One of the best parts about serving in the Georgia State Senate is the ability to honor groups and individuals in the Senate chamber. I am proud to represent District 51 at the State Capitol, and I am even more proud of the efforts that keep our district one of the best places to work and raise a family in Georgia. While the work we do in the Senate is great, it pales in comparison to the way each of you represents the pride and labors of our communities.
It is IRS time and I've been putting together information to take to the CPS who has figured Taylor taxes for decades (one thing I have not completely learned). Surprisingly, I admit my gratitude that, even with a limited income, I usually must pay some extra dollars. That means that I have had money to live well enough and have something left. Fortunately, I don't have huge medical bills or credit interest payments and I ...
It is a theological fact that God really likes Georgia. That is why He put mountains in north Georgia and the Golden Isles smack up against the Atlantic Ocean and added a bunch of lakes and parks and historical sites in between. Otherwise, we could have been Iran. Or Detroit. I stopped by last week to visit the man who is entrusted with these assets, Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources Mark Williams, to ...
Property owners in Georgia who feel their property value is less than the appraised value set by the tax assessor has the right under the law to file a taxpayer's return of real property Form PT-50R. This form must be filed before April 1. The law states your property must be assessed at "fair market value" or "fair and equal value." This has been established as "what a willing buyer will pay and a willing ...
The 30th day of the legislative session is always one that requires a lot of patience and strong coffee. "Crossover Day" is a significant deadline for the Georgia General Assembly because it is the last day for legislation to pass the chamber in which it was introduced in order for it to move to the other chamber for consideration.
Sitting in the stands Saturday nearly 130 miles south of Dawsonville, there was no sign in sight of a sluggish economy, nearly $4 a gallon gas prices or high unemployment rates. Everywhere you looked you saw someone you knew, decked out in maroon and gold, cheering on our Lady Tigers basketball team.
Last Thursday marked the 30th legislative day of the 2013 session. Known as "Crossover Day," this critical point in the session marks the last chance for most bills to pass the legislative chamber from where they originated.
Let's face it. Judges can be pretty scary folks to We the Unwashed. About the only time we ever see them is when we are called for jury duty or when - Heaven forbid - we are a plaintiff or defendant or a witness, wishing we could be anywhere but in the courtroom. But I will let you in on a little secret: Get them out of those black robes and away from their intimidating surroundings and these folks are fun to be around.
In reference to the proposed Calhoun Creek Reservoir, Mayor James Grogan stated in news reports: "It's a manmade reservoir already, an old rock quarry..." It would be interesting to know what he bases this on. There is no evidence that there has ever been a quarry on Calhoun Creek or Peachtree Creek, the tributary which flows into it and would also be a part of the reservoir.
The Georgia House of Representatives has passed an ethics reform bill and has sent it on its way to the state Senate for its consideration and action. But don't get out the confetti just yet. What one body sees as true ethics reform, the other sees as a desultory effort to curb the power and influence of those lizard-loafered lobbyists skulking the halls of the Gold Dome. We the Unwashed? We are caught in the middle, as usual.
This past week, the Senate passed House Bill 266, which would update Georgia's IRS code and clarify measures from 2012's tax reform overhaul by a vote of 41-7. The bill was amended from its original version to reconcile any unintended financial repercussions from last year's comprehensive tax reform package.
Now that we're almost three quarters through session, the House is considering more legislation than at any other time this session. We spend longer days at the Capitol, and vote on more legislation. This past week the House voted on several major pieces of legislation that will have a positive impact on our state.
Although I was just recently named chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, I am not new to the discussion on Georgia's wide range of transportation needs. As a former DOT board member and a former county commissioner, I am well-versed in the transportation needs of more rural areas of the state, and as a former member of the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Overview Committee (MARTOC) I have also had the chance to review some of ...
It is often difficult to foresee the end results of an action when it is initiated, although we are constantly taking actions that have far-reaching outcomes. That's exactly what life is all about. Sometimes the results are serendipitous (look that one up), sometimes calamitous or run-of-the-mill or even unobserved. Generally, I think, we must look back and analyze situations in order to realize the cause/effect steps.
Last Wednesday marked the 20th legislative day, which puts us half way through the 2013 legislative session. The day was extremely special for me, because this was the day that House Bill 122 passed the House of Representatives.
It turns out that you can go home again. I recently established a chair in crisis communications leadership at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communi­cations at my beloved University of Georgia. UGA President-elect Jere Morehead, along with Dink NeSmith, chairman of the Board of Regents came for the ceremony and both made my family and me feel warmly welcomed on campus. That is something we haven't felt at my alma mater for a long time.
They are the best University of Georgia athletic team you have likely never heard of. They have won five national titles and go into next week's national championships one of the favorites to win it all again.
I stood on an oil rig miles off the coast of Africa as the final pipe joints were pulled from a just completed well. The mood was somber because we had not found oil. The following week I sat in an uncomfortable meeting where our corporate vice president declared my efforts had resulted in the driest well in years. Back in my office overlooking the beautiful San Francisco hills I pondered what to do next with the project.
When the phone rang, I knew who was on the other end: Skeeter Skates, owner of Skeeter's Tree Stump Removal and Plow Repair in Greater Metropolitan Pooler. I can't tell you exactly why but the phone always sounds more urgent when Skeeter calls. One thing about Skeeter Skates. He gets right to the point. Niceties aren't his style.
In January, the Georgia State Senate started the first term of the 152nd legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly with a challenging task list. We were asked to find a way to fill a large anticipated Medicaid shortfall, evaluate the ethical behavior of elected officials, do more with less in the state budget, revamp the state's juvenile justice system, clarify points from 2012's tax code overhaul and find ways to expand access to higher ...
In my last column, I shared some observations about current happenings and promised some more. So here they are. As Christians observed Holy Week leading to Easter, one of the emphases has been on service and sacrifice.