Archive for the ‘Stimulus’ Category

Your morning jolt: Democratic eyes turn to the race for lieutenant governor

So with the Democratic race for governor somewhat filled out, eyes are turning to the race for lieutenant governor, an office now held by a refurbished and unopposed Republican, Casey Cagle.

Democratic talk, of course, centers on state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. “I’m weighing my options,” Thurmond said late Thursday. “I am interested, but I’ve made no final decision.” And he probably won’t until July.

There is talk of much pressure from national Democrats for Georgia to 1) settle its four-man race by consensus; and 2) to field a biracial ticket at the top that would stir the party’s base, which is largely African-American. Only then might it be worth the investment of outside cash — so the theory goes.

If entities like the Democratic Governors Association are behind former Gov. Roy Barnes, as they seem to be, then Thurmond — he is an African-American from Athens — becomes a likely choice for lieutenant governor.

And yet. Thurmond points to his …

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Your morning jolt: GBI says nothing illegal in hiring of congressman’s stepdaughter

A GBI inquiry into the employment of U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop’s stepdaughter in the Muscogee County marshal’s office has found no illegal activity, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports this morning.

Says the newspaper:

The employment of Aayesha Owens Reese, the stepdaughter of U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, and daughter of Columbus Municipal Court Clerk Vivian Creighton Bishop, was questioned after a city payroll audit in February.

Reese and her husband, Stephen Reese, worked in the Junior Marshal Program, a middle school mentoring program funded in part by a federal grant that the congressman helped obtain.

The Reeses lived in Lithonia, Ga., at the time of their employment, and both held full-time jobs in the metro Atlanta area.

“I am pleased that the report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation revealed no evidence of criminal intent or conduct relating to the employment of Aayesha and Stephen Reese or funds related to their employment with the Muscogee County …

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Your morning jolt: Sonny Perdue says Georgia can’t afford supply-side economics

Gov. Sonny Perdue has often said that he’s the point at which Republican theory meets up with reality.

As my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin notes today, fewer than three days remain for the rubber-meets-road governor to sign a quartet of major bills.

The most controversial, from a philosophic point of view, is H.B 481, which creates new tax breaks for business and cuts capital gains taxes — 25 percent in 2010 and 50 percent in years beyond.

The tax cuts would cost $340 million a year in lost revenue, but Republican supporters — who include state Rep. Tom Graves of Ranger and Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock — argue that the tax breaks would act as an economic stimulus.

It says so in the measure’s title: Jobs, Opportunity, and Business Success Act of 2009.

But Denis O’Hayer at WABE (90.1 FM) caught the governor expressing serious economic skepticism during a press conference last week.

In essence, Perdue said the economic theories espoused by Ronald …

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Your morning jolt: Suddenly, national service is a liberal bogeyman

On Monday, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson took the unusual step of sending a message to certain Georgians via Sadie Fields, leader of the Georgia Christian Alliance.

Through a Christian Alliance e-mail blast, Isakson declared that he did not believe in the forced indoctrination of American youth for a new Stalinist state. Nor did he believe in the creation of a new ACORN army for Barack Obama.

All Isakson had done is make a speech, on the floor of the Senate, declaring himself in favor of national service — a speech that included mention of Kate Puzey, a 24-year-old Peace Corps volunteer from Cummings, Ga., who was killed in Africa last month.

But something strange is happening on the fringes of Internet conservatism. National service, which since the end of the draft in the 1970s has been a kind of Holy Grail of the right, has suddenly been transformed into a symbol of leftist authoritarianism.

Specifically, Isakson was speaking in favor of the $6 billion reauthorization of the …

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Your morning jolt: Committee chairman says embryonic stem cell bill won’t move out of House

A bill to put restrictions on embryonic stem cell research in Georgia won’t see the light of day this session, the chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee said this morning.

“I’m not going to do anything with that this session in the House,” said state Rep. Amos Amerson (R-Dahlonega). “We’ve gotten 500 e-mails and faxes on it, roughly 50-50. We had to shut off the fax machine — they were using all the toner. I figure anything with that much controversy needs a little more study.”

Amerson also mentioned a May convention of 20,000 biotech experts in Atlanta, which has been eyed by state officials as a chance to recruit cutting-edge industries. “I don’t want to put anything up that might be a stumbling block for economic development,” he said.

S.B. 169 passed the Senate after harsh debate last month. Originally intended to put restrictions on clinics that provide invitro fertilization treatments, the measure currently prohibits one form of …

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Johnny Isakson’s second thoughts on Tim Geithner

Last night, President Barack Obama noted the sudden turnaround in Washington opinion when it came to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

“You know, it was just a few days ago or weeks ago where people were certain that Secretary Geithner couldn’t deliver a plan. Today the headlines all look like, well, all right, there’s a plan,” the president said.

Obama might have been talking about one Georgia senator in particular.

This from CNN/Fortune magazine:

“This could be the beginning of a very constructive improvement in capital flows,” Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson told Fortune.

Just last week, Isakson, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, became the first Republican senator to call for Geithner’s resignation.

Isakson was shocked that the former New York Federal Reserve president – who essentially “wrote the check” to AIG last September – was completely unaware of the bonuses that caused a national uproar six months later.

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Your morning jolt: Gingrey refigures his taxes

U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey is figuring out how much he owes in back taxes after improperly claiming a homestead exemption for his Washington D.C. home.

The Marietta Republican was one of “a handful” of congressmen who have done so, according to Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper.

Gingrey spokesman Chris Jackson said the application was an oversight. “Now it’s just really a matter of making sure it gets fixed, and figuring out restitution,” he told the Insider today. “We’’re glad they let us know.”

Here’s the web site Gingrey is using to arrange matters.

The deduction eased annual property taxes by hundreds of dollars, according to the newspaper.

Roll Call reported that Gingrey’s wife, Billie, was the sole purchaser of a three-bedroom row house in 2004. The property is valued at about $705,000, with a taxable value of $637,000.

No doubt the episode will result in wry commentary at the state Capitol, where debate in the Senate has focused on how quickly the …

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Your morning jolt

H.B. 277 contains a long list of road projects that would be built with a one-cent, statewide sales tax.

The road roster includes a $26 million widening of a two-lane country road leading to Linger Longer, a Greene County resort owned by the Reynolds family, one of the most important names in Republican finance.

In this AJC article, Vance Smith, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, declines to say how the list in H.B. 277 came to be — only that it was drawn up by “eight to 10 other people he declined to identify, beyond saying they were industry and government officials.”

We’re guessing road elves — creatures of magical influence who abandoned metro Atlanta 20 years ago, lured by less expensive rights-of-way in rural Georgia.

Other stuff found while perusing this morning’s

  • State lawmaker assembles legislation for his manufactured home industry.
  • Sam Olens says he’ll decide within 10 days of Legislature’s close whether to mount a bid for …
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    Your morning jolt

    A few highlights from this morning’s

  • Dire warnings from Perdue, Richardson as House OKs budget.
  • State pays $3 million to Bluffton crash victims.
  • $23.5 million in Georgia stimulus money will hit the road next month.
  • Blakely peanut plant got good reviews from firm it hired.
  • GOP-led House defeats resolution honoring Obama.
  • Lawmaker drops bill to put airport under state control.
  • Atlanta councilman faces subpoena over charity records.
  • John Lewis: Bailed-out firms owe millions in taxes.
  • In Alaska, Palin rejects 30 percent of stimulus funds.
  • And elsewhere:

  • WP: Obama reaches out to iran with holiday video message.
  • NYT: Scorn trails AIG executives, even in their driveways.
  • NYT: Christopher Dodd of Connecticut draws voters’ ire for his bonus role.
  • WSJ: Capitol Journal blog on lessons Lost in the AIG hullabaloo.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

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    Because he had the air of a resolute but remorseful CEO

    We couldn’t get the man on the phone, so we’ll let Dana Milbank of the Washington Post tell the story of Zippy Duvall’s big day at the U.S. Capitol.

    What’s strange is that Duvall looks not a thing like Edward Liddy, CEO of AIG.

    Writes Milbank:

    Duvall, president of the Georgia Farm Bureau, was minding his own business this morning as he walked down a corridor of the Rayburn House Office Building outside the hearing room where a committee was probing the AIG bonuses. Suddenly, he was surrounded by lights, television cameras and microphones.

    “Are you ready for this hearing?” somebody shouted.

    “Do you think they’re going to treat you fairly?”

    Duvall stopped to chat amiably with the mob of reporters. “If I knew I was going to get all this attention, I’d have gotten my hair cut,” said the farm bureau president, who is almost completely bald.

    As the questions continued to fly, one of Duvall’s farm-bureau colleagues shared a thought with his suddenly-popular boss: “I think …

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