Thusday’s column, posted here, is about the search by state lawmakers for that budgetary sweet spot – the balance between the government we need, and the government we’re willing to pay for.
House Speaker David Ralston expounded on that same topic in an interview with Denis O’Hayer with WABE (90.1 FM), posted here. Said Ralston:
“We resolved with the Senate last week that everything is on the table. It is on the table. Certainly some have mentioned the issue of additional fees to compensate at this time.
“I’ve said before, I’ll continue to say again, I don’t think raising taxes is the way out of an economic downturn. But again, what I think is important during this week and next week…is that we ask ourselves, we ask those we represent, ‘How deep do you want the cuts to be? What are you willing to sacrifice?’”
The House speaker said he was encouraging lawmakers to have conversations with voters, and to monitor their e-mail. He continued:
“I think everything has to be on the table. We’re in unprecedented times. Bumper-sticker solutions don’t apply. Short sound-bite answers don’t apply. Frankly, as a state government, we’re looking at being in this situation for another two years at a minimum.”
O’Hayer asked Ralston if “everything” included a cigarette tax. Replied Ralston:
“I said everything.”
On that same topic, we’re told that House members were inundated with phone calls generated by Washington tobacco interests on Wednesday, in opposition to HB 39, which calls for that increase in the cigarette tax. The phone calls came from across the country – automated calls that switched the recipient to the state Capitol if they pushed the right buttons.
Democrats plan a 2:30 p.m. presser at the state Capitol to address the topic of new taxes.
Ken Hodges, one of two Democratic candidates for attorney general, has picked up another impressive endorsement, this time from DeKalb County Sheriff Tom Brown.
“I’ve worked with Ken firsthand on prosecuting public corruption. He’s a veteran of the courtroom. His record of working with state law enforcement and getting results is impeccable,” Brown is quoted as saying in a campaign press release.
Brown and Hodges first met when Hodges served as co-counsel in the prosecution stemming from the assassination of Sidney Dorsey, Brown’s predecessor as sheriff.
State Rep. Rob Teilhet (D-Smyrna), the other Democratic candidate for AG, was recently endorsed by IBEW Local Union 613, affiliate of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Also impressive.
On the heels of its poll in the governor’s race this week, Rasmussen Reports has dropped more food for thought, this time about U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson:
The first Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 telephone survey of the Georgia Senate race finds Isakson earning 49% of the vote against an unnamed generic Democratic candidate who picks up the support of 36% of likely voters. Given that match-up, four percent (4%) like some other candidate, and 12% are undecided.
Rasmussen Reports chose to pit Isakson against a generic candidate because there is as yet no major Democratic challenger in the Georgia Senate race. But it is significant to note that any incumbent who polls at less than 50% at this stage of the campaign is considered potentially vulnerable.
In a conversation last week, one ranking Democrat at the Capitol was asked whether his party would mount a significant challenge to Isakson. The reply was interesting. In this climate, with a governor’s race within reach, he asked, why nationalize the November vote?
A few months early, the Republican party has designated former Gov. Roy Barnes as the winner of the Democratic party. The state GOP has established a new Web site dubbed www.noroyalty.org. No Roy-alty. Get it?
The site features Barnes’ 2008 association with former Democratic presidential candidate and all-around pariah John Edwards. It also brings back King Rat, the costumed rodent used by Sonny Perdue in his 2002 overthrow. And a mug of Bobby Kahn, the Democrat that Republicans most love to hate.
The timing is perfect. Here we’ve got a governor who is trying to consolidate the power of the executive branch in unprecedented fashion, by launching an attempt to turn four elected constitutional positions into appointed – no, wait. Wrong party.
Former state Rep. Tom Bordeaux, the Democrat from Savannah, traveled for a short trip to New York this month — for brain surgery.
Doctors discovered an unruptured aneurysm in his brain and former House judiciary chairman quickly researched the issue and made the decision to travel to the Big Apple, according to my AJC colleague Bill Torpy.
Bordeaux said a good number of people have such a condition, “but you don’t normally know about it until you’re falling, a foot from the floor.”
The six-hour operation was successful and the former head of the House Judiciary Committee sounded as sharp as ever in an interview Wednesday.
“I was literally walking the streets of Manhattan with my wife going to dinner 38 hours later,” he said. “I had no idea what to expect, if I’d be drooling or what.”
He said doctors sawed a crescent-shaped chunk of his skull near his hairline and put an alligator clip on his brain. He said the scar is not that noticeable and people often tell him, “There’s something different about you.” And they point to the facial hair he’s grown.
Bordeaux said the medical bills have run about $135,000, although most have been paid by the state-issued insurance he received as a 16-year legislator. He retired from the General Assembly in 2006.
He was asked to ease back from legal work but said he returned not long after returning home.
The Tweet of the morning comes from Erick Erickson:
By the way, have I ever mentioned that my private mission statement for RedState is “blow shtuff up”? Cause that’s what we do.
East Georgia has launched a rebellion against a state icon. This from the Associated Press this morning:
An Augusta group is organizing a movement to try to change the Georgia state bird to the chicken.
The Flip the Birds Campaign aims to change the state bird to the Cornish chicken. Group leaders say the chicken should be the state bird to honor the poultry industry which it says contributes billions to Georgia’s economy.
The campaign is gaining support.
Richard King, whose Maryland Fried Chicken restaurant sells 7000 pieces of chicken each week, agrees the chicken is better known than the current state bird, the brown thrasher.
The brown thrasher was recognized as Georgia’s state bird in 1928 but wasn’t officially designated until 1970.
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