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What the Supreme Court decisions mean to Georgia

POSTED: July 11, 2012 9:24 a.m.

Recently the United States Supreme Court issued rulings and then ran for cover.

Not all of the rulings were generally acceptable to ordinary citizens, particularly to those living in the 28 states which had opposed "The Affordable Care Act," commonly referred to as ObamaCare.

It was interesting that lower courts had ruled ObamaCare unconstitutional based primarily on the "commerce clause," but Chief Justice Roberts voted to uphold ObamaCare based on Congress's power to tax.

He pointed out several cases in which Congress had placed taxes in order to change behavior.

In effect, he is saying that the requirement penalizing persons who do not have insurance is actually a tax to encourage those persons to purchase insurance.

His justification brings up President Obama's promise that this would not be a tax. Based on what this ruling means to Georgia, this could be the largest tax increase in modern times.

Here is OPB's projection of growth and fiscal impact related to Medicaid and PeachCare:

• An additional 620,000 people will be enrolled in Medicaid in 2014 growing to almost 695,000 by 2023.

• The addition of 620,000 new people in 2014 represents a 34 percent increase in Medicaid/PeachCare rolls.

• 2014 (six months cost - effective Jan. 1, 2014)

State funds cost: $76.3 million

Total funds (state plus federal) Cost: $1.9 billion

• 2015

State funds cost: $219.8 million

Total funds (State plus Federal) Cost: $3.7 billion

• 10 Year total (2014-2023)

State funds cost: $4.5 billion

Total funds (state plus federal) Cost: $40.8 billion

Please remember that both state and federal costs are your taxes.

The court's decision makes ObamaCare a tax increase that falls primarily on young people and poor people who can't afford it.

ObamaCare is now a tax, not just a mandate.

The IRS is now the enforcer of ObamaCare, nothing less than a strong arm technique to force people into obedience, i.e., purchase insurance.

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Arizona v. United States has raised questions about its impact on the illegal immigration bill (HB 87) passed by the Georgia General Assembly last year.

There were a total of four provisions of the Arizona law that were under review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Only one of those provisions was similar to provisions in Georgia's HB 87. That is the provision that allows law enforcement officers to check immigration status in the context of an unrelated criminal investigation.

The purpose of the provision is to provide an additional tool for law enforcement to help better facilitate the effort to identify illegal aliens that are under criminal investigation and report such persons to ICE.

This portion of the Arizona law was upheld by the Supreme Court, which acknowledged that this type of "information sharing" between state/local law enforcement officials and federal authorities is a proper role for the states to play in addressing the issues posed by illegal immigration.

The three provisions that were struck down by the Supreme Court were all provisions that Georgia left out of HB 87, because we had serious concerns about whether they would stand up to constitutional scrutiny.

The decision of the Supreme Court has validated those concerns.

The Arizona provisions that were struck down were as follows:

1. The attempt to make it illegal to hold a job in Arizona if you are not a legal resident;

2. The requirement that non-citizen legal residents maintain their immigration papers on them at all times in public; and

3. Allowing a police officer to arrest someone if the officer believes that he has committed a crime that could cause him to be deported, no matter where the crime took place.

The recent ruling is on top of the U.S. Supreme Court decision last year upholding the right of states to require employers to use E-verify to confirm eligibility of employment before hiring a job applicant.

This requirement was also contained in HB 87.

Good news comes from the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates reporting that Georgians remain "pennywise."

Savings account balances in the credit unions have increased by 5.5 percent this year and credit card debt has dropped 4.7 percent.

New car loans were up by 3.9 percent last year, while used car loans were up less than 1 percent. Georgians are driving their vehicles until the last crank, but when it comes time to buy, they're finding it makes more sense to buy new instead of used.

Let me know what you think about the recent Supreme Court decisions.

Rep. Amos Amerson can be reached at 689 N. Chestatee Street, Dahlonega, GA 30533; phone (706) 864-6589, e-mail hamerson@windstream.net. Or contact Gerald Lewy at (706) 344-7788.

 

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