Help Atlanta by looking beyond I-285

I’m one of us, but today I’m writing as one of them. I’m not talking about the conservative/liberal split. I mean the two Georgias split: metro Atlanta, and the rest of the state.

Having grown up in Dalton and now making my home in Atlanta, I’ve lived this divide. It isn’t unique to our state, or even our country. But it dearly costs both Atlanta and the state as a whole. And the power to change this dynamic lies with Atlanta.

Do some Georgians hate their capital city? Perhaps. But it’s safe to say that far more are grateful to live near a world-class city and its amenities — the international airport, the hospitals, the universities, the shopping, the professional sports teams, the museums and cultural events.

What they don’t appreciate is being treated as some kind of little brother whom Atlantans tolerate or just ignore. Or as the state’s version of flyover country. They don’t appreciate hearing Atlantans complain that the state wastes money on four-lane highways to nowhere that could be spent on MARTA. They don’t appreciate hearing the water wars with Alabama and Florida cast as a threat to Atlantans, ignoring the farmers farther south.

Beating non-Atlantans at the legislature hasn’t worked, as the AJC’s Margaret Newkirk well described in her Sunday article: “Georgia often sneers as Atlanta struggles.”

Nor has metro Atlanta’s greater population growth — it’s accounted for three of every four new Georgians since 2000 — given it more sway at the ballot box. In fact, in two of the last four statewide, top-of-the-ticket races have turned on the non-Atlanta vote. Sonny Perdue beat Roy Barnes in 2002 despite losing metro Atlanta, and John McCain pulled off the same trick in last year’s election. (In 2004, George W. Bush won Atlanta and the rest of the state; ditto for Perdue in 2006.)

A gubernatorial election in which one candidate ran a decidedly anti-Atlanta campaign might unite metro voters in a way that would swamp the results elsewhere. But neither a Republican nor a Democrat can afford to lose Atlanta heavily, so that’s a highly unlikely scenario.

Waiting for further population growth to change votes on the ground, either in elections or at the legislature, isn’t an option for Atlanta. Its biggest problems are too urgent for that.

So the city’s next mayor has an important task as soon as she or he is elected: Reach out to the rest of the state. I’m not talking about a charm offensive so much as a listening tour. If Atlanta’s leaders — including those in the suburbs — understand the rest of the state’s needs, they can find ways that those needs mesh with Atlanta’s.

For example, congestion in Atlanta affects more than the people who live here. Many products from South Georgia and goods that enter the port of Savannah pass northward through Atlanta. North Georgia carpet mills sometimes send their trucks south on I-75 through Atlanta so that they can take I-85 northward to the Eastern seaboard, for lack of another east-west connector.

Don’t try to buy their votes by supporting their own pet causes. Seek out projects that would help multiple regions. One is a proposal for a limited-access highway tracking U.S. 27 in western Georgia that would surely divert a substantial number of cargo trucks and Florida-bound tourists who now help to clog up Atlanta’s roads.

The two Georgias approach can take us only so far. If Atlanta wants more cooperation from the state, it can’t act like a state unto itself.

75 comments Add your comment

My personal Lord and Saviour, Rush Limbaugh

October 21st, 2009
9:21 pm

The red counties versus those blue county metro socialists, with their colleges and diversity.
They even sell alcohol on Sunday, the sabbith.

Cutty

October 21st, 2009
11:39 pm

The next Mayor needs to go on a listening tour to hear crap from folks who don’t live here? As an Atlanta resident, the next mayor needs to have their head in the city’s financials for the first 3 months in office. These people who hate an urban city like Atlanta for whatever reasons, race, snobbery, or whatever, they are getting over fine. The take digs at the city, but then come here for its amenities as you said. The first thing I would do if I were Mayor is to get a parking surcharge tax passed. Even push for a commuter tax, but I believe that would need the General Assembly’s approval which would never happen. The city needs money, the state doesn’t want to help, tax the cars that park in any lot in the city. We make up 51% of the tax revenue in the entire state. Money talks, BS walks. We are the financial majority.

Legislators from outside the area don’t even want us to decide as a citizenry if we want to tax ourselves for transportation projects in the region because they don’t want to fund anything for Atlanta. But we should go to these counties with a population the size of Perimeter Mall on a Saturday and listen to how we can help them. Yeah right. Once you get outside of 285, you may as well be in Mississippi.

What benefits Atlanta, benefits them.

Ward

October 22nd, 2009
1:37 am

Yes, the first, last and only answer from a Democrat? More taxes. Tax parking. Tax commuting. Tax incomes. Tax taxes. And somehow that will *encourage* people to come to Atlanta.

Churchill's MOM

October 22nd, 2009
6:07 am

Up here in Athens we hate Atlanta because it is run by crooks and has far too many “employees”. Get rid of those problems and Atlanta’s problems will go away.

Churchill's MOM

October 22nd, 2009
6:11 am

Churchill's MOM

October 22nd, 2009
7:04 am

Good read in The ABH about the Georgia RINO party, we really need to find a conservative replacement for Johnny Isakson next year. Hypocrites in action.

http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/102209/opi_507475245.shtml#mdw-comments

SharonH

October 22nd, 2009
7:07 am

If you want reconciliation between the city of Atlanta and the rest of Georgia, why don’t you start with the rest of Georgia? Remind them that what is good for Atlanta is good for the entire state. Tell them to stop acting like petulant children jealous because they aren’t getting enough attention. Tell them to stop being bitter hatemongers who resent Metro Atlanta’s diversity. Tell them to embrace their own culture, size and history and spend time developing that instead of blaming Atlanta for their problems. In other words, tell them to grow up!

Signed,
a native of Southwest Georgia

Tea

October 22nd, 2009
7:29 am

Kyle, it looks like your “can’t we all get along” perspective is not going over so well today. But I appreciate it. I believe, as I think you also do, that moderat-ism (is that a word?) is the answer. Polarization is killing America. Thank you for your thoughtful columns and your efforts to promote cohesiveness and compromise rather than baiting 1000 vitriolic blog comments as the previous owner of this column did.

bamaguy

October 22nd, 2009
8:07 am

I have always proposed a very simple solution. Let atlanta spend the tax revenue it produces and let the rest of Georgia outside metro atlanta live on their own tax base. Problem solved.

Will

October 22nd, 2009
8:19 am

There they go again.

Republicans preach “less government is good government” and “government governs best at the lowest level of government”.

So, how do they act versus how they preach? Republicans in Georgia now want to have a state-controlled, state-run government airport located in Atlanta rather than allowing this city airport to be run by city government (by the way, do you know of any other city airports in Georgia that republicans what the state to seize?).

This is the same bunch of “yahoos” who preach that education is best left to a locally elected board of education rather than a state contolled system. So how do they back up their words with meaning? The Georgia General Assembly, by state statute, requires each locally governed board of education, to have a policy that address recess! That’s right, recess! Boards of Education are not required by state government to provide recess but they are required by state government to have a policy regarding recess, even if the policy is that local boards of education don’t require recess!!

Kyle's a Cherry Picker

October 22nd, 2009
8:48 am

Hi Kyle,

Per this column, that’s a pretty astute observation: It’s all Atlanta’s fault.

Per today’s news, I’d be really interested in hearing your thoughts on the today’s story about the heated flood damage meetings yesterday in Cobb County. The citizens seem to be interested in more government involvement, both in drawing much larger flood plains and in bailing them out.

Is that how you see it?

INC

October 22nd, 2009
8:54 am

I’d just like to thank Cutty for driving Kyle’s point home. Thanks!

Union City

October 22nd, 2009
8:57 am

As a democrat, I completely agree Kyle. As someone raised in rural south Georgia, these city folks don’t understand their plight. I think we should all be fighting the state legislature together over their craziness. rural georgia thinks all the money for schools and development goes to atlanta and atlanta thinks all the roads and pork goes to rural georgia.

lmno

October 22nd, 2009
9:06 am

I am like you Kyle. I was raised in a smaller town in Georgia and moved to Atlanta after college.

When I was growing up, I viewed Atlanta as a Cancer that was spreading out and destroying perfectly good parts of Georgia.

When I drive up to the North Georgia Mountains, I still feel that way to some degree. Gated communities and strip malls in what used to be perfectly, unspoiled, serenity.

Now, I look at Atlanta (The city, not the burbs) as the one who is treated as the “some kind of little brother whom ‘Georgians’ tolerate or just ignore”. The people outside of the perimeter seem to abhor the city. Its unfortunate because the City of Atlanta is what keeps this state somewhat balanced.

Kyle Wingfield

October 22nd, 2009
9:21 am

Cherry Picker: Please show where I said it was “all Atlanta’s fault.” What I did was summarize some of the feelings of non-Atlantans — presuming that Atlantans, the majority of my readers, don’t need me to summarize their own feelings toward the rest of the state — and explained why, politically, Atlanta needs the cooperation of the rest of Georgia.

Incidentally, we just had the three leading Atlanta mayoral candidates in for interviews the last two days, and all three of them made reference to doing the kind of thing I’ve described here.

As for the Cobb meetings, I haven’t followed them that closely but will look into them.

First Things First

October 22nd, 2009
9:24 am

If the City of Atlanta will just pay off its bond debt for the Georgia Dome, I think the state might be willing to put everything else on the table – MARTA, Grady, transportation … the works.

Union City

October 22nd, 2009
9:27 am

First Things First…are you asking every other city to pay off their bond debt? Why Atlanta? Atlanta doesn’t run Marta or Grady. Those a both funded by all of Fulton and Dekalb (including Chatt Hills, Tucker, Roswell).

Joan

October 22nd, 2009
9:40 am

All I can say about Atlanta, is I will be glad when I finally move away from it. It is a nasty city, full of vice, drugs, hip hopers, droopy panted and hooded thugs, and did I mention pot holes, and crooked politicians. City hall–people you wouldn’t trust to walk in your home.

jconservative

October 22nd, 2009
9:50 am

Churchill’s MOM

“Good read in The ABH about the Georgia RINO party, we really need to find a conservative replacement for Johnny Isakson next year.”

Do you want a political conservative or a social conservative to replace Isakson?

[...] Some opinion: Kyle Wingfield says Atlanta needs to look beyond I-285. [...]

Joan

October 22nd, 2009
9:52 am

I want an economic conservative to replace them all!!

Save Us Obama !

October 22nd, 2009
9:53 am

The US Military should nuke and utterly eradicate every living, jive-talking, leeching, non-tipping, panhandling thing inside I-285 that is South of I-20 and allow the US Army Corps of Engineers to start from scratch to salvage something worthwhile from that cesspool.

Yes, We CAN Be Great Again, Atlanta !!!

jconservative

October 22nd, 2009
9:55 am

Joan – ” It is a nasty city, full of vice, drugs, hip hopers, droopy panted and hooded thugs, and did I mention pot holes, and crooked politicians.”

Go on-line & read the newspapers of all the small town & cities in Georgia and all you read is stories about just what you are complaining
about in your comment. Apparently the problem is not confined to big cities. I live in one of the smallest population counties in the state & our paper reads just like the metro section of the AJC.

Where do you plan to move?

Libs are compassionate...

October 22nd, 2009
10:08 am

Kyle, nice piece as usual. I read your blogs as I read Jay Bookman and Jim Wooten. I get a little queasy reading some of the vile comments over on Bookman and Wootens blogs. Generally the mean and vicious comments come from the more liberal bloggers and I try to stay out of it. I rarely ever comment on Bookmans blog because of the mean and hateful things some bloggers write. Here is a list of some of the liberal bloggers who have been commenting on Bookmans site for a very long time. These “people” have a lot of serious issues. One being that they must not work because from what I can tell they blog day and night seven days a week. Two, these bloggers seem to worship Obama and it’s really sad.

List of vicious liberal bloggers who seem to be mentally challenged.

stands for decibels

Finn McCool

Marsh

Mrs. Godzilla

Taxpayer

Bosch

AmVet

Goldie

Kamchak

Davo

October 22nd, 2009
10:10 am

It’s my belief that most of this is just due to regionalism. Simply put; people who have more interactions with people outside of thier culture/beliefs tend to be more accepting of those people. It’s in the cities where it happens the greatest so people in cities tend to be more ‘liberal’, the folks back home are more ‘conservative’. It’s human nature and self-serving politicians will use that to their advantage…us vs. them.

Some well written article on stuff along this vein is at The Front Porch Republic,
http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/

Red-Blooded Georgian

October 22nd, 2009
10:11 am

I grew up in Dekalb County. I’ve traveled the world for 20 years on business and vacation, including most of the great cities — New York, Chicago, Rome, Paris, Sydney. Based on years of direct observation, I can assure you that Atlanta is a silly provincial joke. Atlanta is a hopeless cesspool of filth, high crime, fraud, and corruption, forever doomed to suffer under a bungling Third-World model of city government. Once the state finally takes away Hartsfield Airport (which is far too important to leave in the hands of the city government), the core of Atlanta will finish imploding into irrelevant oblivion. After all, the vast majority of business in this region takes place outside the city limits.

We “hicks” choose to live farther out for a lot of valid reasons. We just laugh when urbanites mock us for having the good sense to live in areas with lower taxes, less crime, and more conveniences… and a much higher quality of life. WE are supposed to be the dumb or crazy ones? Sure. Right. Whatever you say. (By the way, are your sewers still working or are you composting your feces in flower pots yet?)

The next time you silly snotty urbanites sip your wine and nibble your cheese, putting on your silly airs and looking down your noses at all of us knaves outside the perimeter, just remember the following: no one cares what you think; you don’t impress normal people and you surely cannot intimidate us; and — most important — nobody needs the actual City of Atlanta (well, except as an occasional source of amusement.) And by the way, did I mention… no one cares what you think?

Repukes ALL Suck Eggs

October 22nd, 2009
10:16 am

Its not all about Atlanta the city, rather it is about the wealth of the Metro Atlanta area being diverted via the State tax man to rural Georgia. I personally resent paying ~20 mils in property taxes for the schools on grossly inflated valuations, with a large fraction of that money being taken by the State for redistribution to rural Georgia, while the dead beats in rural Georgia are paying the minimum 6 mils in property taxes on their much lower valuations. Asking me as a rich Cobb County property owner to now help bail out the city of Atlanta is not going to work. We refused to bail out Grady when the demanded money from Cobb County, and we will refuse to bailout the city of Atlanta when they as for money. On the subject of Grady, did you know that Grady is not the largest or the busiest ER in state of Georgia? No I didn’t think you did, at least not from reading the Urinal Constitution. Kennestone Hospital (part of the Wellstrar System) is by far the busiest, and in my opinion the best ER in Georgia. They dropped out of the Level 1 trauma network a few years ago because of the dictatorial requirements the network was placing on their physicians, especially the neurosurgeons. But the skills and capabilities are still there.

Ghetto Grandpa

October 22nd, 2009
10:21 am

Kyle — metro Atlanta already subsidizes the rest of the state. We pay 51% of the state tax revenues and in return get 37%.

Sounds like redistribution of wealth to me. But I guess that’s OK as long we are talking about taking money from mostly democratic Atlanta and giving it to mostly GOP rural Georgia.

The GOP complains about corruption at Atlanta City Hall, the airport and MARTA, but what about the enron-style accounting at GDOT? Or what about Governor Perdue’s remarkably corrupt Oakey Woods land deal? GOP Rep Jill Chambers and other republicans rants about financial problems at MARTA but the GOP turns a blind eye to GDOT and that basket-case agency DFACS.

Lets face it, metro Atlanta has always put emphasis on infrastructure that makes a city: transit, public hospitals, airports, etc. However for eight years of total GOP control of the state we have seen NO progress on infrastructure. Zip. Nada.

The Georgia GOP has made zero progress on water infrastructure. Meanwhile the City of Atlanta has bought the old quarry on the northwest side of town and is turning that into a reservoir. While Gov Perdue and the GOP go to court and whine about activist judges (appointing by Republican Presidents no less) the City of Altanta acts to expand its reservoir capacity.

The GOP cannot even turn the HOV lanes into toll roads — they’ve been talking about it for five years and still nothing. Since the HOV lanes are already built, you’d think they could pull that one off.

The other GOP infrastructure proposals? The GOP wants the state to take over the Atlanta Airport. And who would run that? GDOT? Please — Rep Everhart from Powder Springs simply wants the power and it probably galls him to fly out of Hartsfield and realize that the airport was the product of the city of Atlanta. Whatever contracting problems there are at the airport pales in comparison to the mess at GDOT. But you won’t see any GOP outrage at GDOT because its GOP politicians that appointed the GDOT Board and Commissioner.

Or how about Oxendine’s proposal to pave over east Atlanta? Seriously? Do you even have any idea how much it will cost for GDOT to buy all the real estate and pay for all those folks to move? (See the Uniform Relocation Act for details.) It will bust the state’s budget.

I know its easy for the GOP to blame Atlantans for all their problems. After all we are different. Lots of blacks. gays, asians, hispanics, race-mixers, etc. But Mayor Franklin tried what you suggest, maybe she gave up too easy, but it certainly didn’t pay off and that ’state assistance’ on water projects was a joke. All the state did was allow Atlanta to borrow money from a loan program that is administered by the state but funded by EPA at the same terms that the state loans money to any city in Georgia. As we say in my hood, BFD.

I think the next Mayor should focus on Atlanta. It will be tough. We need to reduce the city payroll, change the pension system, shore up infrastructure, try to improve mobility, and hope that the GOP doesn’t screw us too much every winter when the General Assembly convenes. Because the GOP certainly won’t do anything that looks like it treating Atlanta fairly. That’s bad GOP politics.

Kyle Wingfield

October 22nd, 2009
10:25 am

Repukes: Your beef isn’t with property taxes…the state takes only 0.25 mills, and local school funding from property taxes isn’t redistributed. State funding for schools, etc. comes from income and sales taxes and maybe some other fees. Feel free to advocate on this blog for lowering those rates…

lmno

October 22nd, 2009
10:26 am

I for one am glad to have a world class museum, a fine zoo, great restaurants, 4 Major Professional Sports teams, three cable television headquarters, countless business head quarters, a world renowned foot race, and the other many amenities having a major city provides.

Take away Atlanta and what you are left with is what at one time was beautiful nature and is now under seige of strip malls, walmarts, cookie cutter subdvisions, and basic sprawl.

Kyle Wingfield

October 22nd, 2009
10:28 am

Ghetto Grandpa: The urban/rural divide, including the redistribution aspect, isn’t only or even mostly a partisan issue. It’s been around for decades; Republicans didn’t have a governor or a majority in either chamber of the legislature until 2002.

lmno

October 22nd, 2009
10:28 am

By the way, on the subject of the airport. The state, nor the city should run it. We should sell it to the highest bidder and use the revenue to fix the sewers and build local transportation.

It could be the CocaCola Airport.

Do the Math

October 22nd, 2009
10:31 am

Red-Blooded Georgian:
You’re clueless if you think Atlanta is more corrupt then Chicago, Paris or New York. Where in the metro area do you live an grow up? Have you ever voted in Chicago or Florida? Paid taxes in the others? I have and Atlanta rates below average but above average in the group you mentioned, IMO of course

Cutty

October 22nd, 2009
10:44 am

Red-Blooded Georgia must’ve visited the outskirts of all the cities he listed. Chicago’s sales tax is 10.25%. And to Inc. my POINT was that I don’t believe it should be the Mayor of Atlanta’s job to go around the state pandering to people that dislike the region anyway. If thoughtful conversations are to happen, ALL sides need to put their differences aside and sit down at the table like adults. Like another poster said, the Atlanta region makes up 51% of tax revenue and only receives 37% of it back. Those hoping for the city’s demise are cutting off their nose to spite their face.

Yes a parking surcharge should be in order. Commuters use our roads, and other parts of the city’s infrastructure at no cost, then complain when it needs upgrading. A commuter tax would even be better, but that would never be approved by the General Assembly.

findog

October 22nd, 2009
10:50 am

Dear Kyle,
The new mayor should sue the state to get MARTA’s funding formula revoked. What did the great State of Georgia do to get to decide how Fulton and DeKalb use their transportation funds, underwrite some bonds? What would the constituents beyond the loop think if Atlanta got to determine how they used their tax dollars?
As President Reagan’s UN Ambassador would put it Atlanta should just wave fondly from I-285 as the rest of the state drifts away…

Kyle's a Cherry Picker

October 22nd, 2009
10:56 am

Hi Kyle,

Here you go: “The two Georgias approach can take us only so far. If Atlanta wants more cooperation from the state, it can’t act like a state unto itself.”

What you’re basically saying is that the relationship is a one way street. In order for it to get better, Atlanta must change it’s behaviour. So the implicit statement is that the state of Georgia has been acting prudently with regards to it’s treatment of Atlanta.

In reality, it’s a two way street. Both parties are culpable for pandering to their base and deriding the other. But hey…that’s politics.

You may have wrapped it up in a more “fair and balanced” manner with something like: “Atlanta city and regional leaders should work in tandem with state leadership to provide all of Georgia with more equitable solutions to our problems.”

Repukes ALL Suck Eggs

October 22nd, 2009
10:58 am

Wrong Kyle, Quality Basic Education required a hunk of my property taxes to go to the State for redistribution to more needy school systems, which mostly happened to be in rural Georgia. Cobb gets some but not all of its QBE money back from the State, but the true amounts are hidden, or at least not readily available to the average taxpayer.

Churchill's MOM

October 22nd, 2009
11:02 am

jconservative 9:50 am

We woman want a small government & balanced budget Joan hit it on the head..

Joan

October 22nd, 2009
9:52 am
I want an economic conservative to replace them all!!

Repukes ALL Suck Eggs

October 22nd, 2009
11:04 am

The Quality Basic Education Act
Major educational reform legislation came to Georgia in 1985 with the enactment of Governor Joe Frank Harris’s Quality Basic Education Act (QBE).

Joe Frank HarrisThe issue that compelled the passage of QBE was the inequality in funding among school systems in the state. The state has traditionally funded a portion of local school system budgets, and the remaining support came from local taxes. Before QBE, school systems received state allocations on the basis of the number of students enrolled, without any adjustment for the fiscal condition of the school system or its ability to raise revenues on its own. Rural systems could not generate as much local funding as suburban districts could. By the early 1980s urban school systems with shrinking tax bases were also having difficulty keeping funding at already established levels, and legislators from both urban and rural counties called for funding equalization. Suburban legislators wanted more accountability for state funds and higher standards for teachers, but they opposed proposals that would redirect the state money their districts currently received.
QBE, which was introduced in the state senate by Roy Barnes, increased the total amount of money appropriated for K-12 education. Under the “local fair share” provision, additional state funds were given to school districts that increased local funding. QBE also introduced the “student full-time equivalent” standard in funding. This complicated mechanism allocated state funding to local school districts not on the basis of the total number of pupils enrolled in the system but depending on how many hours students were in class during a school day. The state acquired the power to compel poorly funded systems to spend more money on programs found deficient.
Further, the act established minimum salary levels for educators and merit pay incentives for outstanding teachers. A special task force in the Georgia Department of Education was charged with evaluating the distribution of funds and ensuring that all public school systems complied with QBE guidelines.
QBE also raised the professional standards for teacher certification and funded continuing-education opportunities for teachers already in the field. The act allowed the state school board to set pupil-to-teacher ratios, offer incentives to local school districts for Head Start and full-day kindergarten programs, and establish graduation competencies in math, science, language, social science, and health. QBE also mandated that Georgia history be taught in the eighth grade.
Finally, QBE established the Quality Core Curriculum (QCC), which set guidelines for the specific material to be taught at each grade level. The QCC remained in place for nearly two decades.

Repukes ALL Suck Eggs

October 22nd, 2009
11:14 am

1/31/2008
Atlanta -Georgia Democrats are proposing two bills to put a stop to school cuts and take the burden of $1.5 billion in property tax shifts off local government. The Democratic plans provide fiscally sound property tax relief by fully funding the Quality Basic Education (QBE) Act.

“This is immediate, effective tax relief without shifting the burden to local governments,” said Rep. Jamieson (D-Toccoa). “It creates no new taxes.” Under the first bill sponsored by Rep. Jamieson, counties who lower local property taxes can tap into $300 million this year in state education funding.

Accompanying that bill is legislation sponsored by Representative Kathy Ashe (D-Atlanta) that mandates the state to fully fund the Quality Basic Education Act for the first time in over 20 years. This will ensure that K-12 public education is adequately funded and the state no longer shifts the burden to local property owners.

The funding for local governments that reduce property taxes would come from the state’s reserve fund for the next two years, $300 million this year and $300 million next year. Funding received would be dedicated to the Quality Basic Education formula that funds public education.

Rep. Kathy Ashe stated, “We cannot demand increased student achievement while the state is starving public education. Under the Republicans, public education has been cut by $1.5 billion and over 100 systems have been forced to raise property taxes as a result. It’s time we do the right thing, and made the state government pay its fair share.”

“These are great bills that roll back property taxes and help fund public education in Georgia,” said House Democratic Leader DuBose Porter (D-Dublin). “Families have suffered from shifting the burden to homeowners and Georgia schools have been hurt by the cuts in their basic level of funding from the state which has forced local systems to raise property taxes.”

House Caucus Chairman Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus) noted, “There is a direct cause and effect here – cuts to education funding lead to higher property taxes. I’m calling on the Republican leadership to do their utmost to give both of these worthy proposals a fair hearing. It is time that education and protecting local property taxes become priorities once again in Georgia.”

In total, public education cuts by the GOP are as follows:

BUDGET YEAR AMOUNT

Proposed fiscal year 2009 $141,510,679

Fiscal year 2008 $142,968,687

Fiscal year 2007 $169,745,895

Fiscal year 2006 $332,835,092

Fiscal year 2005 $332,838,099

Fiscal year 2004 $283,478,659

Amended fiscal year 2003 $134,594,245

Total $1,537,971,356

professional skeptic

October 22nd, 2009
11:16 am

Kyle,

As long as hatemongers like “Red-Blooded Georgian” focus all their energy on spewing venomous, acrimonious non-truths about Atlanta and its residents, there doesn’t appear to be much hope for reconciliation. Did you hear how he lumped all of us together, calling us silly, snobby urbanites who sip wine and nibble cheese? Exactly how do you reach out to someone who absolutely refuses to let go of the hatred and the meaningless stereotypes? It would be nice to start a constructive dialogue about why he admires certain world-class cities like NY, London, Paris, etc.; about how these cities differ from Atlanta; and exactly how Atlanta can improve itself to become “great” like these other cities.

However, something in his manner and in his tone tells me that he doesn’t ever really want to stop hating Atlanta. He refuses to acknowledge the good that has taken place in recent years, the improvements that have already been made (YES, RBG, our sewers are working much better than they did before Mayor Franklin took office, thank you very much). He, like many others, have fallen into a comfortable pattern of hatred that they don’t appear willing and/or able to let go of. No matter what Atlanta does to improve itself, no matter how Atlanta tries to reach out to other parts of the state, and no matter how much evidence exists to disprove RBG’s hateful stereotypes… the animosity, hostility and bitterness always remain.

I live in Atlanta for the shorter commute, the parks, recreation, amenities… but nooooooo sir!! According to “Red-Blooded Georgian” I live in Atlanta to be a wine-drinking cheese-nibbling snob. His rabid, seething hatred is so deeply ingrained that it is difficult to know if a path to reconciliation is even possible.

Repukes ALL Suck Eggs

October 22nd, 2009
11:17 am

You may have noticed that your property taxes went up this year, because the state failed to provide the 300 million for property tax relief.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

October 22nd, 2009
11:22 am

1) It plays well in South Georgia to speak badly of Atlanta.
2) Atlanta is the state’s economic engine.
3) Statewide races are now trending Republican for several reasons: a supposed desire for fiscal conservatism, deeply-entrenched social conservatism, racism… and I’m sure there are others. Are all Republicans racist? Of course not. Is racism a motivation for a number of people to vote Republican? I’ll bet your Confederate flag removed from the state flag, yes.
4) Atlanta has a lot of black people, and they vote Democratic.
5) Result: Atlanta has a Democratic administration and the state has a Republican administration.
6) Atlanta has serious needs from decades of mismanagement. Why? Well, Atlanta had a white-run administration for many years that did not value the civil rights of all its citizens. The white folks ran the trains on time, so to speak, but they were not inclusive. The natural result of this is being voted out by the new minority-majority. Because the new black administrations did not have the benefit of the good ol’ boy mentoring procedures, they made a lot of mistakes for which the city is still paying. Are those administrations blameless? Of course not, but it’s not the simple “Atlanta is corrupt” mantra that you hear from white Republicans. It’s the natural result of a swift change in power from people familiar with the wheels of government to people who are new to governing.
7) Due to the combination of black/white tension (some of which is racism, some of which is cultural tension), the urban/rural tension, the Republican/Democratic tension, etc… and also due to the fact that the Republican state administration is holding the power cards… Atlanta is going to continue to be shafted by the state. This is unfortunate for both, because Atlanta is the state’s economic engine. Without Atlanta, this state would be Mississippi.

Repukes ALL Suck Eggs

October 22nd, 2009
11:27 am

Well, since no one seems to be interested in the wealth transfer out of Metro Atlanta to rural Georgia, I reckon I will just join the bandwagon blaming the city of Atlanta for all evils in Georgia. The city is the most corrupt in the State, the cops all take money on the side, for providing private security or directing traffic, they are still selling their badges, and that will continue no matter how much the city pays them. The airport is just one big pork barrel for city government to reward it cronies. The failure of the city to maintain its own infrastructure is a self inflicted wound for which I will not pay. The city can fail in all these area’s, and the Metro area outside the city will still be just fine. What will hurt the Metro area is forcing us to pay for the city’s failures. When the city pension funds fail, and they will, do not look to me for a bailout.

Repukes ALL Suck Eggs

October 22nd, 2009
11:38 am

Ghetto Grandpa – The corrupt GDOT clowns have been building beautiful, but seldom used four lane highways all across rural Georgia for the last 40 odd years, again shifting wealth out of metro atlanta and into rural georgia. One of the worst transfers of wealth via GDOT occurred under the stupid old coot, Hill Bully Zell with the Moving-Hill-Bullies-Rapidly-thru-North-Georgia Highway to his property in North Georgia. South Georgia is full of empty 4 land highways, while Metro Atlanta has packed roads, with no hope of relief.

songbird

October 22nd, 2009
11:42 am

I’ve lived in Georgia since 1984, both inside and outside of 285. I prefer inside. I live in the Morningside/Virginia Highland area and I love it there. I’m close to work, the High, Botanical Gardens. I can get to the airport in 20 minutes by bypassing the downtown connector. Etc, etc.

Since I moved here, the metro area has tripled in population but nothing else has really changed. Same roads, traffic light system, etc. The investment in this city to keep up with the population growth has been almost nil. Without this city, Georgia would be a big ZERO. No one is rushing to live in rural Georgia. Get over it, it’s not going to happen.

Also, I fell compelled to comment on the takeover of the State by the GOP. Someone please tell me what has been accomplished since 2002. I would venture to say, absolutely nothing of any consequence. Traffic congestion is worse, the schools are worse, the economy is worse. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. The only thing I can remember the GOP doing is passing gun laws and “Go Fish Georgia” . Yippie.

DannyX

October 22nd, 2009
11:49 am

Example A: Fed up with watching a good chunk of their tax dollars diverted to poorer areas, tax payers demand action. Outraged politicians act. New cities are formed. Milton County is on the verge of coming back to life. Local control-GOOD! Local issues solved!

Example B: Fed up with watching a good chunk of their tax dollars diverted to poorer areas, metro tax payers demand action. Politicians do nothing. State leaders demand cash cow metro-Atlanta grow another nipple to solve all their problems. Say go to hell.

Of course Kyle says its Shirley that needs to go on a begging for dollars tour! Not Sam Olens, no,no. Maybe send a crooked Gwinnett County polititcian too? No, Kyle wants to send Shirley.

Shirley needs to go on tour to explain to the rest of the state why Cobb and Gwinnett need transportation fixes and fast! Those 2 Republican counties are the ones suffering the most. Shirely needs to let the rest of the state in on our regions water and infrastructure problems. Shirley needs to tell rural Georgia that Cobb should have at least 1 trauma center.

Of course metro voters need to just kick back and let Shirley do the talking. There is no need to elect state representatives that allow the poor treatment to continue. Lets elect another Governor with a bias toward Atlanta! As long as there is an (R) next to the name.

Lets put Shirley on tour so they can tell her, “Fix your own damn problems, just keep those entitlement checks coming.” Be sure to let her have it. Express all that anger, then go cash your check.

The Shirley tour is non-sense. The rural/urban issue is not non-sense, its very real. Politicians in this state change political parties to stay in power. Metro residents have the numbers now to elect a Governor that will help Atlanta. We are now in the midst of a 7 year run with someone that goes home bragging about how they bad mouthed the host, messed up the bathroom, and stole the silverware.

Its the Governor who should be giving that state tour! He is the leader of the state. He is elected by us all. He represents us all! Its called LEADERSHIP!

Kyle Wingfield

October 22nd, 2009
12:11 pm

Danny X: You’re of course entitled to think this is an issue for the governor, and of course the governor should work on this. But I explicitly said that suburban Atlanta leaders ought to do the same sort of listening. And I don’t consider it “begging for dollars” as much as looking for ways Atlanta and the rest of the state can work together instead of at odds.

Alvin

October 22nd, 2009
12:13 pm

C’mon y’all……let’s face the truth here….Atlanta is a basket case both politically and economically. And has been for quite sometime. Mostly due to mismanagement & corrupt local politicos. Remember when the mayor wanted to tax people that didn’t live in Atlanta but worked in Atlanta because they need the revenue? (Oh yeah, I won’t even mention the crime rate…..)

Atlanta for years has tried to lord over the rest of the state. Much to the chagrin of rural Georgians. Furthermore, whatever sense of history the city has ever had has been destroyed a thousand times over. Thus, the loss of identity. It’ll be like Detroit in a few years, wait & see.

There are still a few good things about Atlanta…….but unfortunately I can only count them on one hand.

Repukes ALL Suck Eggs

October 22nd, 2009
12:20 pm

Instead of looking at ways to get more tax dollars, local governments should be looking to use their current tax dollars better. All governments benefited greatly from the shame run up in property taxes based on inflated bubble housing prices, but instead of saving that money, or better yet rolling back tax rates, they all wasted it. Now that housing prices are dropping, the crooked guvs are trying to maintain the tax revenue stream, and demand more. Cut em off. Time to reverse that waste, take the knife and cut, cut, cut guv employment and benefits NOW. In other words, fire em to the left, fire em to the right, fire em down the center too. That includes the worthless school systems, which can start by firing all the phys ed teachers and coaches.