Savannah and the rest of Georgia will spend the next two weeks praying that President Barack Obama will include $551 million in his budget for the dredging of the Port of Savannah.
But Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News thinks a Plan B may be in the works that no one wants to talk about. From this weekend:
[Gov. Nathan Deal] asked for only $563 million in bonds for capital projects such as deepening – down from the nearly $1 billion Perdue sought last year.
Deal says he did so to preserve the state’s AAA bond rating. But it also leaves room for the state to pick up the slack if the feds don’t come through.
For obvious reasons, he doesn’t want to talk about it.
“I don’t want to give the federal government any reason not to be a full partner,” he said….
But the day before, he told a group in Buckhead, “Quite honestly, I hope we don’t have to carry the whole load.”
Which, of course, was an indirect way of acknowledging that the state might do just that.
A bigger bond package wouldn’t be a free lunch. Principal and interest would have to be paid over 20 years, but that probably wouldn’t be a budget buster in any given year.
The first kerfuffle of the race for chairmanship of the state Republican party comes in the form of a language test. Take the phrase, “Free Hotel and Transportation Information.”
Does it mean “free information about hotel and transportation?” Or does it mean “information about free hotel and transportation” – and thus become something of a bait-and-switch?
Over the weekend, mailers from the campaign of Tricia Pridemore began hitting the mailboxes of potential delegates to the state GOP convention in May, directing them to this web site with a scary President Barack Obama and the language above.
Pridemore told us on Saturday that she is not offering free passage to Macon, site of the convention. But all the rooms at the hotel site are booked – and thus controlled – by the state GOP. Which is now under command of one of Pridemore’s two rivals, incumbent Sue Everhart. Shawn Hanley, chair of the of Fulton County GOP, is a third candidate.
Pridemore said she just wants to get lodging and transportation information, at no cost, to the right people, so everyone is assured of housing. Not usually the stuff that anyone charges for.
On Saturday, Michael Berlon, a Loganville attorney and leader of the Gwinnett Democratic party, was elected to replace Jane Kidd as chairman of the state Democratic party. Click here for other officers.
H.B. 87, the bill by state Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, will get its first committee hearing this week. Already people are choosing sides. The Libertarian Party will stand agin the measure, citing the “huge” cost of enforcement:
[T]he bill could have catastrophic effects on the economic well-being of the state, as well as in the lives of its residents if passed.
As proposed, HB 87 would make criminals of many otherwise law abiding Georgians trying to make a living. The bill makes it a criminal offense by merely “encouraging” an illegal immigrant to enter the state. It also allows almost any citizen to bring a lawsuit against any business, local or State government agency or official by just accusing them of violating immigration law. Further, HB 87 burdens every employer doing business in Georgia with using the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system.
Meanwhile, immigration activist D.A. King says he has begun a drive to press every House Republican to become a sponsor of the bill. From a press release:
With the additional volunteer assistance of many members of various Tea Party groups, civic organizations and other pro-enforcement citizens, the goal will be to contact each state House member multiple times and request they sign on to HB 87 during the coming week with phone calls, email and visits to Gold Dome offices.
“Illegal immigration is a crime that costs Georgia innocent lives, jobs, benefits and is making a mockery of our rule of law while it drains our budget and endangers our common language,” said D.A. King. “Even the least aware observer can see that the crisis is a direct result of illegal employment and a lack of political will to protect everyday, taxpaying Georgians. Many powerful special interest groups will attempt to defeat or gut this bill. We will record who is on the side of We the People.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider