Something to ask yourself today: Is your house, and the land it sits on, worth twice as much today as it was in 2004? Probably not.
In fact, odds are that your property is worth much less.
Even so, the state Board of Natural Resources today will agree to pay $28.7 million for 9,595 acres of Oaky Woods wilderness in middle Georgia — nearly double the cost when the state was offered the land and passed on it in 2004.
Instead, most of the land went to developers – a move that boosted the value of a nearby tract owned by Gov. Sonny Perdue. But plans to create a private city on the land went bust with the housing market. With the DNR purchase, at least the developers, Oaky Woods Properties LLC, will be able to recoup their investment – and still hold onto half their purchase.
You will be happy to know that, according to one board member, no corruption was involved. Just greed. From my AJC colleague Jeremy Redmon, who attended the preliminaries on Tuesday:
Dwight Davis, another committee member, voted in favor of the purchase, but not until he had expressed his concerns.
“I think there are some greedy landowners involved in this,” he said. “Having seen so many times here where generous citizens have stepped forward and donated land or taken reductions, this really stands out as a bad example of how some citizens may well take advantage of a situation.”
Ray Boyd, the former candidate for governor who has become a presence at the state Capitol, was also at the meeting – and became a focus for Dale Russell of Fox5:
On a somewhat similar topic, the joint appointment by Gov. Sonny Perdue and Gov.-elect Nathan Deal of state Rep. Mark Williams, R-Jesup, as commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, is getting some favorable reviews from local environmentalists.
Satilla Riverkeeper Bill Miller lauded Williams’ nomination. He said Williams has worked side-by-side with other volunteers during Satilla River cleanups and helped protect the river system legislatively.
“He has been instrumental when it comes to helping clean up the river and keep pollution out of it. I feel he’s a friend of the river and a good advocate for it,” Miller said.
Williams helped shepherd legislation in 2009 that made it illegal to ride all-terrain vehicles in stream beds statewide- a measure long sought by property owners, environmentalists and safety advocates.
The law prohibits motoring along stream beds even if they are dry. It does allow vehicles to cross stream beds and makes exceptions for law-enforcement and agricultural vehicles.
Williams co-sponsored the law, which took effect May 21.
Bart Gobeil, chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, is leaving that job to become deputy chief operating officer for the Deal Administration.
Republicans celebrating the switch of House Democratic caucus chairman Doug McKillip of Athens to the GOP side might want to note this paragraph from Blake Aued of the Athens Banner-Herald:
Unlike [Alan] Powell and other party-switchers, though, McKillip is not a conservative. He is pro-abortion rights, fought spending cuts to education in recent years and supports raising the minimum wage, tax breaks for low-income workers, a surtax on high earners and raising the cigarette tax to balance the budget. He would not say whether he would change any of his positions along with his party affiliation.
Erick Erickson of Redstate.com isn’t quite ready to accept the decision by John Boehner, the next U.S. House speaker, to name Hal Rogers of Kentucky as the next appropriations committee chairman – over Jack Kingston of Savannah:
Did you show up at the polls on November 2nd for nothing? It seems that way. The House Republican Leadership has decided to put Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on the Appropriations Committee and that’s pretty much it.
They are sending a signal to the tea party movement that this is all they’ll get.
John Boehner and Eric Cantor want Hal Rogers of Kentucky to serve as Appropriations Chairman. Hal Rogers is a big spending porker who has been a champion of earmarks. So brazen in his lust for your money, Rogers wants to put a Lockheed Martin lobbyist in as staff director for the Appropriations Committee — a lobbyist in charge of doling out the dollars.
But the fight is not over. Today the House GOP must ratify the leadership’s decisions and we can still get Jack Kingston into the Chairman’s chair. Go to our action center and fight to stop this. Call your Republican Congressman this morning. Tell him to support Jack Kingston as Appropriations Chairman.
On the other hand, U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, has declared himself President Barack Obama’s wingman when it comes to the compromise he reached with Republicans over the Bush tax cuts:
Now is not the time to raise taxes on any segment of the population while the economy remains so fragile. Raising taxes would stifle investment, impede job creation, and put severe financial strain on businesses and individuals.
Every worker in Georgia’s Second Congressional District will benefit from having 2% less taken from his or her paycheck each and every week for a year. This will keep money in the pockets of every working American and stimulate the economy. Out-of-work Georgians will benefit from the one-year extension of unemployment insurance benefits, so that they can continue to look for work and provide for their families as the economy recovers.
Furthermore, many of Georgia’s seniors are on fixed incomes consisting of Social Security payments, supplemented by dividend and capital gains income. This agreement will help ensure that seniors can make ends meet in this challenging economic environment.
Finally, while I would have preferred a full repeal of the estate tax, the bipartisan agreement provides substantial relief and certainty to Georgia’s farmers and small businesses by allowing a $10 million exemption for couples and by lowering the estate tax rate by 20%.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider