Every member of Georgia’s congressional delegation has made sure he’s been seen doing everything he can up in Washington for those in metro Atlanta who have lost their homes to the flood.
But there are constituent services, and then there are constituent services.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis might have made the biggest impression with this letter to Douglas Shulman, commissioner of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service:
I am hopeful that, upon declaration by the President of a state of emergency, the IRS will act quickly to postpone certain tax filing and payment deadlines and waive certain deposit penalties for taxpayers who reside or have businesses in the affected areas.
I am concerned that affected taxpayers may have payroll tax deposits or income tax returns that are due in the next few weeks. In addition, I request that the IRS provide some guidance on what taxpayers should do if they have suffered a casualty loss for property that was damaged or destroyed.
Jack Hill, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, says the impact of the weekend deluge on the state budget won’t be known for several weeks, but he doubts that any losses will be big enough to require a special session of the Legislature.
“We’ve got more questions than we do answers,” the Reidsville lawmaker said. “We won’t know what the emergency declaration will bring until it actually happens. There’s no guess as to what we actually might get. So there are more unknowns than there are knowns right now.”
Ironically, the more federal money that comes down, the bigger impact it will have on state spending, Hill said.
“The state will have a percentage to pay, and I think it’s normally 75-25, if we do get the declaration. The bigger the total amount, the bigger the state’s obligation. Now, the 25 percent – as I understand it — is the local-state share. Whether the state will pick up all that, or expect Cobb County, for example, to pick up part – I don’t know that.”
But the state will be obligated to pony up the cash to match any federal money, Hill said. “If there are federal funds coming in and a match is required, then we’ll have to fund that. Those things get pushed to the top and they have to be done. In a year like this, it will just have to come from somewhere else,” he said.
One possible outcome is even fewer projects tackled by an already under-funded state Department of Transportation, as money is shifted to flood repair. Which means that, because it rained this September, you could be sitting in traffic well into the next decade.
At Saporta Report, Maria Saporta reports that at Wednesday’s meeting of the Atlanta Regional Commission, three men declared that they wanted to replace Sam Olens as chairman of the 10-county planning agency.
She identified them as Charles Bannister, chairman of the Gwinnett County Commission; Tad Leithead, a former executive with Cousins Properties who is now has his own public policy and lobbying firm; and Jack Smith, the chairman of the Fayette County Commission.
Olens, who is also chairman of the Cobb County Commission, leaves the post at the end of the year, in order to concentrate on his statewide Republican campaign for attorney general.
If Grady Memorial Hospital succeeds in closing its outpatient dialysis clinic, Tadesse A. Amdago, a 69-year-old immigrant from Ethiopia, said he would begin “counting the days until I die.” Rosa Lira, 78, a permanent resident from Mexico, said she also assumed she “would just die.” Another woman, a 32-year-old illegal immigrant from Honduras, said she could only hope to make it “back to my country to die.”
….The dialysis unit on Grady’s ninth floor might as well be ground zero for the national health care debate. It is there that many of the ills afflicting American health care intersect: the struggle of the uninsured, the strain of providing uncompensated care, the inadequacy of government support, and the dilemma posed by treating illegal immigrants.
While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:
Sewage plant fixed, discharges into Chattahoochee halted. More than 14,000 flood-related claims filed in Atlanta area. Borders revisits property tax remarks. Georgia state parks free on Saturday. Evander Holyfield plans solar energy farm in Fayette County. Post Properties will sell stock to repay mortgage debt.
Kyle Wingfield thinks facts are cooling off climate alarmism. We need to return to the basics for health reform. Detention debate falsely depicted.
From elsewhere in Georgia:
Southern Political Report: FEMA contract with Georgia homebuilder could reach $3.2 billion. ABC: King & Spalding opens Paris office.
Miami Herald: They’re torturing me, Honduras’ Manuel Zelaya claims. WP: Environmentalists seek to wipe out plush toilet paper. NYT: Timothy Egan on the way we die now.
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