments. We can offer tax reform all day, but we have to get spending reform.

Q: What can lawmakers do to improve public education?

BEN HARBIN (INCUMBENT)

We've committed ourselves to fully funding the formula for public education ... because that's money that goes into the classroom. For the past four years, since I've been (chairman of the House Appropriations Committee) we have increased education funding by over $1 billion. If a parent has a better option for educating a child, whether it's home schooling or moving to another school, that option should exist.

LEE BENEDICT


We are testing the kids too much. For example, the CRCT (Criterion-Referenced Competency Test) costs the state $12.5 million. The Georgia Department of Education testing program is a $35-million-a-year bureaucracy and $34 million goes just for tests. Most of those tests are not made in Georgia. Let the local school systems do their jobs with minimal interference from Atlanta.

Q: What role should state legislators play in the expansion of the Medical College of Georgia?

BEN HARBIN (INCUMBENT)

This year we fully funded the dental school to the tune of $70 million. There is $3 million for the medical building, to design it. We've set the base in Augusta. ... Now they can seek research dollars to expand across the state. We're low on the number of physicians in Georgia. ... By fully funding MCG and allowing them to seek further research dollars we help the entire state.

LEE BENEDICT


The Medical College of Georgia is in Augusta and it should stay in Augusta to every extent possible. If there is an overwhelming number of applicants and a need for doctors, and this area cannot accommodate, then we need a satellite campus at the University of Georgia.

U.S. CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 10

PAUL BROUN


(INCUMBENT)


HOME: Watkinsville


OCCUPATION: Doctor

BARRY FLEMING


HOME: Harlem


OCCUPATION: State representative of District 117, attorney

Q: By what means would you as a lawmaker effect a change in gas prices?

PAUL BROUN

I've sponsored bills to have a comprehensive energy program that would allow development of our own natural resources. We need to drill for oil now wherever we can find it in America. We have to stop the dependence on Middle Eastern oil. We have to look to alternative sources of fuel, such as clean-coal technology, coal-to-liquid technology, hydrogen. ... We need to streamline the process to build new (nuclear) reactors and to build new (oil) refineries.

BARRY FLEMING

I'd do three things. First, I'd eliminate the federal gas tax over the summer months when travel is heaviest. The second thing I would do is drill here and drill now. We have oil reserves off the coast of this nation and in Alaska and we should be drilling. The third thing is work long-term to become energy independent ... through clean-coal technology and the use of nuclear power.

Q: How would you protect Social Security?

PAUL BROUN

We have to stop spending the money people pay for Social Security and I've introduced legislation to do so. We have to fix it so that the people dependent on Social Security and Medicare will get it. We need to invest the Social Security trust fund in a vehicle to get us a better return. I've introduced legislation to take the taxes off Social Security payments so Social Security recipients don't have to pay income taxes. ... We have to give young people some flexibility so they have the option to invest in other private types of accounts.

BARRY FLEMING

First of all, I won't say it's unconstitutional, like my opponent. I think we need to allow young people to make decisions about investing their money in Social Security. I want to give them some options that give them a higher return.

Q: What can be done legislatively to improve America's recessive economy?

PAUL BROUN

Passing the fair tax will help markedly to boost the economy. That's not going to happen anytime soon, but I've pledged to work with the fair tax people nationally to try to develop grassroots support to get it passed. In the meantime, we need to lower the tax burden and the regulatory burden on business and industry to create new jobs.

BARRY FLEMING

Cut taxes. Drill for oil, because the day we open up oil drilling in this nation, speculators will quit buying oil futures at the high prices they're doing it at now. That will drop the price of oil overnight and that will help our community.

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robaroo
858
Points
robaroo 07/12/08 - 08:03 am
0
0
As much as I dislike paying

As much as I dislike paying taxes, "Tax Relief" is not necessarily the right topic. Many of today's economic problems come from deficit spending. If you're going to give me tax relief, you d well better tell me what programs you are going to cut to pay for it. I don't buy any of the stories about how much more money the government will take in due to tax cuts.

sjgraci
2
Points
sjgraci 07/12/08 - 08:13 am
0
0
Broun and Fleming are

Broun and Fleming are addicted to oil. Currently, we already have plenty of oil. Problem is, the oil refineries are at maximum capacity. Oil companies like it like that. They maximize profits. More oil is not going to mean more and cheaper gasoline, it means more assets and profit for the oil companies.

reader212
0
Points
reader212 07/12/08 - 09:00 am
0
0
Please don't let these guys

Please don't let these guys pass this tax freeze they keep talking about. Look at California's Prop 186. It's the same thing and it has been a disaster. It will also bring litigation that alleges discrimination - and really, do we want to go through all of that again?

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 07/12/08 - 10:49 am
0
0
Cut the social programs and

Cut the social programs and make the deadbeats work. Drill for oil where we can and take all the tax responsibility off the people that work hard. Pass the national sales tax so that all pay taxes when they buy. Thsi will get money from the person who works under the table and then collects from our welfare system, it will also get money from the people who get 1099's and never pay the social security or income tax but get the services our system offers. Last night I was in line at the grocery store and payng for some seafood that was 7.99 per lb. I pulled out cash and the lady in front of me was buying the same thing and paid with a EBT card. [filtered word] me off because she could have bought a different kind of food. Her EBT will run out and she will probably say I don't have enough to live on.

TheTruth
1
Points
TheTruth 07/12/08 - 05:07 pm
0
0
"Problem is, the oil

"Problem is, the oil refineries are at maximum capacity. Oil companies like it like that. They maximize profits. More oil is not going to mean more and cheaper gasoline, it means more assets and profit for the oil companies." ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
How true. I say we need to nationalize energy. We need to breakup the big oil companies just like we did Ma Bell a long time ago.

Bommer
0
Points
Bommer 07/14/08 - 09:23 am
0
0
It has been my opinion for a

It has been my opinion for a long time that cutting taxes and not cutting spending is not going to do a lot of good. Also the problem of high gas is not supply but that the fact that production at ALL the refineries are max out. Therefore why can't the two canidates address the REAL issues.
Espically Congressman Broun.

JDSmith
0
Points
JDSmith 07/14/08 - 01:04 pm
0
0
Press release I got from Paul

Press release I got from Paul Broun's campaign:

Social Security and Medicare Recipients Honor Broun

Washington, D.C. - “Senior citizens know they can always count on Representative Paul Broun” (R-GA). That was the central message at an awards ceremony for Rep. Broun in the nation’s Capitol where 60 Plus Association President Jim Martin asserted “seniors can depend on Rep. Broun to always protect their Social Security and Medicare.

“So it is with a great deal of pride that 60 Plus honors Rep. Broun with the Association’s Guardian of Seniors’ Rights Award,” Martin said. Presented in each Congress over the past 15 years, this award has been earned by Democrats and Republicans alike.

“Rep. Paul Broun is always in the corner of the nation’s elderly. He is mindful that most of them struggle on fixed incomes, their monthly Social Security check often their only source of funds to pay the ever-increasing cost of living.

“Rep. Paul Broun is truly a cherished friend of our growing senior citizen population. That’s why it’s my privilege to publicly thank him for his pro-senior outlook. Seniors are blessed to have Paul Broun working on their behalf.”

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