In defense of Georgia’s tax-credit scholarships

This month the Wingfield household, like millions of others across America, has received a growing number of tax documents. Among them are forms certifying that we gave $50 to this charity or $100 to that one, allowing us to reduce what we owe in taxes.

What neither we nor the IRS will receive is official documentation that our church converted X number of non-believers into Christians, or that a charity we supported decreased poverty or sexual exploitation by a quantifiable amount. Or that everyone who benefited from our donations earned less than a certain amount of income.

Yet, similar bits of data are being requested of one of the kinds of non-profits we could have supported but didn’t: Georgia’s student scholarship organizations.

These SSOs accept donations from Georgia taxpayers, who can then reduce their state income taxes by an equal amount — up to a limit for all donors of about $50 million per year, or one-quarter of 1 percent of all revenues the state expects to collect this year. They then give the money to private schools, which in turn award scholarships to students.

Many claims are made about these so-called tax-credit scholarships. The most easily dismissed is that this is the state’s money.

“The United States Supreme Court ruled, clearly, that this is not tax money,” says Rep. Earl Ehrhart, the Powder Springs Republican who sponsored the 2008 bill that authorized SSOs and these tax credits. He refers to the court’s 2011 ruling in two cases involving Arizona’s tax-credit scholarships.

Indeed, the opinion authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy states: “When Arizona taxpayers choose to contribute to STOs [the equivalent of Georgia’s SSOs], they spend their own money, not money the state has collected from respondents or from other taxpayers.”

Given that ruling, it’s not clear Georgia has to report anything about donations to SSOs — any more than it should report how much Georgians give to churches, synagogues or mosques, groups that fight hunger and poverty, groups that promote the arts or conservation, or any others.

Still, Ehrhart has filed a bill this year, HB 140, that would, among other things, raise the annual cap to $80 million but require public reporting of some aggregated information about SSOs: the number and value of donations made by individuals and corporations, as well as the number and value of scholarships awarded.

That last bit of data could help prove what SSO advocates have long argued: that these scholarships actually save tax money, because the average award amount is less than what public schools spend per pupil.

Scholarship recipients’ family income is another matter. Ehrhart says the program “was never sold” as one meant to benefit only low-income students, though he argues they are bound to be the greatest beneficiaries.

“You don’t give [scholarships] to rich kids,” says Ehrhart, who serves as the unpaid head of an SSO called Faith First Georgia. “Why would you take your limited money and do that?”

And, getting back to the original point, means-testing would represent a level of scrutiny not applied to other charities and their donors.

Speaking of scrutiny, a newer complaint about tax-credit scholarships is that some private schools receiving money from SSOs have policies, for religious reasons, that prohibit gay students.

But as the Supreme Court recognized, these donations are private gifts, not public money. There is no conflict here with public discrimination policies any more than when Georgians make tax-deductible gifts to other religious entities with similar views.

Barring these tax credits based on some private schools’ faith-based guidelines for students could, however, set a precedent for attacking the tax-deductibility of all gifts to religious groups.

As for claims that some donors and private schools are finding ways to make sure contributions are earmarked for specific students, including the donors’ own children, Ehrhart points out that practice is illegal — and encourages anyone with knowledge of law-breaking by specific SSOs, donors or schools to contact their district attorney.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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293 comments Add your comment

Gimme Gimme Gimme

January 31st, 2013
5:30 am

Kyle is up early today!

Wilbur

January 31st, 2013
6:03 am

I gave to an SSO for a school that provides services to kids with autism. There was nothing that tells me that any particular child benefitted. I love this program and hope it’s expanded. It’s good for kids and good for Georgia.
The educrats that oppose all change might get a clue and stop being obstuctionists for all change.

cellophane

January 31st, 2013
6:21 am

If it is as simple as you say, Kyle, then why are the SSOs even needed? Let these private schools operate thir own nonprofit foundations to collect deductible donations, just like other charities. Many schools already do this.

Georgia , The "New Mississippi"

January 31st, 2013
6:56 am

Our GOP Johnny Reb Legislature’s low morals and misguided value systems will keep our state on the collision course for implosion.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 31st, 2013
6:59 am

Lower cost with better performance than the public education system – no wonder the libs are screeching. That’s one of their fiefdoms under attack.

Ronnie Raygun

January 31st, 2013
7:25 am

Given your examples at the beginning of your editorial, you don’t know the difference between a tax DEDUCTION and a tax CREDIT. You could always take a deduction for donating to a private, non-profit school. What other type of charitable donation do you get a tax credit for again?

BTW: I know the IRS is a big boogeyman to Cons, but it’s a STATE tax credit and has nothing to do with the IRS.

Thomas Heyward Jr

January 31st, 2013
7:30 am

I’m all for helping children escape government schools .
I don’t even think that government should be involved in our children’s education unless one freely chooses to accept that but……………………….isn’t a tax CREDIT different than a tax DEDUCTION?
.
The proper way to do this would be for anyone that pays the tuition to a private school should get a tax credit or deduction for that amount.
All other donations should be considered a charitble donation.

middle of the road

January 31st, 2013
7:37 am

Ronnie Raygun has it correct – if these are tax CREDITS (as I believe they are), then the taxpayer incurs no penalty whatsoever in choosing to give. His tax goes down the exact amount that he donates. It essentially allowing the taxpayer to choose where his taxes go to. Why not have the exact same thing for education, for example, or for prisons? I would like to earmark a set amount of my taxes for prisons.

The other complaint I have heard is that some of these people making donations are doing so to their child’s school, which funnels the money back to their child’s education – basically a scheme to allow people to designate that their state taxes be used to pay for their kid’s private education.

A Simple Man

January 31st, 2013
7:43 am

As a far right winger, I’m against the government involvement at all. I’m with Cellophane and Heyward Jr. on this one. Let people give to the school of their choice and then let them have their own individual tax returns reflect their donation, tuition and whatever. Don’t send the money to Atlanta or Washington or any other government agency.

independent thinker

January 31st, 2013
7:49 am

One more example of the clowns under the gold dome wasting revenue on right wing religious causes. How many public safety officers or teachers could that 50 million pay for?What’s next -tax credits for donating to anti-abortion causes?How about 50 mllion dollars credit for arming the state militia?

Henne

January 31st, 2013
7:50 am

I thought this was a way for people to deduct their tuition from their state income tax bill. Is that not right? Pretty sure Bookman says it is.

Tom

January 31st, 2013
7:55 am

Explain the run-around where kids that have already been going to the private school enroll in their PUBLIC school (where they will never attend) in order to qualify to receive this ’scholarship’ to their private school.

People need to go back and read the NYT article.

(and don’t get me started on the kooks refusing to teach actual science in their “science” classes)

indigo

January 31st, 2013
7:59 am

“you don’t give scholarships to rich kids”

We do in Georgia.

Thomas Heyward Jr

January 31st, 2013
8:09 am

independent thinker

January 31st, 2013
7:49 am

What’s next -tax credits for donating to anti-abortion causes?
—————————————————————————————-
And why not?
Money is stolen from us to pay for abortions regardless of how strongly we feel about them.
That would seem fair.

SBinF

January 31st, 2013
8:20 am

“Lower cost with better performance than the public education system – no wonder the libs are screeching.”

You know, empirical data on the subject shows just the opposite of what you say….to know such would require reading a number of peer reviewed studies published by leftist college professors though.

I’m assuming you don’t read very much.

d

January 31st, 2013
8:23 am

I get very leery any time I see the state offering credits. If they want to give you a deduction for a charitable donation, fine, but this credit is nothing more than a thinly designed veil to harm Gerogia’s 1.6 million public school children by reducing the money available to them and sending it (in whatever manner) to unaccountable schools.

Bob

January 31st, 2013
8:36 am

SBinF, I would like to see that data. My kid went to Catholic school and her tuition was close to half what the per pupil spending is in APS.

Bob

January 31st, 2013
8:37 am

SBinF, one more point, if you are correct then why do so many public school teachers send their kids to privates ?

rwcole

January 31st, 2013
8:40 am

And the party of me, me, me strikes again.

SBinF

January 31st, 2013
8:42 am

A quick Google search turns up a number of options, here is just one of them:

http://www.edline.com/uploads/pdf/PrivateSchoolsReport.pdf

Core Findings
The study found that low-income students from urban public high schools generally did as
well academically and on long-term indicators as their peers from private high schools, once
key family background characteristics were considered. In particular, the study determined
that when family background was taken into account, the following findings emerged:
1. Students attending independent private high schools, most types of parochial high
schools, and public high schools of choice performed no better on achievement tests
in math, reading, science, and history than their counterparts in traditional public
high schools.
2. Students who had attended any type of private high school ended up no more likely to
attend college than their counterparts at traditional public high schools.
3. Young adults who had attended any type of private high school ended up with no
more job satisfaction at age 26 than young adults who had attended traditional public high schools.
4. Young adults who had attended any type of private high school ended up no more
engaged in civic activities at age 26 than young adults who had attended traditional
public high schools.

This study did identify two exceptions to this general finding. The primary exception is that
students who attended independent private high schools had higher SAT scores than public school students, which gave independent school students an advantage in getting into
elite colleges. (These independent private schools enroll many students from affluent families and are often expensive and fairly elite themselves, with tuitions as high as $30,000 a
year.) This finding suggests that while these schools are no better at teaching the subject matter, they may provide students with test-taking skills that help them further their education,
or they may enroll students with higher IQs (aptitude tests like the SAT are a better measure of IQ than achievement tests are).
A second exception is that one special type of private school, Catholic schools run by
holy orders (such as Jesuit schools), did have some positive academic effects. There are
very few such schools, however; most Catholic schools are run by their diocese, not by
an order (Meyer, 2007).
————————————–
As to your second question, Bob, that’s completely anecdotal. My mom was a public school teacher, and I attended public schools and turned out just fine (I graduated from GT and am currently pursuing my master’s at the same institution). So again, anecdotes do not negate numbers.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 31st, 2013
8:49 am

SB – You are correct, I do not read left wing claptrap written by college professors. What’s the point? All you have to do is look at what is written by some columnists at the urinal and what is said by the current “president” of the United States to understand that things like the truth and cold hard facts matter not at all to your typical liberal. Do you want to know what is real or do you want to have something sung to you, affirming the life of folly in which you are being led around by the nose?

Plus, there are many things that cannot be measured but are outcomes that are plain to see. Is your kid being taught to be a mannered, thoughtful, responsible and respectful individual or is he being shown the ways of the in your face collective brutalization of this society and it’s culture?

Not everyone wants their kid to be a government dependent moron.

SBinF

January 31st, 2013
8:56 am

Right, so you admit that you won’t subscribe to facts and logic, if it runs counter to your world view.

You were probably one of the one’s declaring that Romney would win in a landslide, despite all the data to the contrary.

SBinF

January 31st, 2013
8:57 am

“Not everyone wants their kid to be a government dependent moron.”

Did you learn about ad hominem attacks or false dichotomies with your private school education?

Kyle Wingfield

January 31st, 2013
9:15 am

Ronnie Raygun @ 7:25: “Given your examples at the beginning of your editorial, you don’t know the difference between a tax DEDUCTION and a tax CREDIT.”

What I wrote: “Among them are forms certifying that we gave $50 to this charity or $100 to that one, allowing us to reduce what we owe in taxes.”

And then: “These SSOs accept donations from Georgia taxpayers, who can then reduce their state income taxes by an equal amount …”

See the difference? I phrased them differently because, in fact, I do know the difference between a deduction and a credit. Now here’s a question: Other than the ratio of the money given to the reduced tax payment, what’s the difference wrt this issue? Would it be all-OK for you if the Legislature simply changed it to a deduction, with a maximum allowable benefit that’s the same as the current credit?

Somehow, I think not.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 31st, 2013
9:15 am

SB – It’s a pretty well known fact that most public school curriculum is not geared towards the advancement of the student but is instead used to advance the agenda of the radical left wingers in charge of the school. Just look at any textbook. It’s wonderful that little Johny was able to correctly choose America as the villain in World War 2, give little Johny an A+.

However, this doesn’t mean that little Johny is “smart.”

SBinF

January 31st, 2013
9:19 am

“SB – It’s a pretty well known fact that most public school curriculum is not geared towards the advancement of the student but is instead used to advance the agenda of the radical left wingers in charge of the school. Just look at any textbook. It’s wonderful that little Johny was able to correctly choose America as the villain in World War 2, give little Johny an A+.”

And throw in a strawman too. Who in heavens names the U.S. as the villain in WWII?

Are you trolling me? I just posted some data that supports the argument that private schools are no better at educating students than public schools based on many standard metrics.

Mary Elizabeth

January 31st, 2013
9:20 am

All of the arguments put forth in Kyle Wingfield’s editorial are technically valid. However, something beyond the technical is going on with this scholarship movement.

I am old enough to remember the segregated South and I remember how private schools flourished, legally and technically, in that era in order that white kids would not have to go to school with black kids, and I also remember when Lester Maddox stood in the doorway of in his privately-owned restaurant, barring all black people from being patrons of his restaurant.

I am not stating that this scholarship movement is racist in intent, or even that it represents a simple black-white issue, today. However, I do believe that it is a back-handed way of enhancing private schools in Georgia, at the expense of public schools, which must educate all of Georgia’s students. For example, if a given contributor to the scholarship fund is able to reduce his state taxes by the $2,500. that he contributed to private school scholarships, then public money, in the form of state taxes designed to serve the common good, is further reduced by that same amount.

Kyle Wingfield

January 31st, 2013
9:23 am

middle of the road @ 7:37: “The other complaint I have heard is that some of these people making donations are doing so to their child’s school, which funnels the money back to their child’s education – basically a scheme to allow people to designate that their state taxes be used to pay for their kid’s private education.”

That’s illegal. This response goes for your question, too, Henne.

There are people who claim this is happening, but they never seem to have any details. If they do, then as I wrote in the column, they should contact their local prosecutor. Otherwise, I assume this is just another way for them to gin up opposition to a program they dislike for other reasons.

Kyle Wingfield

January 31st, 2013
9:25 am

d @ 8:23: Why is this not a charitable donation? And, because money is fungible, any measure that reduces revenues is, in theory, a way to reduce money available for education, or prisons, or health care, or what have you. If that’s your standard, you should oppose all deductions and credits.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 31st, 2013
9:29 am

SB – It was you who initiated this discussion, remember? Try to remain calm.

I, not too long ago, had a discussion with a recent college grad over the merits of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. I use the term discussion loosely because this young man became enraged, like any typical liberal would, I quickly ended the discussion when it became apparent that no amount of reason was going to penetrate through the brainwashing. This kid had no idea of the crimes against humanity committed by Japan nor of any of the multitudes of estimates showing that the bombs saved some 900,000 lives.

There is a reason why America is ranked 27th in the world in education, it’s because we don’t have an education system. Why do we need immigrants to fill the high tech jobs?

Kyle Wingfield

January 31st, 2013
9:36 am

Mary Elizabeth @ 9:20: The tax credits are not directly linked to public education funding. So, if you want to analyze the credits in this manner, you’d have to assume that, of that $2,500, only about $1,250 would, in theory, have gone to public education. So, arguably, this contributor is ensuring that more of his money is being spent on education — in all forms — than if he didn’t take the credit.

But even that theory doesn’t tell the whole story: QBE funding is one of the few areas of the state budget not being cut this year. So, one might argue that, this year, a $1,000 donation to an SSO means a $1,000 net increase in funding for education in all forms.

Now, I’m sure you don’t see it this way, because I’m sure you consider only that lessons taught in public-school classrooms count as the “common good.” But do you not believe that society benefits from private-school educations as well? Don’t the recipients of those educations help to make goods, provide services and, yes, pay taxes? The actual common good wrt education is seeing that everyone gets the best education possible for them. For some people, and not only rich people, that best education possible will come from somewhere other than traditional public schools. If this program helps more people access the best education possible for them, then isn’t that serving the common good? Particularly if, by taking advantage of one of the scholarships funded by these programs, that student is educated at less of a cost to taxpayers? (And before someone brings up the overhead argument: Overhead — buildings, buses, utilities, etc. — is generally paid for by local tax revenues, which aren’t touched at all by this program.)

Kyle Wingfield

January 31st, 2013
9:37 am

Heading to the Capitol now. I’ll try to answer more questions as soon as I have a chance.

SBinF

January 31st, 2013
9:38 am

There is a good bit of scholarship on the atomic bombings in Japan coming out recently. The war was, in effect, already over and Japan was prepared to surrender. The U.S. dropped the bomb as a show of force to the Soviets.

If you’re interested, I can point you to some books on the subject. Something tells me though that you don’t do a lot of reading.

md

January 31st, 2013
9:38 am

“you don’t give scholarships to rich kids”

Why not? In the old days, scholarships were also rewards for doing well, regardless of how much money mommy and daddy had. The idea is to reward the student for making the right choices and excelling in school…….

Rafe Hollister preparing for an Obamanist America

January 31st, 2013
9:39 am

If there were no government schools, how would our children get their liberal indoctrination and learn to be loyal workers for the proletarian society? Who would buy the Prius, change out their light bulbs, and support the Democrats? That could be one answer to the Libs rabid support of the government schools, or it could be the ole envy gene kicking in. Could be, they are just envious of those, who grow up independent of government, able to think on their feet, and able to become successful, without a government program.

Education money collected by the State, should be given back to the parents, and the parents should pick the school their children attend. These intermediate steps all involve government, and are therefore subject to the inefficiency, mismanagement, waste, lobbying, and political machinations that are always present, when government is involved in the process.

We need to insulate our little crumb crunchers, as much as we can, from the harmful effects of government.

Rafe Hollister preparing for an Obamanist America

January 31st, 2013
9:39 am

If there were no government schools, how would our children get their liberal indoctrination and learn to be loyal workers for the proletarian society? Who would buy the Prius, change out their light bulbs, and support the Democrats? That could be one answer to the Libs rabid support of the government schools, or it could be the ole envy gene kicking in. Could be, they are just envious of those, who grow up independent of government, able to think on their feet, and able to become successful, without a government program.

Education money collected by the State, should be given back to the parents, and the parents should pick the school their children attend. These intermediate steps all involve government, and are therefore subject to the inefficiency, mismanagement, waste, lobbying, and political machinations that are always present, when government is involved in the process.

We need to insulate our little crumb crunchers, as much as we can, from the harmful effects of government.

Bruno

January 31st, 2013
9:40 am

This kid had no idea of the crimes against humanity committed by Japan nor of any of the multitudes of estimates showing that the bombs saved some 900,000 lives.

Per the estimated lives saved by dropping the atomic bomb, that’s open to interpretation. With the invasion of Japan from the north by the Russkies underway already in 1945, many people feel that the end of the war was imminent. In fact, many feel that the bombs were detonated more as a warning to Russia than to hasten the end of the conflict with the Japs.

Rafe Hollister preparing for an Obamanist America

January 31st, 2013
9:42 am

Sorry about the double post, never had that happen before. Usually the system catches those duplicate comments.

But, it is probably worth reading twice! Hah!

Kyle maybe you can pull one of them down?

Bruno

January 31st, 2013
9:43 am

Ooops–SBinF beat me to the punch @ 9:38. I’ll have to type more quickly next time. ;-)

md

January 31st, 2013
9:48 am

” The war was, in effect, already over and Japan was prepared to surrender.”

Yet Japan hadn’t told their enemies the news……..much like Vietnam, they were on their last legs too, and instead of finishing them off we quit and headed for home due to overwhelming propaganda back home……….

ad

January 31st, 2013
9:48 am

Kyle – “That’s illegal…contact your local prosecutor.”
You do know that people who do illegal things go to great lengths to cover them up so they won’t get caught and we have this statement from your own paper:
Parents, however, have received misleading information from program supporters, the SEF says, pointing to comments state Rep. David Casas, R-Lilburn, made during a seminar with private school parents in December 2009.

“You can take this chunk of money and be able to say, ‘I want this money to go to education, and not just education, I want it to go to the school of my choice, and maybe even more detailed — the student of my choice,’ ” Casas told the parents.

So, there are 2 issues. 1)Is the current law being violated? Based on the statement by Casas, it appears it may. and 2) Is it really constitutional? A different Supreme Court might realize that tax revenue lost through these credits, no matter how you spin it, funds schools that discriminate and transfers the tax burden for supporting public education to others.

You can call them tax credits, but they’re really just vouchers designed to further undermine public education, a conservative goal ever since the first portable building “Christian” schools went up in the days when Civil Rights laws began to be passed and enforced.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 31st, 2013
9:50 am

Monday morning quarterbacking is what passes for intellect nowadays, eh?

The largest and bloodiest American battle came at Okinawa, as the U.S. sought airbases for 3000 B-29 bombers and 240 squadrons of B-17 bombers for the intense bombardment Japan’s home islands in preparation for a full-scale invasion in late 1945. The Japanese, with 115,000 troops augmented by thousands of civilians on the heavily populated island, did not resist on the beaches—their strategy was to maximize the number of soldier and Marine casualties, and naval losses from Kamikaze attacks. After an intense bombardment the Americans landed on 1 April 1945 and declared victory on 21 June.[85] The supporting naval forces were the targets for 4,000 sorties, many by Kamikaze suicide planes. U.S. losses totaled 38 ships of all types sunk and 368 damaged with 4,900 sailors killed. The Americans suffered 75,000 casualties on the ground; 94% of the Japanese soldiers died along with many civilians.

I would have dropped that bomb to.

SBinF

January 31st, 2013
9:55 am

Monday morning quarterbacking?

So, basically you take issue with the entire study of history. Excellent. Aesop I find that you are a prime example for why we need widespread and easily available public education. A critical look at the past is a great thing.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 31st, 2013
9:59 am

When “the study of history” concludes that America was wrong, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, yes, I take issue with it. Hate me, if you must.

SBinF

January 31st, 2013
10:01 am

Who said America was wrong?

History doesn’t evaluate based on right and wrong. Those are subjective measures, and true historians don’t assess the world in such a way.

md

January 31st, 2013
10:05 am

“So, basically you take issue with the entire study of history.”

I think a lot of that history includes fighting on one’s home turf when things change drastically. It’s one thing to drive the Japanese out of territory they claimed or from satellite/isolated locations, but quite another when taking on the mothership and a nation full of people…..

As a mentioned above, Vietnam comes to mind…….and we and the Soviets have spent how many years trying to conquer Afghanistan???

Richard

January 31st, 2013
10:05 am

Sorry Kyle, but according to you, this is what the SC said:

“It’s private gift to a school. The fact that the state turns around and gives a deduction on public money owed to the state doesn’t make it any less a private gift.”

Are they friggin joking?

If I go to Publix and buy an apple, I’m paying money to the farmer as well as the supermarket. This is no different.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 31st, 2013
10:06 am

The Americans suffered 75,000 casualties on the ground; 94% of the Japanese soldiers died along with many civilians.

If you don’t use public school math, you will discover that the deaths suffered on ONE ISLAND were more than the COMBINED deaths of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not to mention the fact that NONE of our soldiers died in either bombing.

Some times people can ignore the obvious and go off in search of the insane, which is pretty much the basis of the entire democrat party.

Dumb and Dumber

January 31st, 2013
10:08 am

“Ehrhart points out that practice is illegal — and encourages anyone with knowledge of law-breaking by specific SSOs, donors or schools to contact their district attorney.”

A local district attorney does not have the jurisdiction to pursue someone who cheats on the federal income taxes — and even if they did, they don’t have the resources to take away from more important things, like violent crime, etc.

Let’s face it — the authors of Georgia’s law knew it would never be enforced. So folks who want to get a deduction for their child’s private schooling will get away with it — so what a few thousand here or there is not like paying an ethically challenged state senator $150K to take a job on the public trough. Something like that would never happen in Georgia.

Dusty

January 31st, 2013
10:10 am

This organization is new to me. I thought we were talking about higher education contributions, not local schools. But, no, seems it is for local schools. Charter schools? Not only for the needy? Affluent students need it?

I contribute to my alma mater (a university) but none of my children graduated from there. Were my tax deductions illegal if my children had gone there? (Tax money directed to help my children?)

We have the Hope scholarships formed by Georgia government which soon became plagued with average students getting higher grades in order to get a scholarship. (Teacher efforts.) State universities then added non-credit classes to jack these students up to entrance level preparedness. More expense.

Today’s “assistance program” seems to be a tax problem created by complications in the tax structure in order to help a very small percentage of Georgia citizens. Once again, let us not complicate government by evolving it into every little problem of a small number of people. We should be able to manage lesser problems without expensive government assistance.