Session is now officially in full swing as lawmakers filed key bills this week.
Friday, House Resolution 1, the cornerstone legislation of this session to cap ad valorem property tax increases statewide, was scheduled to make it to the floor of the House for the first time. It didn't make it to the House floor on Friday.
This week, as I sat with my Senate and House colleagues through state budget hearings, I was encouraged to see a sense of cooperation emerging. Our state leaders have been advocating such cooperation since the beginning of session, as it is the only way we will solve the serious issues facing our state.
During each legislative session, some 2,000 bills are introduced by legislators.
When Roy Barnes was governor, and the state economy was riding high, he instituted the Homeowners Tax Relief Grant, which started as a $2,000 homestead exemption credit against the assessed value of property and topped out a few years later as an $8,000 credit.
The one thing on everyone's mind during the first week of the 2009 session was the budget, which will be sure to dominate all business under the Gold Dome this year.
The real estate and foreclosure crises have played havoc with property values throughout this nation.
Many folks still feel that too much government is conducted behind closed doors.
The 2009 legislative session has begun and is shaping up to be a crucial time for Georgia as the legislature determines how to best carry the state through these difficult economic times. The local media has been saturated with stories on the critical issues facing our state, including the budget, our economy and the transportation system.
Ever since George W. Bush was elected as President, there has been a push to eliminate the Electoral College and go to a popular vote for electing the President. Had the 2000 election been decided by popular vote, Bush would have lost to Al Gore by 543,816 votes. Bush was not the first President to be elected while losing the popular vote, simply the last.
I was interested to see that READ, Dawson County's literacy advocate organization, announced that it will partner with the Adult Learning Center (Lanier Technical College as the county's vendor of service) in becoming a Certified Literate Community Participant for Dawson County.
We are quickly approaching the end of a challenging 2008, and we are excited about the possibilities for 2009.
During this hopeful season we are reminded of the many blessings we enjoy, and we renew our sense of what is important in our lives. We gather with our family and friends to share old traditions and create new ones.
I am a child of the "Great Depression."
I read with interest the letter in your Dec. 24 edition in which the writer referred to a community becoming a Certified Literate Community Participant as a "hollow victory" and feel compelled to write as this is a very personal thing for me - something very "near and dear to my heart."
A wise man once said that our only reason for occupying space on this earth is to leave things better than we found them. Unfortunately, not enough of us will. Len Pagano is an exception.
Last week Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter shared via this column his vision for public education in Georgia.
"You need to write something about domestic violence," a friend told me recently. I hadn't thought about tackling that subject because so many others have done so.
With all of the attack ads running on TV this election season, Georgians have no doubt had their fill of pessimism and negativity.
For more than 40 years I was fortunate to be able to work in international business. I traveled the globe, not as a simple tourist, but living, in some cases for years, in other countries, getting to really know the people, the cultures and the governments in those many places.
I have asked the two major gubernatorial candidates to talk to Georgia public school teachers about their respective education platforms. This week the floor belongs to Jason Carter, the Democratic challenger. Next week, it will be Republican Gov. Nathan Deal's turn.
I have one of the most interesting jobs in the world. One day I am advising world leaders on the nuances of international monetary policy. The next day I am consoling a distraught reader who thinks I need to "look within myself spiritually." The last time I looked within myself, I saw my navel. It was full of lint. Never again.
The Woman Who Shares My Name instructed me that this week's column was to be about positive things. She says she is tired of bad news and thought you felt the same way. "Surely, you can find some positive things to write about," she said, "and temporarily take people's minds off all the terrible things going on in the world. I think your readers would appreciate that."
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