Monday, November 23, 2009

Georgia's 2010 legislative session is gonna rock

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 7:59 PM

click to enlarge "This is a perfect metaphor for what we do to the state every year!"
  • "This is a perfect metaphor for what we do to the state every year!"

Walter Jones of the Augusta Chronicle today takes a look at what's sure to be one of the most laid-back and relaxing legislative sessions our Gold Dome overlords have ever enjoyed.

While the rest of the country is suffering, Georgia remains a beacon of wealth and opportunity. Just look at what state lawmakers will have at their disposal come Jan. 11!

Consider the factors: budget deficits demanding either historic cuts or gigantic tax increases, a lame-duck governor, a lieutenant governor who bowed out of the governor's race, a speaker who is clinically depressed and fielding calls for his resignation, multiple legislators out of work and more facing personal financial crisis, and unemployment topping 10 percent when the trust fund that pays benefits is broke.

If that isn't enough, remember the massive issues that remain unsolved from past sessions. There has been no solution to pay for transportation or a statewide trauma-care network, and a federal judge has imposed a nearly impossible deadline for finding alternative water supplies for about a fourth of the state population.

Add to that mix the fact that it's an election year with seemingly half the state's officials running for higher office and the other half determined to foil any legislative successes they might otherwise campaign on.

Man, this is gonna be awesome! We've got all these things going for us!

Snark aside, elected officials (and residents) are looking at 40 days of woe. Jones reports that lawmakers — as well as the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, a free-market think tank that hangs Ayn Rand Glamour Shots in their lockers — are already looking at programs to cut. Senators and representatives are being pushed to provide a much-needed transportation funding solution — one that would most likely require a tax hike decided by referendum — during an election year. And we're all sure to receive late Christmas presents in the form of red-meat legislation — the kind that deals with guns, morality and ACORN — to whet the appetites of November voters. There'll be no shortage of drama.

Lawmakers are already pre-filing legislation. State Rep. Kevin Levitas, D-Atlanta, as is his custom, is one of the first politicos to introduce some measures. His lower-chamber colleague Bobby Franklin, the Cobb County Republican who views the Left Behind series as nonfiction, has tossed some doozies in the hopper. We'll examine those gems later. In the meantime, check out the rest of Jones' analysis of Georgia's impending doom.

(File photo by Thomas Wheatley)

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