America's budget is in turmoil. Our national debt is at an all-time high, home prices are falling, financial institutions are failing and people are losing confidence in the American dollar.
Last Spring's freeze cost our vineyards up to 80 percent of their grapes. The freeze was followed by the second year of a drought which stressed wine makers physically and financially.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about how credit scores affect our financial lives. A number of you who read that column have called me and pointed out how difficult it is for sub-prime consumers to improve their credit scores. They are absolutely correct. Some areas of consumer loan laws need to be changed.
We are finally feeling some relief during the energy crisis with the decline of gas prices. Although this relief is welcomed, we should not ease the pressure on our national leaders to develop a long-term, comprehensive energy strategy.
It's been proven. In a down economy, if you get to keep more of your earnings, government gets more tax revenue. The reverse is also true. When governments raise your taxes in economic downturns, they generate less in taxes. Consumers control the economy by their spending habits.
For the past three months it has been an honor to serve as your county manager.
It's not always easy to understand about Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, sub-prime mortgages and credit scores. How do these things affect your life?
Every Legislative Session yields many new laws that can affect your life. I have picked out 10 bills from the 2008 Session on which to comment because they continue to come up during conversations with you. They concern bills that are designed to make government consumer-friendly, protect families and protect our natural resources.
An opinion poll in a local publication asked in March, "Should Kevin Tanner be appointed county manager?"
I don't understand why some elected officials and candidates for local office are still confused about tax cut referendums on the November ballot. Most taxpayers seem to get it. They understand the need for some property tax relief for their parents and grandparents and the permanently disabled who are on fixed incomes and being taxed off their land.
Just a few weeks ago, President Bush issued an executive order to lift prohibition on oil exploration in the Outer Continental Shelf. With the action, the executive branch's restrictions on this exploration have been cleared away.
It's not a repeat of World War II, but many plants are under attack by Japanese beetles. This insect was first found in the United States nearly 80 years ago.
During my recent campaign for re-election, my focus was on the need for ad valorem tax relief. Your overwhelming vote of confidence leads me to believe that you are in favor of tax reform and want me to go about the business of instituting change in our current system.
Each month I receive hundreds of calls from gardeners with questions ranging from how to keep deer out of a garden to disease control in a home lawn. A few questions you may have thought about but never got around to asking are as follows:
Just a couple of weeks ago, more than 400 bills passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Perdue became new state laws.
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."
It is a potential killer whose numbers rival the deadly Ebola virus and it doesn't get near the attention it should. Unlike the dreaded illness currently ravaging West Africa this is one with a quick cure.
Rap. Rap. Rap.
I just learned of a book called, "Say Goodbye to your Southern Accent."
The U.S. Senate race this November between Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican David Perdue will be one of the more unusual campaigns we have witnessed in Georgia. Neither has held public office and both are anxious to portray themselves as the ultimate "outsider."
In 1997, Gov. Zell Miller appointed me to fill a vacant seat on the five-member State Ethics Commission and then reappointed me to a full term where I served until 2002. It was a rewarding experience and I am proud of the good things we accomplished at the commission.
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