State lawmaker to Gwinnett commissioners: Vote for this tax increase, and you’re gone by year’s end

One of the most influential lawmakers in the Legislature weighed in on the Gwinnett County Commission’s proposal to raise property taxes by a minimum of 25 percent.

And he’s not happy.

Senate Rules Chairman Don Balfour of Snellville. Kimberly Smith/AJC

Senate Rules Chairman Don Balfour of Snellville. Kimberly Smith/AJC

The message from state Sen. Don Balfour (R-Snellville): A tax increase in one of the most Republican counties in the state will cost all five commissioners their jobs.

“If they pass this on Tuesday, they will not last to the end of the year. A recall is hard to do. In this case, it would be easy to do,” the lawmaker said.

Balfour is chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and controls much of the legislation that passes through the General Assembly. He said that by passing the tax increase, the commission threatens the standing of every other Republican elected official in Gwinnett.

Balfour conceded that the commission had met the letter of state law, which requires three public hearings before a vote. But he didn’t think two public hearings held yesterday met the spirit of things.

“To have two of the meetings on the day after Memorial Day?” he asked. A third hearing will be held next Tuesday, before the scheduled commission vote.

“They need to do crowd control at the next one. There may be 1,000 people there. Talk about a tea party,” Balfour said.

Here’s a report on yesterday’s hearings from my AJC colleague Pat Fox.

If you see Balfour in the next day or so, give him a pat on the back. Not for stuff above — he’s got his position, you’ve got yours. But Balfour just saw his 22-year-old son Trey off for Afghanistan this past weekend. Never did anything harder, he said. Never was prouder.

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[...] Rules Committee Chairman Don Balfour had this to say about a proposed 25 – 30% millage rate increase in Gwinnett: “If they pass this on Tuesday, they [...]


May 27th, 2009
8:01 pm

Conservatives from all over the Metro need to descend on that next meeting with signs aplenty and surround the building.

Braves GM

May 27th, 2009
8:23 pm

They need to recall all those scumbags anyway.
3 of them are about as dirty as they come.


May 27th, 2009
8:38 pm

FreedomWorks is sponsoring a protest Monday at 7pm in Gwinnett to oppose this tax increase. I am waiting on word of getting a permit approved before the location will be publicized. Atlanta Tea Party Patriots is sponsoring it as well.


May 27th, 2009
9:19 pm

All 5 commissioners need to voluntarely roll back their salaries 20 percent for even suggestion such an increase! The sound like our tax and spend congress.


May 27th, 2009
9:23 pm

“All 5 commissioners need to voluntarely roll back their salaries 20 percent for even suggestion such an increase”

WRONG!!!!! All commissioners need to work FOR FREE FOR THE BALANCE OF THE TERMS in order to pay for their display of blatant stupidity. Then, give each one a mandatory one week of real community service. THEN fire them.


May 27th, 2009
9:27 pm

This is total BS….it’s a scam to pretend this is about public safety in order to get the citizens behind it. I hope that the permit is approved …if so where in Gwinnett is the protest going to be?

Soccer Fan

May 27th, 2009
9:31 pm

The commissioners have failed to decrease the illegal alien population in Gwinnett county! The children of illegal aliens have driven up the cost of education while decreasing the quality of education received by the children of US citizens.

Bannister is all talk and no action on the issue of illegal aliens. Throw all the bums out and get us some commissioners that won’t waste money on baseball stadiums that overrun their budget and overpaying for land to develop parks.

We need vehicle stops to check for drivers licenses and insurance! Find some way to get rid of all these illegal aliens. We will have Mexican drug cartels running drugs out of every neighborhood in Gwinnett.

Bannister has been worthless on this issue.


May 27th, 2009
9:31 pm

Could he please take the GCPS school board and Superintendent with him ?


May 27th, 2009
9:34 pm

Why don’t all you dumb hicks just go all the way and demand that you start paying NO taxes? That way the schools can shut down, you won’t get clean water, the roads won’t get repaired, and when someone breaks into your house you’ll have no police responding to your pleas for help.

Sick of it

May 27th, 2009
9:41 pm

Get your boots on people. Just like Washington. Hey did you know how we are funding our new health plan? Well its by taxing your benfits health plans at work. They want to tax it like salary. Now you can work for you healthcare and pay taxes on it so others who wont work can get theirs free. THERE IS NOTHING FREE, Just ask my paycheck as it dwindles down to where I can make my bills anymore. I am taxed to dealth and I am quite sick of it. Where are all the working peoples voices. Come on, its time to yell bigger then any of them.


May 27th, 2009
9:43 pm

Wasn’t Sen. Balfour one of the Leaders pushing the increase in the sales tax along with Lt. Gov. Cagle? Why can he raise taxes but not the county? His position is two-faced.


May 27th, 2009
9:45 pm

Looks like the commissioners are pulling a FAST ONE on Gwinnett residents by scheduling the last PUBLIC MEETING at 10:30 am next Tuesday! They know that the public has to WORK unlike the commissioners.

What a bunch of losers to schedule a meeting when very few can attend!


May 27th, 2009
9:47 pm

Hey ‘W’.. let me try to say this in a way that you can understand.. READ the facts, or if you can’t read, ask someone with a clue to read it for you. Bannister and the rest need to go. Term limits need to apply. I think our founding fathers would also prefer something of this magnitude (that means size) go to a public vote.. One person one one vote. You may have missed that day in school..


May 27th, 2009
9:53 pm

Hey W you just showed your level of intelligence. Because we don’t want to be taxed to death we’re hicks? This is nothing but a scam and I don’t see anyone saying they don’t want to pay “no taxes”. As far as someone breaking into my house been there, done that the cops finally came out 30-45 minutes after I called and only called for the police report for the insurance carrier. We weren’t home when they did it. I guess you think we should just work for the government, give them all of our money and let them decide how to spend it? I don’t think so.

Enough is enough

May 27th, 2009
9:56 pm

Hey W. I am not rich by any means. Both my husband and I work hard, 60 hours a week or more. They take over 45% of our money. Thats sill not enough. At the end of the year I always have to caugh up more. Exactly how much is enough in your opinion. Why dont I just give them my whole damn paycheck. Will you be happy then. Making what we make and having the bills that we do (not many) there is no reason why we cant be saving for our retirement but you know what? Theres nothing left. So until you want to give away your entire check I would suggest that someone else start cutting back.

Government plans and social programs dont work. They are full of fraud and corruption. Most of the people in the social programs right now are not qualified to be working there. Hardly any of them have a degree in social work. They have no degree in business. They spend and spend and spend. The welfare system has more working middle class on it then the poor. I dont know many poor people that can drive BMW’s and still collect welfare but I see it every day of my life. I dont know why there are 10 people to a house all getting food stamps and welfare checks and they make more then I do. But they are considered poor. Give me a break. Add in the free housing and tax credits at the end of the year and no wonder they wont work. They dont have to. We working people continue to work and pay half our salary for this to happen day in and day out. Add in their benefits of healthcare and I am just plain sick of it. Then here comes Obama and taxes 50% on smokers as they do every so many years. Its discrimination on smokers. No I dont smoke. So get your head out of your but and go see where the money is really being spent.

Billions of stimulas money to research pig stink. I can save the government billions, Pigs stink because they are pigs. There, enough said.


May 27th, 2009
10:01 pm

This has been building over the last few years. Projects that have been recommended for denial by P&Z have been approved by the BOC. Two cases in point: The apartment complex on Satellite Road near Morningview AND the Legacy Academy Daycare on Suwanee Dam Road were approved by the BOC after attorney Mike Sullivan threatened lawsuits in both cases. The BOC has no guts nor did they want to waste money on lawsuits. Beaudreau voted against the apartments. Building permits are way down. Also, the stadium deal just smells bad. Now we are all paying for the $63M mistake.
Burt Nasuti pushed the Braves deal in a horrible economic climate. Bad move, Burt. Nasuto also said and I quote, ” isn’t there a daycare on Peachtree Industrial near residential?” YEAH, P.I.B is a 4 lane with a turning lane. The Legacy Academy is on a 2 lane curve and an incline. I believe the B.O.C has lost any sense of reality,overall.


May 27th, 2009
10:09 pm

If they raise my property taxes 25% I’ll be out of Gwinnett 3 years earlier than already planned!!! I’ll be at the protest….these scumbags have got to go.

W. You’re an idiot, plain and simple.

RB from Gwinnett

May 27th, 2009
10:09 pm

W, you are a typical liberal who has absolutely no idea whats really going on in your government and in the world in general. Do yourself a favor and either start getting your news from somewhere other than MSNBC and the AJC or please stop voting. There is nothing more damaging to a democracy than the ability for ignorant people to vote.

Button Gwinnett

May 27th, 2009
10:09 pm

Republicans suck. They have mismanaged on the federal, state and local level! Throw the bums out and replace ‘em with democrats. “Tax and Spend?” Riiiiiiiiiight…that’s what the Republicans do best…throw ‘me out!


May 27th, 2009
10:14 pm

Button Gwinnett…..give us all a break. All of them need to be thrown out not just the repubs…at every level of government.


May 27th, 2009
10:18 pm

What are county governments supposed to do? The Republican majority took millions of dollars away from cities and counties under the false promise of a bogus tax cut. They increased the requirements they placed on them and didn’t care at all about taxpayers. The services still have to be provided. The only people to blame for this tax increase are Sonny Perdue and the Republican legislature. Common sense hopefully will prevail in 2010 and this eight year disaster of a Republican governor and majority will forever end.

RB from Gwinnett

May 27th, 2009
10:18 pm

Button, it’s crap like this from republican leadership that cost them the last 2 elections. These are republicans on this board angry with this tax and spend crap and they’re the same people who want the party to return to conservative principles. Don’t kid yourself that any of them would ever vote for a democrat, which would be worse, as a solution to the problem. We’re not as simple minded as you.


May 27th, 2009
10:21 pm

We don’t want an end to taxes, we just don’t want an increase.

Mr. Obvious

May 27th, 2009
10:21 pm

Two words…Fair Tax!! Solves the tax increase on the citizens and gets some tax dollars from the illegals. A consumption tax levels the playing field for all!!


May 27th, 2009
10:23 pm

We need to look into Fairtax. Or have a revolution as I do not see things looking better anytime soon. God, please watch over us all as we need you now more than ever!!! Amen.

Republican's Worst Nightmare

May 27th, 2009
10:30 pm

Republicans are so self-righteous. They are always up in arms about high taxes, because it supposedly goes to the poor (undeserved). Yet they claim the high moral ground cloaked in Christianity.

They all think alike and that is why we know some are not thinking. Like lemmings to a cliff they make their leap.

They are dumber than a bag of Georgia clay.


May 27th, 2009
10:42 pm

I saw this coming last November and none of the above recieved my vote. I guess I missed the Kool-Aid party during the campaign. Shame on the voters for electing this bunch.


May 27th, 2009
11:09 pm

Our commissioners in Gwinnett are REALLY failing to be fiscally conservative – Rush & friends would be raving!

I’m not against modest increases in taxes to pay for necessary services. But the only reason there are budget shortfalls this year is because the crazies on the Gwinnett County Commission decided to build a stadium with taxpayer money without asking (that was responsible) and tried to “streamline” garbage pick up by mandating that we all use the same company (resulting in lawsuits to end the trash socialism).

The taxpayers should not have to pay for the commission’s mishandling of OUR money. Tell them to roll back those salary increases they gave themselves last term instead!


May 27th, 2009
11:32 pm

shame on charles bannister and other losers.
these worthless tax and spend idiots have to be kicked out NOW.


May 27th, 2009
11:52 pm

There is no such thing as Democrat/Republican at the local level. It is all just politics. I do not have 25% more to give them to get 0% increase in services. Every business is having to cut costs and so must our government.

Sorry, but if we have to close water parks, libraries, and other truly non essential programs for a while then do so. Open them back up when we have the money. I have had to give up plenty already.


If Balfour wants to help, then call a special session to allow them to use SPLOST for operating for a while and stop building capital projects that we can’t afford to operate.

Also, the County must work closer with the 15 cities in this County that are also providing services, especially public safety.

W Plus Plus Plus

May 27th, 2009
11:58 pm

Balfour is a politically correct wannabe idiot. (He seeks to be heir to Linder’s throne as the do-nothing “can’t-pass-the-FairTax-during-the-Republican-salad-days” dentist retires.) Gwinnett County has been fiscally conservative — despite increasing demand, it has not increased expenditures — so the criticism here is both misplaced and ill-informed.


May 28th, 2009
12:28 am

I guess that extra $15 in my payroll check from the DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT will now go towards the REPUBLICAN GWINNETT COUNTY COMMISSION TAX INCREASE…..


May 28th, 2009
12:57 am

remember that the gwinnett police officers get to take their police vehicle home as if it were their personal vehicle…how much money couldve been saved during the days of 4 dolar a gallon gas if the county had not subsidized their commutes? That doesn’t even take into account the cost of depreciation on a vehicle that may be driven all the way out to oconee county on a daily basis. If they want to cut costs, let them cut the police’s take home vehicle budget.


May 28th, 2009
12:59 am

If they would sentence illegals to a few years at hard labor on road projects and THEN deport them there would either be zero illegal immigration or a lot of traffic relief.


May 28th, 2009
1:05 am

All of the current commissioners belong in jail. A stupid stadium, tax breaks for empty strip malls, more apartments and Wal-Marts and nothing to really help the tax base.


May 28th, 2009
1:10 am

Agreed…the stadium and the minor league team are nothing but ego boosters…why couldnt they have just stopped with the gladiators? Their hubris has them flying too close to the sun. I hope it doesnt melt their wings.


May 28th, 2009
1:41 am




Strike 2

May 28th, 2009
2:34 am

Garbage fiasco – Strike 1
25% tax increase – Strike 2

This is probably to offset some of the property valuation decreases, but the expenditures need to shrink with the loical ability to pay and economy


May 28th, 2009
4:46 am

Sounds like contractors in Gwinnett will be waiting even longer for their checks from the county.


May 28th, 2009
6:17 am

Heres your tax cut, merge the Ginnett County Police Back into the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department, this will reduce duplicate service and place the police force under “Elected Officials”. And of course recall the entire BOC and fire the County Administrator.


May 28th, 2009
6:22 am

What can be done about the all the illegal aliens living here in Gwinnett county? Can’t these commissioners work with state legislators and our Congressmen to find a way to move them out of Gwinnett? Bannister hasn’t done one thing to solve this problem and we are paying through the nose to educate the children of illegal aliens!

How about the public housing near GA-20 and Simonton Road? Full of illegal aliens when this housing should be used for US citizens.

I’m tired of all these illegal aliens driving around town without drivers licenses and car insurance. Do something to solve this problem or leave so someone else can work towards a solution. That goes for the state legislature also.


May 28th, 2009
6:27 am

I didn’t know that John Goodman was a state senator.


May 28th, 2009
6:30 am

“I didn’t know that John Goodman was a state senator”

That’s an insult to Goodman, he has more gray matter in his testicles than balfour has in his skull.
Let’s see how many REALLY take morons like balfour to task & drive them out of office. Over/under?


May 28th, 2009
6:31 am

Hmmmmmmmmm……. let’s see, spent 400 million for a stadium, that no one wanted, except their contractor buddies…….. and then to now, state that they have to raise property taxes 25%… to cover the shortfall….. and threaten to reduce fire and police services…….how short-sighted can they be?

Mitch Kumstein

May 28th, 2009
7:14 am

“Hmmmmmmmmm……. let’s see, spent 400 million for a stadium, that no one wanted, except their contractor buddies.”

It was actually $60 Million plus, but point is taken.

This group of commissioners has had the smell of corruption from the beginning . Might as well send them home early.

The Voice

May 28th, 2009
7:28 am

Hey W…why don’t you go to the protest or the public hearing and tell all of us “hicks” who you are and what you said. See how that works out for you.

Mr. Tibbs

May 28th, 2009
7:52 am

Let it be known that Gwinnett is actually trying to conduct an hostile takeover of the City’s police department and start answering calls in the cities of Lawrenceville, Snellville, Duluth, etc. This is why they are saying that they need almost 400 new officers. I dont know about you, but I rather have a 3 minute response time by the city police than a 45 minute response time by GCPD.


May 28th, 2009
7:58 am

Thanks Mitch Kumstein, 400 million was meant “toungue-n-cheek”………… besides, what’s 60 million among friends…….

Veronica Jackson

May 28th, 2009
8:21 am

Balfour really is an idiot. He stuck his finger in the air and saw which way the wind was blowing. This is his history. All he cares about is positioning himself for Linder’s seat in Congress. He has been traveling around this year to get in the news. He will be running next year for Linder’s seat. Politics – very sad! For us! Boortz says to throw them all out. That should include Don Balfour !!!