Balfour issues a warning to the Gwinnett BoC

Senate Rules Committee Chairman Don Balfour had this to say about a proposed 25 – 30% millage rate increase in Gwinnett:

“If they pass this on Tuesday, they will not last to the end of the year. A recall is hard to do. In this case, it would be easy to do,” the lawmaker said.

Balfour is chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and controls much of the legislation that passes through the General Assembly. He said that by passing the tax increase, the commission threatens the standing of every other Republican elected official in Gwinnett.

Balfour conceded that the commission had met the letter of state law, which requires three public hearings before a vote. But he didn’t think two public hearings held yesterday met the spirit of things.

“To have two of the meetings on the day after Memorial Day?” he asked. A third hearing will be held next Tuesday, before the scheduled commission vote.

“They need to do crowd control at the next one. There may be 1,000 people there. Talk about a tea party,” Balfour said.


  1. Jeff says:

    I find it interesting that Balfour is saying this.

    Remember, he is the AUTHOR of a tax increase to pay GA Power profits (SB 31)…

  2. Bill Simon says:


    You beat me to it. BUT…I’ll say something related anyway:

    HOW many meetings did Senator Don Balfour have with HIS constituents before agreeing to sponsor the Ga Power Financing Out-The-YinYang Bill (SB 31) that conveniently exempts the company in which HE is a shareholder of (i.e., Waffle House, Inc.)?

    Answer: NONE. What a little sh*tbird. What a hypocritical POS.

  3. Chris says:

    Beyond the SB31 debacle, I think the point is being missed that it is very rare for a politican with further aspirations (say um, congress) to make such a bold stand against other elected officials in his/her district. This is big kids.

    Debbie is working on a Tea Party like protest next week. The next “hearing” is going to be mobbed. I would not be surprised if arrests are made next Tuesday. All this fun and I’m stuck out of town for work.

  4. AubieTurtle says:

    When are we going to see the petitions and tea parties in regard to the spending that caused this need to increase taxes? While I’m sure some of the need has been created by the downturn in the economy, the governments in high growth areas have been acting like the growth rates would go on forever and didn’t plan for what would happen if it didn’t. Even without the current economic situation, build out would come and the decline of existing properties and infrastructure would have to be dealt with.

    When people actually do protest spending it is either a generic “stop the waste” call or mentions specific items that don’t add to much in relation to the overall budget. The folks in Gwinnett and elsewhere are going to have to decide what they want and don’t want out of there government and actually work to make it happen. Just grumbling “less waste” isn’t going to change anything in the slightest. The public must be specific because if they’re not, the only things that get cut are for show and not of great consequence.

  5. Bill Simon says:

    The public must be specific because if they’re not, the only things that get cut are for show and not of great consequence.

    Well said, Aubie!

  6. debbie0040 says:

    Aubie, there was a budget considered that required across the board spending cuts and the commission did not pass it. We have been talking about cutting spending and the fiscal irresponsibility of some on the commission. It is has been all over the local blogs. At the protest that will be widely mentioned and you will see signs adressing that.

    I am waiting on the ok on the permit and will then release the location…

  7. debbie0040 says:

    As far as wasteful spending, here in Gwinnett we have two huge targets – Gwinnett Satdium and Parks and Recreation…

  8. Bill Greene says:

    Lost in the shuffle was the fact that State Rep. Pedro “Pete” Marin spoke at the second meeting on Tuesday, and stated in no uncertain terms that raising taxes at this point was the wrong thing to do. I was, to say the least, shocked that he would say it was EVER the wrong thing to do — but I applauded him saying it.

    Of course, if he HADN’T said it, I would have gotten to speak — they shut down the meeting right after he spoke, and I was next in line! Grrrrrr…

  9. seenbetrdayz says:

    B. Greene,

    You should have told them you were in favor of the tax increases, and tricked them into letting you speak.

  10. YourFutureLeader says:

    Don Balfour is a big part of the problem with Gwinnett in the first place. That being said on this issue he is 100% right.

  11. B Balz says:

    @Chris Very big indeed! This fact makes Mr. Balfour, “… is chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and controls much of the legislation that passes through the General Assembly. ” one of THE most powerful men in GA.

    The power BEHIND Mr. B runs deep and influential, Waffles Inc.

    Stay tuned on this, there is a lot going on here.

  12. John Cook says:

    The Commissioners are lying to us! We don’t really “need” that many more police. Here’s why:

    After the public hearing on Tuesday at GJAC, a man who said he was a past councilman from Suwannee said that this tax increase results from a testosterone contest of Chairman Bannister and other commissioners trying to flex their muscles to punish The Gwinnett Municipal Association (mayors). The mayors went to the Gwinnett Commissioners and said that they are providing services to city residents, but city residents get no break on the county millage rate–city residents are currently charged the same millage rate as other county residents even though the cities provide police protection and other services. State law requires cities and counties to share the millage rate based on services provided.

    Bannister reacted harshly and is punishing them–so the new tax proposal charges residents of cities a HIGHER millage rate than the residents of unincorporated areas–just so Bannister can prove that he can spit further than the mayors can. (Petty politics?) Not only did the cities not get the requested decrease, they are getting an additional 5% increase in millage rate more than unincorporated Gwinnett as punishment. In order for Bannister to get opportunity to increase the millage rates on the cities, he has to get an increase on the rest of the county to make the dastardly deed appear legitimate.

    The “need” for additional police results from the mayors saying that the County doesn’t provide police protection to city residents, so they should get a millage decrease from the county to compensate for what residents in incorporated areas of the county pay to the cities for police protection. Bannister’s reaction is that he will start to provide police protection rather than give the sharing in millage rate that State law requires. Thus the manufactured “need” for additional police.

    Scroll down the Dacula website under Announcements for a statement from Mayor Wilbanks regarding this:
    “Georgia’s Service Delivery Strategy (SDS) law requires that county and city governments reach agreement on how they deliver all services to property owners. SDS agreements must also address how taxes are charged to avoid double-taxation.

    “. . . . Our current SDS agreement expired on February 28, 2009. Failure to have a current SDS agreement causes the loss of our “qualified local government status” which amounts to state sanctions against the County and all Cities. The result is the inability to receive state grants, loans and permits. In early February, before the last agreement expired, Gwinnett’s mayors signed a 2-month SDS extension and delivered it to the Gwinnett County Commissioners. This extension would have avoided sanctions and allowed more time to negotiate. Unfortunately for all taxpayers, Gwinnett County refused to sign the extension, and instead filed a lawsuit against each city. . . .”

    So why aren’t the Commissioners telling us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

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