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The Conservative Voice of Henry County
Issue # 346
May 16, 2012
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In This Issue:
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Questions for T-SPLOST Free Stuff T-SPLOST Text Poll Rep. Davis on DOT Panel Henry FOP Endorses Davis Atlanta s Grapevine Fulton Commish is Anti-TSPLOST Netherlands Multiculturalism Henry BoC Whines & Raises Taxes Vote NO on T-SPLOST Spoiled Brats in Cobb County Roark: Vision for Henry County
"A growing body of social science makes clear that children who grow up in intact, stable, married households with both a father and mother present are three times less likely to end up in poverty or on drugs, twice as likely to graduate from high school, and far less likely to end up in the criminal justice system.- RALPH REED
Get 'em before they're gone!
Southern Belle Farm
Before they're all gone -- come pick some of our sweet, juicy strawberries! The season won't last much longer, and we don't want you to miss out on the local, farm fresh strawberries. We have a good many ripe berries right now ready for picking! Come out to the farm - pick your own beautiful strawberries for $10/gallon, let the kids pet the farm animals, jump on the jumping pillow for a small fee all while you sit back and enjoy a slice of homemade strawberry shortcake. You can also call and order pre-picked strawberries for $12/gallon, by calling us at 770.288.2582.
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3 Questions for T-SPLOST Supporters
Here are just 3 Questions to ask of the Proponents of T-SPLOST brought to you by WWW.TRAFFICTRUTH.NET 1. The TSPLOST projects list has some ultra-expensive projects that are only partially funded. Does the region plan to build a quarter of these projects and leave them unfinished and useless? Or, if the region plans to complete these projects, how will they be paid for without coming back to taxpayers for even larger future tax increases? 2. Some of these projects will require large future operating and maintenance costs with no identified long term future funding source to pay for these expenses. How can these expenses be paid without additional large future tax increases? 3. The pro-TSPLOST people keep trying to scare people into voting for the TSPLOST by saying that there is no "Plan B," but the TIA legislation provides that if any region votes against the tax, the region can then put together a better projects list and bring it back to the voters in 2 years. Isn't that a Plan B?
The voters figured out they could vote themselves money from the treasury by electing people who promised to give them money from the treasury in exchange for electing them. The United States officially became a Republic in 1776, 236 years ago. The number of people now getting free stuff outnumbers the people paying for the free stuff. We have one chance to change that in 2012. Failure to change that spells the end of the United States as we know it.
~ Tom Bonnell
Atlanta TEA Party/Peach Pundit T-SPLOST Text Poll Results
May 14, 2012
Tuesday through Friday of last week we asked readers to text their opinions on the upcoming regional T-SPLOSTs. Our final results are in, and are as follows: No Yes Und 51.40% 46.36% 2.24%
Leslieg commented: When will people wake up and stop voting TO TAX THEMSELVES? Most people complain that taxes are too high, government is too big yet when the question is put on a ballot for voters to raise their own taxes, often it passes. Why is this? I wish that people would demand government officials find ways to cut spending in order to fund these projects. If TSPLOST passes whatever your current county sales tax is will go up 1 PERCENT. So in my county, it will
All great democracies have committed financial suicide somewhere between 200 and 250 years after being founded. The reason?
take us from 7% to 8%- why would anyone vote for that? I just don t get it.
Rep Davis appointed Vice Chair of DOT Confirmation Panel
House Transportation Committee Chairman Jay Roberts (R-Ocilla) today announced the appointment of State Representative Steve Davis (R-McDonough) as Vice Chairman of the Special Subcommittee on Confirmations. This eleven member subcommittee will hold confirmation hearings on the Governor s recent nomination of Toby Carr as the new Director of Planning at the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). At the conclusion of these hearings, the subcommittee will recommend whether the full House Transportation Committee should approve the appointment, pursuant to OCGA 32-2-43. I want to thank Chairman Roberts for giving me the opportunity to serve on this very important confirmation panel again, said Rep. Davis. Transportation issues have been a major focal point for my district as well as the state and the decision of this panel will have a lasting effect on congestion relief measures for all of us. The confirmation subcommittee will be chaired by State Representative Ed Rynders (R-Leesburg), and Rep. Davis will serve as vice chair. Other members of the confirmation subcommittee include State Representatives Barbara Sims (RAugusta), Chad Nimmer (R-Blackshear), Tommy Benton (R-Jefferson), Brett Harrell (R-Snellville), Mike Jacobs (R-Atlanta), Bob Bryant (D-Garden City), Glenn Baker (D-Jonesboro), Al Williams (DMidway), and Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta). Carr s nomination must also be approved by the Georgia State Senate Transportation Committee.
CLICK HERE to support the campaign:
Henry County FOP Endorses Rep. Steve Davis
Proud to announce the endorsement of Henry County Fraternal Order of Police for my reelection. If you would like to help out with the campaign you can visit my website at WWW.STEVEDAVIS.ORG that now has a convenient PayPal account setup for donations by credit card.
PENNY P. ADAMS wrote: I received a phone call at home from a supposed "survey taker." It became quickly apparent it was an entity connected with GDOT. They asked me a loaded question: "Will you support unlocking Atlanta's traffic gridlock and vote yes for T-Splost?" I had them stammering when I got through with them.
I could not believe they were actually shocked that I said "NO!"
sales tax to fund transportation projects in the region. UNTIE ATLANTA, a proponent of the sales tax, is urging a yes vote July 31st. Fulton County Commissioner Bill Edwards, who represents unincorporated south Fulton, sent an email to constituents with talking points against the transportation sales tax. Writes Edwards in the email
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ATLANTA'S GRAPEVINE - BJ MATHIS & CHRIS VAUGHN
Heads Up on Henry County s Firing Range
PD Chief Nichols says, We are blessed with this awesome facility down there, and it has turning targets. Mathis added, unfortunately the bad guys won't stand still! Watch the video: HTTP://WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/J2VIDEOPRODUCTIONS
Keith Nichols Part 3
Fulton and DeKalb residents and consumers being taxed twice; TSPLOST funds cannot be spent on current MARTA System; TSPLOST Projects will not solve the Metro Region's Transportation Problems. Edwards TOLD the Atlanta JournalConstitution last year he would be speaking out against the July 31st transportation referendum at town hall meetings and listening sessions
The Netherlands to Abandon Multiculturalism
This article was reported in June 2011. One may think the United States would learn from the Dutch!
The Dutch government says it will abandon the long-standing model of multiculturalism that has encouraged Muslim immigrants to create a parallel society within the Netherlands. A new integration bill (COVERING LETTER and 15PAGE ACTION PLAN), which Dutch Interior Minister Piet Hein Donner presented to parliament on June 16, reads: "The government shares the social dissatisfaction over the multicultural society model and plans to shift priority to the values of the Dutch people. In the new integration system, the values of the Dutch society play a central role. With this change, the government steps away from the model of a multicultural society." The letter continues: "A more obligatory integration is justified because the government
Fulton County Commissioner Emails Anti-TSPLOST Talking Points to Constituents
At the end of July, metro Atlanta voters will decide whether to approve an additional 1%
also demands that from its own citizens. It is necessary because otherwise the society gradually grows apart and eventually no one feels at home anymore in the Netherlands. The integration will not be tailored to different groups." The new integration policy will place more demands on immigrants. For example, immigrants will be required to learn the Dutch language, and the government will take a tougher approach to immigrants to ignore Dutch values or disobey Dutch law. The government will also stop offering special subsidies for Muslim immigrants because, according to Donner, "it is not the government's job to integrate immigrants." The government will introduce new legislation that outlaws forced marriages and will also impose tougher measures against Muslim immigrants who lower their chances of employment by the way they dress. More specifically, the government will impose a ban on face-covering Islamic burqas as of January 1, 2013. If necessary, the government will introduce extra measures to allow the removal of residence permits from immigrants who fail their integration course.
Auletta that there is a $10 million deficit projected for FY2012-13. It was accepted that property owners will see a millage rate increase in order to maintain the level of services we enjoy. There is simply no place to make further spending cuts. The board meeting was televised live on TV-14, the county s public access station. We heard comparisons to Cherokee, Forsyth and other northern counties. First was the fact those counties have maintained a higher real estate value than Henry. In those other counties the value of one mil is about twice that of Henry because of the higher real estate values. In Henry County one mil is about $4 million, so a $10 million deficit requires about a 2 mil rate increase.
The Henry County board of commissioners are expected to increase the millage rate 3.1 mils. From the current 11.75 to 14.85 mils. Henry County property taxes are divided between the School Board (23.6 mils), the Water Authority (2 mils), Piedmont-Henry Hospital (1 mil) and the Board of Commissioners. Agreement with Piedmont Hospital calls for the property tax collected for that purpose to be reimbursed annually to the County. The effective increase for Henry County government, then, will be 4.1 mils.
Henry County will have an effective 42.45 millage rate. We also heard from Chairman Mathis that voters approved a local SPLOST that built senior centers and county parks, and IT IS A MORAL OBLIGATION to continue those services. The Henry County board of commissioners last night heard from county manager Fred The board talked about fixing pay compression, a move originally target only
for public safety employees but, to with lesser increase, came to include all county employees. Pay compression means that county employees are not paid enough because there have been no raises or cost of living adjustments in several years. It is an election year and we see the chairman and district commissioners seeking to hold onto their seats. If the pay issue is not simple campaign strategy, then why was it not a priority in the last four budget cycles or last year when the county cut jobs for 57 employees? No discussion was held about why northern metro counties held higher property values. In those areas there is a healthy mix of commercial and residential property in the tax digest not so in Henry. The local tax digests and revenues rest with the residential property owners. No discussion was held about your income or mine. Many of Henry s taxpayers are faced with the same four or five year span with no raise or cost of living adjustment. Our employers do not have a moral obligation to increase our pay. Our employers cannot simply raise taxes to provide for it. No discussion was held about the supplemental pay given to elected and appointed people in our judicial system. Or the $36,000 supplement paid to the Sheriff. These are pay enhancements over and above the pay rates provided by the State of Georgia. See THE CITIZEN #330 for a listing of $30,000 - $36,000 annual supplements taxpayers give away. The board did acknowledge that a FY2013 property tax hike would be permanent. They justify the increase because (1) the need more money, and (2) lower property values require a higher millage rate. Not one member said the millage rate should be decreased in the future if property
values rise. Oh no, the higher rate adopted now will ensure higher revenues even in a better economy! Henry County taxpayers will have a higher property tax rate than any surrounding county. We are left asking, Why is this
1. Highest tax rate in the Southern Crescent 2. Should T-SPLOST pass for the region, our sales tax will hit 8% In 2013 the Henry County BoC will ask us to approve another 5 or 6 year local SPLOST program. A reasonable person would agree that Henry taxpayers will never pass another local SPLOST program. What do we want from the Henry Board of Commissioners? We want them to discard the spin of moral obligations and campaign rhetoric. We elect, meaning we hire, them to manage the operations of government. We expect them to act like responsible, mature people. That means owning up to the facts and implications of the decisions they make. While they are whining about it the board will increase the county budget from the current $112 million to almost $116 million. Taxes, once implemented, never go away. And the incumbent board members are lapping at the trough of tax & spend. We can accept the realities of death and taxes. But we cannot tolerate election year propaganda used to sell it to us.
STEVE BROWN Did Chairman Tim Lee really call the conservative constituents in Cobb County "spoiled brats" for no going along to get along on TSPLOST mass transit projects that make no sense like the Cumberland-CID rail line? I don't like the liberal bend in Cobb leadership.
Spoiled brats ? Plenty of reasons to oppose TSPLOST
VOTE NO on T-SPLOST
ROB WATERSON points out 1) Raising taxes during a recession are asinine/Keynesian. 2) It violates the GA Constitution's Home Rule provisions. 3) Since their revenues are down, they now want to charge us on the side for what our state taxes are already allegedly paying for.
The rail line proposal proved so toxic to so many Cobb residents that Lee backtracked and persuaded other regional officials to substitute the premium transit service on the project list instead. But the widespread perception remains that if the tax is approved by voters that the rail line would quickly make its way back atop the list. To his credit, Lee apologized on Monday for something he should never have said in the first place. It came to light on Monday that Lee, while meeting with the Georgia Community Coalition on Friday, had described county residents who oppose construction of a light rail line here as spoiled brats. Read more: THE MARIETTA DAILY JOURNAL SPOILED BRATS PLENTY OF REASONS TO OPPOSE TSPLOST
The 35th Annual Geranium Festival will be held on May 19, 2012
A Real Vision for Henry County
The time has come, as it does every four years, to examine the direction Henry County has taken and whether to adjust its course. As we continue through a period of
economic uncertainty not seen in this nation for 70 years or more, the decisions made in the voting booth in 2012 take on more weight than ever. The course we set this year will affect us nationally and locally for many years to come. The key issues facing Henry County must be identified clearly and addressed quickly and directly. In doing this, it is critical to understand the role of chairman of the Board of Commissioners, whose primary tasks as defined by county ordinance are to govern the meetings of the Board, set the agenda for each of those meetings, and represent the county in various capacities on regional and state levels. In doing so, he or she should allow each of the district commissioners and the excellent county staff to carry out their respective duties unhindered. For the past 15 years or more, traffic has been the number-one problem cited by our residents. It is still a problem. We need to be diligent in identifying trouble spots concerning our local roads and intersections so that our daily quality of life is not adversely affected any more than humanly possible. As aggravating as the traffic in Henry County can be, much of it is out of our control. Millions of people pass through our community every year on one of the busiest interstate highways in the United States. So when we look at traffic, we don t just consider ourselves, but that family from Ohio that just wants to get to Orlando and see Mickey Mouse, not to mention the hundreds of trucks coming through every day delivering goods in both directions. We can continue to widen I-75 until it is ten lanes in each direction and the problem will still be there. It becomes especially troublesome for us as local residents when
we have to exit that congested artery and clog up our secondary roads. So what is the best thing we can do to for traffic relief that is not impacted by these outside factors? We can strive to keep our own residents working in our own county. My family has been blessed in that my wife has a great job with a huge company. For the past 11 years she has been driving 20 miles from home into Atlanta to report to that job. Right now the chances of her making a similar salary at a similar job in the southern suburbs are almost zero. We should continue our attempts to make commuting easier and more cost-effective, but it should not be our top priority. We must give more attention to keeping our workforce close to home than to make it easier for them to travel 50 or more miles round-trip every day. In short, we must work to bring jobs to Henry County. We have assets in place that we can use to attract economic development. We are located in the center of Georgia and on the edge of Atlanta two factors that, geographically, are in our favor. In addition to I-75, we sit less than a half-hour by car from the world s busiest passenger airport and a four-hour drive from a growing seaport, with railroad access in all directions. We enjoy a mostly moderate climate, without the annual blinding snowstorms up north or the yearly hurricane damage to the south. We have an educated workforce and are continuing to add post-secondary educational opportunities in the academic and technical arenas. What is the best way to promote these assets? An important step in the process, perhaps the first step, is to get everyone on the same page. We need cooperation and communication between county leaders
and all four cities. We should make certain that we are in the loop at the state level as well, so that their goals and our goals for attracting new industry are in alignment whenever possible. There are agencies in state government whose mission is to bring jobs to Georgia, and we want to get Henry County as close to the front of the line as possible. Locally, our plan should always focus on making it as easy and attractive as possible for businesses to come, and then getting out of the way so they can thrive. I believe that we should identify some key areas in the county that are underdeveloped but have the potential for tremendous commercial and industrial growth. This could include a few spots already targeted for such development as well as new ones. We should do this without a great amount of continued government investment. For example, an area currently contributing little or nothing to the tax base can be designated as a redevelopment zone or a free-trade zone. Developers would be invited to locate there with zero property tax obligations for a set period of time. In exchange, they would commit to building their facilities to certain specifications, such as the installation of the latest fiber-optic technological infrastructure. There has been a great deal of discussion recently about whether county government should pay for such improvements to attract economic development. Let s focus instead on making it easier for companies to do it themselves. When talking about improving the tax base, we must remember that increased property tax revenue from businesses is not the ultimate goal. In the long run, it is far more important that our local businesses pay
good salaries to hard-working Henry County residents. That is where our tax base will truly benefit. We must always be looking at what our neighboring jurisdictions are doing to enhance the business climate. There will be opportunities for us to work together for the good of all our citizens. At the same time, we have to be certain that we are competitive in relation to surrounding counties, especially when it comes to smaller businesses. If someone can operate in a nearby county at a lower cost because taxes or fees are higher in Henry County, we have to change that. In any case, we should maintain good relationships with our neighbors when at all possible while paying attention to what they are doing. When this region is strong, we all win. We have thousands of small businesses in Henry County. One local business owner told me directly that most of them are in survival mode and that they need relief. We need to reexamine how we regulate businesses in our county, in every area, and balance what they pay local government against what they receive. It does us no good to squeeze a few thousand dollars more in taxes and fees from a local company if the owner then has to lay off a Henry County resident. When local businesses succeed, they provide opportunities for moms and dads to give themselves and their children the best life possible. When those businesses continue to grow over time, they provide opportunities for those children to stay in their hometown if they choose and create new Henry County families. Let s help all of our local businesses, large and small, by getting out of their way so they can thrive. Tax relief is important to every American taxpayer, every Georgia taxpayer, and every Henry County taxpayer. All of us are
concerned about how our wallets will be affected over the next few years by the big national issues such as health care and immigration. Now, more than ever, we have to ease the local tax burden as much as we can. Some county departments serve every single resident every day. We all depend on our police officers, firefighters, 911 operators, deputies, jailers, and other vital personnel to serve us around the clock and on a moment s notice. But not all departments deal with life-or-death situations. There are also county services that exist, at least in part, due to state mandates. One example of this would be the office that oversees our local elections. This is a service that is crucial to our American way of life and, of course, you cannot charge someone a fee for the opportunity to vote. Many of the departments in our county government are already fee-based to some extent. I propose that, especially in these difficult economic times, we need to take an even closer look at the bottom line of every department that does not involve public safety or health and is not mandated by state or federal law. This will be a touchy subject for many citizens. How many people enjoy our recreation facilities, our senior centers, our libraries and other amenities that are supported by all taxpayers? Perhaps it would be better to ask how many local residents must pay taxes for services they do not wish to receive. There are no easy answers, but these are questions that must be asked, especially with so many families suffering economic setbacks in recent years. Whenever possible, county services that do not affect public safety or health should be
paid for by those who utilize them and benefit from them. This would require changes that cannot be made overnight. On the contrary, many such changes would take a lengthy period of time to be implemented. But regardless of whatever is ultimately done, these difficult issues must be examined. We have had some tough times of late, and it seems likely that tough times will continue a while longer. However, I believe there are great opportunities for us as well. We need the right kind of leadership to take advantage of those opportunities. Let s take the steps necessary to ensure the quality of life we desire for ourselves, for our families and for future generations.
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