Memo to GA Dems……..

….Don’t starting picking out new furniture for the Speaker’s office just yet.

The left-of-center Georgia has been a buzz over the coming collapse of the Georgia GOP from infighting between the Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House. Georgia Democrats are salivating at the prospect of a GOP meltdown that will whisk them into power next year.

Aint gonna happen.

What you’re seeing in the Georgia Conservative Movement is evolution in action. Our majority is young and not as entrenched as our Washington brethren. We aren’t as beholden to lobbyists. We observed what happened in November of 2006 and we are learning.

Two weeks ago the Lt. Governor and Senate changed the paradigm regarding the Supplemental Budget. No longer does the General Assembly say “Oooh. We have and extra $240 Million laying around. Lets buy toys!”. The LG said “This money should go into savings (Reserve Fund)”, the Senate backed him up on that decision and the Senate & House went into a showdown.

After hearing from their constituents, the House realized they were on the wrong side of that argument. They changed their tune and cheers to them for doing so. Its fine to be wrong if you fix your mistakes once you realize them. The Speaker and House leadership did that.

Our Party took another step towards its roots and our Party is stronger for it. I suspect that during this special session the debate will be between funding the reserves and tax cuts. While I’m almost universally for tax cuts, the reserve is an important buffer for lean times and helps keep our bond rating high and interest payments low. I can see the wisdom in both sides. I welcome the debate.

We are by no means done and converting a Republican majority into a conservative majority will not be a painless process. We have a Governor who wants to spend millions of your dollars on bass fishing. We have budgets that have grown by over a billion dollars each year. We have hundreds of lobbyists up at the capitol every day they are in session begging for tax breaks for their clients.

The ship of state does not turn on a dime. These squabbles are a necessary part of reforming the process.

As for the theatrics of the past two weeks, very few outside of political-wonkdom will remember this budget battle in a year and a half when elections are held again. But the impact will be felt. The genie is out of the bottle and both budget and tax reform are on the table.

I’m looking forward to 2008.

25 comments

  1. gmcdaniel85 says:

    The constant chatter around the Capitol is that we HAVE to increase our reserves before we even consider comprehensive tax reform. As much as I would love to be a media consultant creating ads against Republicans who backed down from a tax break, I’ll admit that it needs to happen.

    I will further agree that this will be good for the party in the long run. We don’t look that good right now, but having the leadership trying to outflank each other to the right while they are governing instead of just when they are campaigning is a good thing. It will eventually move the party back to its base. I hope…

  2. joshdondich says:

    GOP leadership should not get cocky either. Things can change really fast. 2004 GOP gains monumental victories in US Senate and House. in 2004 US Senate:
    55 Republicans
    45 Democrats
    2004 US House:
    231 Republicans
    200 Democrats
    , Then 2006
    2006 US Senate:
    51 Democrats
    49 Republicans
    2006 US House:
    233 Democrats
    202 Republicans
    If it can happen at the federal level eventually it will catch up Georgia Republicans

  3. LeftofCenter says:

    While I won’t argue that the internal GOP battles will result in a political shift in the gold dome, I do have to laugh at the statement “No longer does the General Assembly say “Oooh. We have and extra $240 Million laying around. Lets buy toys!”

    This may or may not be true about the amended budget, however, a look at the FY08 shows that there is still plenty of pork. Personally, I think the General Assembly realized that they couldn’t add pork in the AFY07 budget so they just stashed it in FY08. The budget is full of useless projects and arbitrary cuts. This should be the story…

  4. Chris says:

    The FY08 budget is fixed at 20.8Billion. If the pork from the FY07 Supplemental was put in the FY08 budget something else had to be removed.

    As I said, we still have work ahead of us.

  5. Chris I think you give the voters too much credit. The Governor is a Republican. If they think the Governor sucks, they aren’t going to make a distinction between the Republican Governor and Republican Legislature.

  6. Rick Day says:

    Well spun, sir!

    Get them to do something conservative like *you know what* and I’m shaking a few less grains of salt on your “we will rock you!” post.

    Good luck!

  7. Bull Moose says:

    Good points Chris Farris. You did a good job carrying the party line in great form and fashion.

    I think the debate over our priorities as a state is well overdo.

    Not only is the reserve fund important, but so is the employee retirement fund.

    I’m all for tax cuts, but if you cut taxes by leaving HUGE liabilities on the table then you are being irresponsible, not wise with the tax payers money.

  8. Harry says:

    Bull,

    The “employee retirement fund” should be converted to a defined contribution plan from a defined benefit plan. That would be wise and responsible.

  9. Chris says:

    Bull,

    I agree with Harry – we need to reduce all our liabilities: pay down outstanding bonds, reform the pension system, fix PeachCare.

    However, we also have to signal to the taxpayers that we understand that tax dollars are theirs, and the House’s $142M refund does that.

  10. Chris says:

    Andre,

    I know you do, and I’ll feel really bad for you when you don’t.

    well, naw, I won’t feel bad.
    🙂

  11. Chris says:

    I was comparing the GA GOP Majority to the Washington GOP Majority. We aren’t as beholden to lobbyists as Tom Delay and his K-Street project.

  12. CobbGOPer says:

    I’m not saying the Dems are any better when it comes to lobbyists, but seriously, have you hung around the Gold Dome alot? It’s no different than DC, just on a smaller scale. I mean on Sine Die, there are more damn lobbyists hanging around than there are legislators.

    And Andre is right on about Richardson.

  13. Also Chris, did you know that in 2005 (the first year of full Republican control) lobbyist expenditures during the session were the highest they’d ever been and by something like 30% greater than the previous year?

    Republican infighting is good for Democrats. I’m not saying that we’ll win control of the legislature, we’re probably too far behind at this point to do that. But if you look at population trends in a lot of metro/suburban districts, they are favorable. Combine that with some disenchantment with the status quo and you could see pretty significant Dem pickups.

  14. Harry says:

    Well, you’re allies in the educational bureaucracy are preparing to kill off the Gwinnett County School System by way of their putting all levels of academic achievement in the same classrooms. That move will assist with the transformation of Gwinnett into another Dekalb-style Democrat machine for your agenda.

    Gwinnett academics to be dumbed-down

  15. dingleberry says:

    could see pretty significant Dem pickups.

    Wasn’t that what you guys were saying during the 2006 election?

  16. dorian says:

    Chris, if you think the Republicans are going to escape this mess in the next election cycle you are living in a dream world. The lot of ’em up there have got there heads so far up there asses, they need a periscope to see straight. The legislators don’t work for the governor. They work for me, or at least one Senator and one Representative. I have voted republican my entire adult life, but there isn’t a snowballs chance in hell it will happen in the next election.
    I’ll tell you something else. I don’t have any polls to support me. I am not a politician. Nor am I an expert in anything. I am, what is the word…common. My wife is too. My friends are. My family is. There are a lot of us, and we are all pretty much pissed off.
    The governor doesn’t have to run for reelection again, but my senator does as does my rep. They will be painfully reminded of that fact next November. They person they should’ve been listening to was their constituents.

  17. rightofcenter says:

    dorian,
    If you are reading and posting to PeachPundit, you by definition are not representative of “the common person.” This stuff is so far below the radar for the average person that it’s laughable.

  18. Gag Halfrunt says:

    I don’t think that Georgia Democrats will pick out new furniture for the Speaker’s office. Republicans spend taxpayer’s money re-decorating offices when they win. Democrats are more interested in getting the people’s work done without having to call special sessions.

  19. jsm says:

    “Republicans spend taxpayer’s money re-decorating offices when they win. Democrats are more interested in getting the people’s work done without having to call special sessions.”

    What a joke. I needed a good laugh.

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