Dear public school teachers: The "school choice" crowd in the General Assembly is after you again. I am beginning to think this is all your fault.
Evidently, you did something to them in their prepubescent period that has scarred them for life.
Just when you believe that everything is under control, something will jump up and bite you.
Fiscal Year 2011 revenues were well ahead of FY 2010, and for the first six months of this year, revenue collections were running about 4.5 percent ahead of FY 2011.
Each year, the General Assembly is constitutionally mandated to pass a balanced state budget.
On Thursday, we were one step closer toward fulfilling this goal with the passage of the Senate's FY 2012 amended budget.
The General Assembly is at a critical juncture as we mark the midpoint of the 2012 Legislative Session. With many bills still being reviewed and debated in committees, there is a growing sense of urgency to pass legislation prior to Crossover Day.
One bill in particular that I would like to highlight this week is SB 292, also known as the Social Responsibility and Accountability Act.
I seem to have an innate ability to make folks mad. Usually, it is the humor-impaired and special interest twits.
Today, I hope to make everybody mad, no matter your race, creed, color or university affiliation. This diatribe is for all.
Over the past two weeks, I have received at least 200 e-mails pertaining to HR 1162 (a proposed constitutional amendment on public education) and its companion legislation, HB 797. The e-mails are split about 50/50, with most of those asking for a "no" vote being from school teachers and most of the "yes" votes coming from parents.
This begs the question: Why does Georgia need a constitutional amendment on public education this year?
As we've discussed in previous columns, Georgia is currently one of the most generous providers of merit-based financial aid in the nation. However, the HOPE scholarship is currently under attack by opponents who have proposed an income-based salary cap for students whose families make more than $140,000 per year.
When HOPE was originally created, eligibility was partially based on family income levels; this restriction was removed in 1995. No other state lottery restricts eligibility based on family income; every state lottery scholarship is set up to be a merit award program.
There was a time at my (Methodist) churches when we regularly stood in line to go kneel at an altar, be served communion, and then hear the minister announce, "Let these retire and others take their places."
We are doing it somewhat differently now: Going to the altar individually (after communion) rather than in groups. But whenever I learn of someone retiring from a public position, I remember that phrase and often wonder what will happen when "others take their places."
The 2012 Legislative Session is moving forward at a rapid pace under the Gold Dome as we begin to move bills through the legislative process. In just a few short weeks, we've already made great progress toward passing legislation that responds to our citizens' needs.
Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting with commissioners of the Union, White and Dawson County delegations at the Association of County Commissioners Legislative Conference where we discussed issues relevant to the county's needs.
A miracle took place in the House of Representatives last week. For the first time in recorded history, a budget passed without a single dissenting vote on either side of the aisle.
Last January Gov. Nathan Deal conservatively estimated state revenues of $18.3 billion for Fiscal Year 2012.
In order to keep my national certification as a modest and much-beloved columnist, I am required to submit annually a State of the Column message. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Please stand and applaud if you hear something that floats your boat or look bored if you don't. You may be on television.
"My fellow Georgians, ladies and gentlemen and significant others, I am pleased to tell you the state of this column has never been better. (Applause.)
I just wanted to thank Dick Yarbrough for his recent column about teachers and the state of education in Georgia.
I am glad he will be watching Chip Rogers to see if he tries his vouchers bill again.
The 2012 Legislative Session is off to a fast start, as lawmakers have already passed several pieces of legislation and met to discuss the governor's budget recommendations.
In addition to my duties at the Capitol, I spent time this week meeting with several key leaders from throughout the 51st District, as well as my constituents.
Whew, that was close. I almost became a Baptist the other day. Not just any Baptist, but a (gulp) Southern Baptist.
Let me add here that there have been times when the Rev. Dr. Gil Watson, the world's greatest preacher, has become so weary of trying to save my sorry soul that he would gladly trade me to the Baptists, Presbyterians or even the Islamic Center for the Advancement of Self Pity in return for two altos, a Sunday school teacher and an usher to be named later. Dr. Gil only has these thoughts when I insult some demographic ...
I hope you will forgive me but I am going against my better judgment today and sound like one of those inch-wide, inch-deep political pundits ...
This column was conceived and intended for last week's paper, but it did not get transferred to my computer and thus not to the ...
On Jan. 9, we reconvened for the first session of the 154th Georgia General Assembly. This year promises to be very busy and offers endless ...
I thought Paul Revere would have shared the news with you, but he seems to think it is more important that you know about the ...
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The USA is running a negative current account balance of about $500 billion dollars per year.
Dear Cameron Charles Yarbrough:
The only thing more useless than socks on a pig are New Year's resolutions.
This column has become a Christmas tradition and I share with you once again this year. It is dedicated to all who believe.
The main stream media is just full of talk of cyber spies and governmental sponsored "hacks."
This is a busy time of the year for almost everyone -- even shut-ins like me.
Dear Santa Claus:
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a popular flowering plant found in many American homes at Christmas. The poinsettia is native to southern Mexico and is named ...
Philip Wilheit is a man of no small influence in our state.
Behind every problem that we face in modern life is the one problem almost no one wants to talk about. Everything you hear or read ...