The Citizen Newsletter

The Conservative Voice of Henry County

Issue # 357

July 21, 2012

Snapping Shoals EMC
I represent Henry County on the board of Snapping Shoals. I m pleased to say, our co-op s electric rates are among the lowest in the state; even lower than Georgia Power. Our power supply is dependable now and into the future, and our co-op s conservation efforts are a model for other co-operatives. However; these are dangerous times. Radical environmental groups are seeking to take over Snapping Shoals. Your readers may have already received misleading and deceptive mailings or phone calls from these groups attacking their co-operative. They will tell you they want to save you money; however, the opposite is true, their only concern is furthering a very radical anti-coal agenda with little or no concern for the price of your electricity or whether it will be there when you need it. I am concerned about the environment; but, I am also concerned about our fellow co-op members who are already struggling to pay their power bills in this difficult economy. Make no mistake; these groups are committed to their radical plans to get control of Snapping Shoals EMC. If these groups succeed electrical rates will increase significantly and dependability will suffer. But, it s not too late to stand up and say, NO! The annual meeting of Snapping Shoals EMC will be held on Thursday, July 26th; voting will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 11:15 a.m. All Snapping Shoals EMC members should attend this years annual meeting and vote for their current board members; me, Gene Morris from Henry County, Anthony Norton from Rockdale County and Walter Johnson from DeKalb County. Don t be deceived and tricked into a decision we ll all regret and pay for. Sincerely, Gene Morris

In This Issue:
Page Feature

1 2 2 4 4 5 6 7 8 10

Help SAVE SNAPPING SHOALS EMC TSPLOST: Leadership or Coercion

GA 400 Toll to End Plant Vogtle Completion in Doubt Congressman Paul Broun Widespread Opposition to T SPLOST Henry to Raise Millage Rate Borrow, Spend & Tax Candidate Promotions Herald Retraction Sought

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See below article written by Dalton GA Mayor David Pennington.

T-SPLOST... Leadership or Coercion
The test of true leadership is the trust and respect it inspires. The Regional Transportation Referendum, TSPLOST, to be decided on July 31st does not past this test. Those we elected to lead lacked the courage to devise a fair and cost effective funding mechanism for state transportation projects. Rather, like a salesman who lacks confidence in his product, they are using harsh financial penalties to scare us into voting for the largest tax increase in Georgia's history. First, our locally elected officials were told they must place the T-SPLOST on the ballot or suffer a 30% penalty in state funding for local transportation projects. Secondly, we voters are being told that we must approve this tax or suffer a 20% penalty in state funding for local projects. That's not leadership - that's coercion. Your motor fuel taxes supply the money for those state funds! The final coercive move puts every county at the mercy of its region. If a county defeats the tax but the majority of voters in the region supports it then the tax will be imposed on all the counties. Even the preamble to the referendum on the ballot is a blatant sales pitch for a 'yes' vote. By strong-arming voters and damaging the integrity of our ballot our elected leaders do us a serious disservice. Georgia enjoys a wonderful transportation infrastructure. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the rapidly growing port of Savannah and our interstate system are world class. A recent CNBC study ranked Georgia's transportation infrastructure 3rd best in America, and we must maintain and improve this infrastructure. But a disparate group of twelve regional projects is not a wise or cost effective approach. We all acknowledge the need to address Atlanta's traffic gridlock. Yet the regional plan for that area designates the majority of T-SPLOST funds be spent for expansion of mass transit when only 5% of commuters use mass transit. This is not an effective solution; and MARTA's ongoing financial woes despite significant subsidies call into question the cost effectiveness of a mass transit approach. The current plan will give the Georgia DOT oversight authority for T-SPLOST dollars raised and the projects they will fund. This does not seem to be a wise or cost effective decision since last year the GDOT received its fourth straight scathing financial audit report. Our state leaders say they have no Plan B if voters do not approve this tax. But there is a Plan B and it is fundamental tax reform. A vote against the T-SPLOST is a vote for true leadership. Let's join together to make that happen. DAVID PENNINGTON Mayor of Dalton

GA 400 Toll Coming to an End January 1, 2013
Fulfilling his promise to commuters, Gov. Nathan Deal today announced that he will have the state pay off its bond debt on Dec. 1, 2013, and move rapidly after that to remove the Ga. 400 toll by the end of that year. This will stop collection four years earlier than previously planned.
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"Ga. 400 commuters have paid more than their fair share already, and this is the earliest we can bring it down without paying a penalty for early repayment of the bonds," Deal said. "When the Ga. 400 toll went up, the state of Georgia promised commuters that it wasn't forever. If we don't keep that promise, we lose the faith of the people. We face many challenges when it comes to paying for new capacity, particularly in the Atlanta region. There are no easy answers, no secret pots of money, but it is imperative that governments build the trust of their people. As your governor, I will keep the promises I make to you." State Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) released the following statement regarding Governor Deal's action to remove the Georgia 400 tolls: "I applaud Governor Deal's exemplary leadership helping remove the Georgia 400 tolls. This fulfills a promise made to Georgians many years ago that the toll would come down when the road was paid for. Unfortunately the Governor had to take action to correct the failure of the Georgia Department of Transportation Board, which voted in 2010 to keep collecting the tolls even after the original bonds had been paid in full. The failure of the DOT board seriously eroded the trust we have in our government. Today, Governor Deal is taking positive steps toward restoring our trust."
Full story here: HTTP://WWW.11ALIVE.COM/NEWS/ARTICLE/248915/40/DEAL-GA-400-TOLLS-GOING-AWAY-IN2013?ODYSSEY=TAB%7CTOPNEWS%7CBC%7CLARGE

Political Insider with Jim Galloway posted this:
There s no mention of it, but clearly the timing is intended to help the July 31 vote on the transportation sales tax.

The Citizen sees it this way: With the public outcry over TSPLOST and toll roads and his one-time vow
against taxes..... The Gov does not want to be a one-termer.

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"Will the Plant Be Completed?"
While in some circles the building of Plant Vogtle 3 and 4 is a certainty, the Federal General Accounting Office (GAO) estimates that new reactor projects have a 50-50 chance of ever being completed. Let's look at where Vogtle is today. Southern Company has not secured financing. Southern and project partners like Ogelthorpe and MEAG have found no other investors, other than Georgia Power customers currently paying the Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) fees created by a 2009 SB 31. CWIP is essentially a huge tax on Georgia Power customers compliments of elected officials who claim to be against any and all tax increases. Presumably, private investors are waiting for Southern Company to ink the federal loan guarantee deal with the Department of Energy which would put the financial risk of default on to the backs of tax-payers. Southern and the DOE have a deadline of January 1st to agree to the terms of the deal before the offer expires. Meanwhile, the Vogle 3 & 4 project is already conjuring memories of Vogtle 1 and 2, which Southern Company originally estimated would cost $600 million for four reactors. Instead, we got two reactors for $9 billion. That is at least a 1000% overrun and resulted in the largest rate-hike in Georgia's History at the time Southern Company has spread the idea that they have learned their lesson, so not to worry. But wait! Already they are almost a billion dollars over and running behind schedule. People closely following this slow-motion train wreck doubt that the actual cost of Vogtle 3 and 4 will be less than $20 billion and that is excluding capital costs, which ratepayers will be paying for the rest of their lives (like our house mortgages). To put that in perspective, the State of Georgia budget is about $20 billion annually. The Public Service Commission has a third party monitor who helps them assess whether the project and associated costs are on track. Right now, Georgia Power is on the hook for $400 million in cost overruns. This fall will likely be a critical time for Georgia regulators to make a go/no-go decision. In the meantime, now is your chance to find out whether the two Public Service Commissioners who are up for election this year, Chuck Eaton and Stan Wise, deserve another term. Georgia Public Broadcasting will be hosting a debate which will air Sunday at 5pm. Click HTTP://WWW.GPB.ORG/ELECTION/PRESS-CLUBDEBATES for the broadcast, and don't forget to vote on July 31st!

Congressman Paul Broun
ObamaCare/ObamaTax assaults freedom in the most personal areas of our lives: health care choice and privacy, personal and family finances, and freedom of religion. In Congress, I authored the Patient OPTION Act (H.R. 4224) to: 1. Fully repeal ObamaCare. 2. Allow 100% of health care expenses, including insurance premiums, to be deducted from your income taxes.
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3. 4. 5. 6.

Increase the total contributions you may make to personal Health Savings Accounts. Save Medicare from bankruptcy by making it a premium-based assistance program. Let you buy health insurance across state lines. Allow physicians to donate charity and pro bono medical care now prohibited by federal law.

FreedomWorks - a leading voice within the conservative and Tea Party movements - has endorsed my plan. To continue my leadership for American Freedom on this and other important issues, I need your help! Please share this message with family and friends, encouraging them to support me in this fight for Freedom and for the America that we have always known and loved. Please support me with your vote during Early Voting or at the polls on July 31st

Patch Survey of GOP Leaders Shows Widespread Opposition to TSPLOST
Higher taxes and lack of trust are two reasons most Republican respondents are against the transportation referendum.
HTTP://ROSWELL.PATCH.COM/ARTICLES/PATCH-SURVEY-OF-GOP-LEADERS-SHOWS-WIDESPREAD-OPPOSITION-TO-TSPLOST-

1ADCD0BB?NCID=NEWSLTUSPATC00000001

Georgia Republican leaders responding to a Patch survey overwhelmingly oppose TSPLOST in their regions and believe it will fail. Patch sent surveys to about 135 Republican Party activists, candidates and officeholders last week asking their opinions about the referendum to raise sales taxes by a penny to fund road and transit projects. Just over 60 responded. The Republican respondents offered several reasons for opposing the referendum, from the added tax burden to questions about its constitutionality. Some in the Metro Atlanta region don't want money from their communities used to fund transit projects in town. Others expressed an overall lack of trust in the state to follow through on its promises. "TSPLOST would be the greatest tax increase in Georgia history," said one respondent. "It sets up new government bureaucracy. It shifts money from taxpayers of counties to others. Nobody really knows where the money will go. It is a bailout for a failing MARTA system."

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Henry County Commissioners Vote to Increase Millage Rate Need we say more?
The Henry County Board of Commissioners announced Monday its intention to increase the property taxes it will levy this year by 8.15%. For Henry County, the result of the unprecedented declines in property values is a budget shortfall of $12,595,073. The new proposed budget of $116,967,534 abolishes the furlough days and, among other items, includes two additional employees for Superior Court, and two additional employees for the Tax Assessor s Office. The Henry County Board of Commissioners voted today to increase the 2013 property tax millage rate by 2.75 points from 11.75 mills to 14.50 mills. Commissioner Warren Holder made the motion to raise your property taxes with Commissioner Reid Bowman seconding the motion. The motion to confiscate more of your money in property taxes passed by a vote of 4-1 with Commissioners Holder, Bowman, Holmes, and Stamey voting on favor. Congratulations to Commissioner Brian Preston for attempting to protect the taxpayers with his NO vote. In earlier comments to The Citizen , Brian Preston had this to say: I am disappointed with our upcoming budget. There was a better way to balance the budget rather than increasing taxes by raising our millage rate to fill the $10 million budget deficit. For months, I have been proposing a three prong approach that would have balanced the budget without increasing taxes. The three prong approach would consist of taking up to $4 million from the rainy day fund (a double digit reduction in the Henry County tax digest is more than a
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HTTP://VOTEFORPRESTON.COM/

normal rainy day), savings of $2-4 million by modernizing employee benefits, and reducing all department budgets by 3-5% (excluding public safety). Notice there was no mention of increasing taxes by raising the millage. If elected, I will continue to work hard on making good fiscal decisions for Henry County so that we can have the opportunity to grow into prosperity by working with our citizens and private businesses. In order for Henry County to be successful, we need more economic development. It will be harder for us to grow into prosperity if businesses are not willing to come to Henry County because our taxes and millage are not competitive. Currently, Henry County has a total millage rate (Schools, County, Water, and Hospital) of approximately 38.5 mills. If you compare our rate to the Georgia counties that are doing well economically, you will see that we are already at a disadvantage (Fayette = 30.45, Forsyth = 26.4, Oconee = 25, Newton = 34). Unfortunately, if we take a hard look at our total millage and where we are headed with potential increases, we will realize that we resemble a few of our neighbors (Clayton = 40, and DeKalb = 44). We need to work on making sure that we understand the basics of what brings a business to our community. Low taxes and a good quality of life are the foundation of good economic development. As your commissioner, I will work hard to make sure we are competitive for our existing business owners and for growing businesses that are looking for a community to invest in.

Borrow, Spend and Tax
Thoughts on Henry County s taxing authority, by Larry Stanley

The county currently has $31 million in its Fund Balance account. Hoover-Ernst said drawing money from the account could put the county s Aa1 bond rating at risk of being lowered, which could result in higher interest rates, if the county were to use bond money for projects in the future. Governments operate on borrowed money. It is borrowed against future tax revenues. So we are always paying interest and debt service in addition to the actual costs of goods and services that government provides. Is it wise use the Fund Balance to correct a $10,041,000 budget deficit? Should we endanger the county's bond rating? Maybe if the cost of borrowing were higher, the commissioners would not borrow as much. Maybe if the county had to make purchases only when they had cash on hand, we would not own 10 or 12 unused and unprofitable properties. At my house borrowed money comes in the form of a mortgage, car loan and a VISA card. There is real and tangible collateral including my personal, current year income. At my house we do not have 300 cable channels or the HD package with DVR in every room. Just sayin' At my place of employment I can choose the health insurance plan that best suits my needs and my budget. But I will pay for whatever plan I choose. At my place of employment there have been no COLA or other raises in five years. So, I am tired of hearing about what we "owe" to county employees.
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County services for public safety, roads and general health & welfare are justifiable expenses. The reason we cannot balance the budget is the desire by commissioners to maintain service levels outside the essential and necessary functions of government. Can anyone remember when Henry County had a $105 million budget? What has been added to expenses since then? That is, what expenses with real and justifiable reasons to pass the costs on to taxpayers? As prices of gasoline, bread and every other commodity rises, I must cut out desired expenditures. The county should operate no differently. At the end of the discussion there are two principles in play. (1) Maintain a level of services that will cost us $10 million more than revenues; and (2) Cut the non-essential departments, programs and agendas to the point that county government costs no more than expected revenues.

As seen on Facebook:
In my book the moniker 'conservative' has more to do with smaller government and lowered taxes than anything BJ has said or done. Revenue neutral to the county STILL means an increase to you and me. Buying stuff you do not need and cannot afford is more like an unruly child. More than once I have said we must chastise and discipline commissions in the same ways our Mama did, and we have done with our own kids. Teaching young 'uns that ain't their money to play with is just a hard lesson --- til election time when we can send all to their rooms without supper.

Allow me to take your voice to the Henry School Board
WWW.STANLEYFORBOE.ORG

PLEASE MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION Elect Larry Stanley to Henry County school board

Campaign Video: HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/PHOTO.PHP?V=10151221857822942 Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum: HTTP://PLAYER.VIMEO.COM/VIDEO/44583622 Henry Daily Herald candidate responses: HTTP://WWW.HENRYHERALD.COM/NEWS/2012/JUN/26/HENRY-BOE-CANDIDATES-RESPOND/

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TOMMY SMITH

Candidate and future Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, Henry County NEW CHAIRMAN / NEW LEADERSHIP
Endorsed by Henry County Fraternal Order of Police

Vincent Lotti for District 2 County Commissioner Please watch and share with your friends! Roughly a week and a half until Election Day so let's continue to spread the word! Thank you! Vinny
Tommy Kennedy interviews candidates Vincent Lotti Henry County Board of Commissioners District 2.
HTTP://WWW.SBN.TV/ARCHIVES/CATEGORY/PROGRAMMING/GOOD-DAY-SOUTHSIDE

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Hanging out in Covington

The Real Republicans

Photo courtesy of Vikki McReynolds

Henry Herald Retraction/Correction Request
Joanie Scott, an author for the Proof of Right website, has demanded a retraction and correction from the Henry Daily Herald. In statements made by candidate Dale Rutledge (and published by the Herald) Scott's report was lambasted and claimed to be false.
Proof of Right,
HTTP://PROOFOFRIGHT.WORDPRESS.COM/2012/07/21/HENRY-HERALD-RETRACTIONCORRECTION-REQUEST/

Scott reported on a business Rutledge owned and was backed up by the Georgia State Workers Compensation Board and sworn statements made by Rutledge's sister. The State website says Georgia

requires most employers with three or more full time, part time or seasonal employees to have workers compensation insurance. If the business is incorporated or a LLC, the corporate officers or members are included in the three or more employee count regardless of whether they exempt themselves from coverage. 1 Yet, Rutledge is still claiming that he was not required to have it. He is basically disputing
what the State Workers Comp website clearly says.
1

HTTP://SBWC.GEORGIA.GOV/ONLINE-EMPLOYERS-WORKERS-COMPENSATION-COVERAGE-VERIFICATION

In addition, Rutledge tries to explain a "family situation" in which his sister, Lawanda, said "[Dale] is not worthy of being an elected official at the state level, or any level ... and that [Dale] tore our family apart through the courts for his own personal financial gain." Davis criticized Rutledge for trying to distract the public instead of discussing topics relevant to the primary.

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Mr. Rutledge has refused every single debate and forum from day one, said Davis. He continues to distract voters from issues while running from debates and forums, where we can discuss issues that are important to them.

Rutledge blasts claims by website, sister

HTTP://WWW.HENRYHERALD.COM/NEWS/2012/JUL/20/RUTLEDGE-BLASTS-CLAIMS-WEBSITE-SISTER/

Rutledge has declined several debate/forum dates with Rep. Steve Davis, and has provided no public statements regarding issues affecting his experience or qualification for office. The Rutledge campaign has focused solely on negative advertising against the incumbent state representative.

It is unfortunate that our county's legal organ will print whatever they are told. But it pays the same as actually researching the facts.

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