Your daily jolt: Georgia Chamber leader says right, left ganging up on business

Chris Clark, president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday that defeat of this summer’s transportation sales tax is proof that extremists on the left and right are ganging up against business, says Larry Peterson over at the Savannah Morning News:

His remarks were part of a wide-ranging overview of the programs, goals and concerns of the chamber, Georgia’s largest business group.

“It used to be,” Clark said in reference to state government, “ … we could stand in the background and whisper and nudge our friends and we could move the business agenda along.

“But the world’s changed. It’s not like that any more. We have folks on both ends of the political spectrum that are anti-business.”

Clark cited a recent group of regional referendums on proposed penny sales taxes for transportation projects. Voters in most of the state, including Chatham County, rejected them.

To be clear, business types have often accused those on the political left of being anti-business. The news is that the chamber leader is now wrapping a major portion of the Republican base into that characterization. Clark said his chamber group was boosting its lobbying efforts at the state Capitol as a result.

Former GOP presidential candidate and future radio talk show host Herman Cain this morning endorsed the proposed charter schools amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot.

“I’m sorry, but Georgia’s professional education establishment just isn’t cutting it for a lot of kids, so we need to give parents and children as many choices as possible,” said Cain. “Charter schools are a great option for families who want another public school choice.”

Opponents of the charter school measure have been the most common targets of those who say taxpayer funds are being used for campaigning.


But Karen Noll, a member of the anti-charter group Valdosta Women’s Voices sends the photo at left – taken at an Oct. 13 high school cross-country meet in Tifton.

“The runners from a publicly funded school in Georgia wore T-shirts with ‘Vote Yes’ and the symbol from the proponent organization on the back and Pataula Charter Academy, the school name, on the front,” Noll wrote in a letter addressed to Attorney General Sam Olens.

Walter Jones at Morris News Service says a move is afoot at the state Capitol to decriminalize many traffic offenses:

Legislators, judges, lawyers and cops are spending the fall debating proposals for removing criminal penalties and jail time for some traffic offenses as a way to save taxpayers money on court costs….

Among the proposals being kicked around are versions of ideas tried in 14 other states in which drivers simply pay a fine, maybe even online, without the fear of going to jail for certain infractions like a broken taillight or crossing a yellow line. Jail time still would be possible for some serious issues like drunk driving, and minor offenses could become more serious if committed in conjunction with a major traffic crime.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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24 comments Add your comment

Ostrich Racer

October 18th, 2012
12:50 pm

The principal who allowed those team members to be used as political billboards should be referred to the Professional Standards Commission.

Jeff A. Taylor

October 18th, 2012
1:05 pm

Oh boo-hoo Chris Clark. The Chambers are what changed — morphing vaguely rah-rah cheerleading outfits for local biz to sophisticated special interest lobbying outfits, more rent-seeker guilds than anything remotely and broadly pro-commerce. Yes, until the advent of cheap communication tech you could do your whispering and nudging in secret. No more. And you don’t like it.

Too bad. Make your policy case out in the open. If you dare. Explain, for example, why spending scarce transportation dollars on subsidized re-development schemes is good public policy. Remember only the connected insiders can hear your whispers and feel your nudges.


October 18th, 2012
1:07 pm

Wah, wah, wah. Mr. Unions-R-OK-for-Businessmen-Not-Workers is upset because he’s not as popular as he wants to be. Poor baby. What’s the matter? Are the legislators he purchased demanding more and more cash to do his bidding? What happened to the principles of the “free market?” If everybody thinks his little “chamber” BS sucks, maybe it’s because it sucks. Maybe he should change his “business model” to be less offensive to the general population. Just a suggestion there, buddy.


October 18th, 2012
1:08 pm

It might be time for Mr. Clark to do what I regularly do with my customers…..
Inquire about the products and services they are seeking, rather than decide in advance if ‘it’s good for me then it must be good for them’
I guess the chamber will never get beyond the plantation owner mentality.

Danny O

October 18th, 2012
1:08 pm

Apparently high-priced lobbyists calling in favors at the Capitol no longer guarantees of 100% success. Poor Chamber of Commerce. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers, as they need all the help they can get.


October 18th, 2012
1:36 pm

Translation: “It used to be” as simple as paying off the right people and getting whatever we wanted. Dang politicians won’t stay bought anymore.

We’ve heard that song before. the lyrics vary a little but the tune remains the same. I’m old enough to remember this one: “Some of the people who ate my barbeque didn’t vote for me.” — former Gov. Marvin Griffin

Don't Tread

October 18th, 2012
2:01 pm

“It used to be,” Clark said in reference to state government, “ … we could stand in the background and whisper and nudge our friends and we could move the business agenda along.”

And now that he can’t promote his agenda under the table, suddenly people are anti-business?

Really? :roll:

Or could it *possibly* be that the electorate (both left and right) are tired of the same type of backroom deals that led to the current mess in the first place?


October 18th, 2012
2:01 pm

Hmmm… me thinks the Chamber is nothing but a tool of Agenda 21…


October 18th, 2012
2:02 pm

How many taxdollars are used to buy memberships in this lobbying organization? What will the AG do?

North resident

October 18th, 2012
2:26 pm

Georgia Chamber leader says right, left ganging up on business

That is what happens when business colludes with lawmakers to shaft the taxpayers/citizens.


October 18th, 2012
2:54 pm

Mr. Clark certainly wins points for audacity. Georgia is one of the most pro-business and consumer unfriendly states in the nation. Transparency and accountability. should be one of the ideals of the state government, rather than backroom whispers and nudges. I think the business community has been more successful, despite the recent loss in the transportation referendum, when they are acting openly and publicly to bring pressure on balky lawmakers for needed change. Atlanta’s “city too busy to hate” of the late 1960’s sprang from just that type of action.


October 18th, 2012
3:03 pm

The Chamber of Commerce is an organization that endangers America’s poor and working class far more than any terrorist group does


October 18th, 2012
4:10 pm

Screw the chamber of commerce. Business has been ganging up on the citizens of the United States for decades.

Jon Lester

October 18th, 2012
4:11 pm

I’ve never joined my local chamber because, in the unlikely event I want to contribute to Republican candidates, I can do so myself, and not have them do it for me.


October 18th, 2012
4:19 pm

No, Mr. Clark, the defeat of T-SPLOST is proof that Georgia taxpayers are tired of the Chamber’s scheming with our representatives to try to force through bad legislation that creates giant slush funds and nothing of value for those who pay for it.

Whispering so that the taxpayers and voters cannot hear you and nudging your “friends” (who are supposed to represent those same folks) is not as effective when you get caught trying your best to collude in a coverup of the destruction of Atlanta’s school system, or when you use your membership to browbeat employees to vote for your slush fund.

Coming out and whining is not very effective either. Try thinking beyond your own narrow self-interest and see if you can build a coalition instead of a monopoly.

Question Man

October 18th, 2012
5:06 pm

Isn’t it apparent the Georgia Chamber is doing a miserable job considering that people on both the right and the left oppose the Chamber’s key initiatives? Doesn’t it seem the Chamber has lost its moorings?

Question Man

October 18th, 2012
5:10 pm

Is Herman Cain for local control of schools, except when he’s not for local control of schools? When will he learn to shut up about things he doesn’t understand, which is most things?


October 18th, 2012
5:56 pm

Really Cain? You don’t believe state charter school leaders are part of the Georgia professional education establishment?


October 18th, 2012
6:14 pm

Everyone seems to be so greedy and selfish anymore. What’s happened to America, could it be Republican’s?

GOP Clark Crazy

October 18th, 2012
8:56 pm

This guy was Sonny Boy’s campaign manger, then the bag man at GEFA, and then he took the exalted position of heading up DNR. That was fabulous, a double-header of trashing EPD and diverting DNR Wildlife Resources Division money to Sonny’s costly Go Fish Georgia scam and the Oaky Woods scandal–signing the highest paying lease for private land to be used as a WMA, while four separate [free] Chattahoochee National Forest WMAs were dropped from the DNR roster.

Now, after heading the state department that was in charge of environmental protection for Georgia, he’s pimping for Southern Company and denying global warming, acid rain, asthma, and mercury poisoning. What a GOP prostitute. Fight the cracker corpocracy.

Hillbilly D

October 18th, 2012
9:23 pm

In my county, the local Chamber gets a large part of their funds from the local hotel/motel tax. They’re basically a government subsidized private club. They claim to hate that sort of thing but they take the money with no qualms.


October 18th, 2012
10:43 pm

Chris Clark is the most egotistical moron I have ever met. Any organization employing this individual must really be desparate. Oh, what fine work he did for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Lame Brain!


October 18th, 2012
10:45 pm

Of course, I cannot think of any Sonny Perdue staffers, advisors, CFOs, CEOs, or other capitol trash that were worth a damn!


October 19th, 2012
11:28 am

Clark is a slick, resume-padding, seemingly amoral, self-promoter. He wants to be governor. The voters of GA will no doubt elect him, and GA will continue it’s decline, in the hands of crony capitalists.