This post has been updated below.
Original: Georgia car tags may be about to get a dose of religion. The state Department of Revenue on Friday posted images of the eight semi-finalist entries in its competition to design a new look for your back bumper.
Three of those eight incorporate “In God We Trust” – the same motto found on U.S. currency:
Online voting concludes July 8. The three license plates garnering the most votes will be presented to Gov. Nathan Deal. There the selection process gets foggy – the press release merely says the winner will be announced July 15.
But if a car tag bearing the word “God” makes it to the finals, it’s hard to imagine a Republican politician who would want to be seen rejecting it.
Still, if a declaration of faith is inevitable, we would at least suggest adding an asterisk, followed in small print with this:
“*All others must provide proof of legal U.S. residency.”
Updated at 5:05 p.m.: The rules for Georgia’s license tag contest mandated that entries must include “the county name or ‘In God We Trust’ label in black at the bottom.’
But my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin passes along the following note from Karen Lashley-Lucas, the Department of Revenue’s marketing coordinator:
The “In God We Trust” phrase is there simply to demonstrate what the optional sticker that is already available would look like on that entry.
Confusing, to say the least.
My monthly letter from state Sen. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, arrived over the weekend, giving me his take on doings in the state Capitol. It included this line on the cost of HB 87 to Georgia farmers:
”The agricultural community is estimating millions of dollars in losses to various crops such as blueberries, cucumbers and watermelons due to the shortage of workers.”
But the current issue of Time magazine puts the cost far higher:
The labor shortage could result in as much as $9 billion in lost farm production annually. “This is the magnitude of the risk to the sector, if we can’t get the labor we need,” says Paul Schlegel, director of public policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation, in Washington. “It’s an extremely important issue.”
In other words, when it comes to the cost of Georgia’s illegal immigration law, there’s a vast gulf of opinion. And we’ve been told that it’s far too early to really know. You can’t assess damage during the train wreck, one agricultural economist told us. You must wait for the dust to settle.
Then again, just think how quickly we’re offered financial estimates of damage after a tornado or flood.
But here’s the point: So far, we have heard very little talk within the state Capitol about actually assessing the financial losses to Georgia agriculture. And one has to wonder whether lawmakers and other state officials really want that hard, government-backed cipher out there.
Today’s AJC Politifact Georgia takes a look at Gov. Nathan Deal’s claim that a “substantial” number of probationers have performed well as substitutes for Hispanic labor in Georgia’s fruit and vegetable fields.
It appears that U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss wants an amnesty on the taxation of offshore profits to be part of the formula for a compromise on the U.S. deficit. From a Q&A with the Georgia Republican in today’s Wall Street Journal:
SEN. CHAMBLISS: If any taxes are truly raised in the pure sense, then the answer to your question is no, that’s not going to sell. It won’t sell on the Senate side, nor the House side.
You’ve got to approach it from three standpoints. Sure, we’ve got to cut spending. Second, you’ve got to look at entitlement reform. Third, you’ve got to look at revenues.
As Mark [Warner] said, we’ve got this 10½-point gap that we’ve got to start closing. There’s only one way to do that, and that’s figure out a way to get our revenues up.
We get our revenues up by enticing [CFOs] to get some of that $2.5 trillion off your balance sheet and reinvest it in your company and create jobs, and spread out that tax base by putting people back to work. We do it by energizing the economy, whether it’s through taxes or whether it’s through allowing you to bring some of your money back from offshore.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider