Happy Birthday, Mr. Balz

We’re getting complaints about not having enough OPEN THREADs, so what better reason to have one than,

1) It’s Friday, and

2) It’s frequent commenter B Balz’s birthday.

Everyone give him a shout out, and discuss the topic of your choice.

While you’re at it, someone remind Kellie that her brother Corey’s birthday is tomorrow. And go ahead and wish Dan Adams Happy Birthday on Sunday. Did I miss anyone?

OPEN THREAD

63 comments

  1. Nathan says:

    Happy birthday! Icky should buy all y’all a round for your birthday at the next road show….or maybe Tyler should since he’s the PP newbie.

  2. Kellie says:

    I know Corey’s birthday is tomorrow. It’s exactly one month after mine which you ignored on here. 😉

    • Dave Bearse says:

      Eliminating ad valorem vehicle taxation, and capping sales taxes on vehicles at a level that maximizes taxation on the purchase of middle class vehicles.

  3. TigerLily says:

    More on House committee Chairs:

    Earl Ehrhart: ‘I’m no longer House rules chairman’
    12:31 pm January 15, 2010, by Jim Galloway

    Just ran into state Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs). “I’m no longer House rules chairman,” he said. Boxes are already stacked in his office.

    The 22-year legislator held the No. 2 position of power in the House under Speaker Glenn Richardson, and – through his role as rules chairman – served as chief disciplinarian for the House leadership. So his removal was not unexpected.

    Even so, Ehrhart was remarkably upbeat, and says he landed well. He’ll be a vice-chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, overseeing the budgets of Georgia’s universities – good news for Cobb County, which is home to Kennesaw State University and Southern Tech.

    Ehrhart, who just turned 50, indicated that he wouldn’t be hanging around the Legislature too much longer, perhaps running for one more term.

    Another reason for his smile as he prepared to vacate his office – he just had a kid named to the U.S. Naval Academy.

  4. John Konop says:

    This is real issue! As I said before we should shift tax abatement money toward helping with SBA loans for small business. This would create jobs, cost less than tax abatement , increase tax revenue and feed the small business community starved for debt capital.

    Georgia unemployment claims rise 40 percent

    AJC…..State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond in December called a high-profile “jobs summit” to generate ideas and plans to get the state’s roughly half-million jobless back to work.
    He has invited a range of business leaders, public officials and academics to discuss ways to meet the ongoing crisis in the labor market.

    “This is a call to action for citizens to exchange ideas and strategies that will help stimulate the state’s job market and shape Georgia’s economic destiny,” Thurmond said in a statement Friday.
    The summit will be at Georgia Tech from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday…….

    http://www.ajc.com/business/georgia-unemployment-claims-rise-276205.html

    • Game Fan says:

      John
      The irony of “summits” and politicians and “plans” is you wind up with “more of the same” which is corporate welfare, redistribution of wealth, various pyramids, more concentration of wealth and power, ect… Asking politicians to “lay off the economy” would be too much to ask I suppose. How about the politicians concentrate on cleaning up what government is already involved in, eh? How about talking about fraud, waste, abuse, graft, corruption, nepotism, blackmail, lobbyists, offshore accounts, ect… Or maybe some advocacy of “getting government off our backs” sentiment once in a while, rather than the “corporate savior” which comes to “provide jobs”. Or some econ 101 like Peter Schiff? Oh sure, it’s not real exciting, but don’t forget, this helped get Reagan elected. Then again, Republicans were in the minority back then.

  5. ChiefofStaff65 says:

    A shake-up in the John Oxendine campaign
    2:19 pm January 15, 2010, by Jim Galloway

    Jeff Breedlove, who has been a constant presence in state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine’s Republican bid for governor, has departed the campaign.

    “Jeff has left to pursue other opportunities and we wish him the best,” said David Crim, a strategist with the campaign, told my AJC colleague Cameron McWhirter. For now, Crim will share responsibilities for running the operation with campaign manager Tim Echols.

    Echols replaced Breedlove’s wife, Kathryn Ballou, as campaign manager back in June. Jeff Breedlove remained as chief strategist.

    We’re trying to get hold of Breedlove, but have been unsuccessful thus far.

      • Jeff says:

        MS:

        Jeff Breedlove has made a habit while in John Oxendine’s employ of actively bullying people to get them to do things he wants. He tried it with me last April after John Oxendine and Liberty went up, he did it early in the summer against Jenny Hodges, and then he went and bullied a 15yo kid in August.

        If that is a “nice” guy in your book, I’d hate to see a jerk!

  6. Doug Deal says:

    Despite my reluctance, I have joined twitter about a week ago and use the clever and original handle “dougdeal”. If there are any PPers out there who would like me to follow them, please feel free to let me know yours and I will.

  7. macho says:

    I think it’s awesome that we have posts for B Balz and Max Wood, Vernon is going to feel right at home.

  8. AubieTurtle says:

    Since we have an open thread…

    I’ve got an easy layup for the first gubernatorial candidate who wishes to take it (and really, only the first major candidate to mention it will get credit from the public): Promise the end the tolls on GA400 during your first year in office. This will be very easy to do since the bonds that paid for construction will be paid off in 2011. Most of the public doesn’t know that and thinks it has been paid off for a decade, kept in place by a revenue hungry government out to squeeze every penny possible from Joe Average.

    What to do with the excess funds? Before I address that, I know some are confused as to how there can be excess funds when there is still debt due. The payoffs for the bonds are on a specific schedule and can not be retired early. Why? I couldn’t tell you the exact reason in this case but usually it comes down to the investors want the full amount of bonds and to not lose by having them retired early. In some instances there may also be tax reasons for wanting to spread the bond income over time rather than get a lump sum payment from the borrow who is able and willing to pay off early. The exact details of why they can’t be retired early aren’t as important as the fact that it simply wasn’t an option.

    Anyway, those excess funds could be promised to be used keep the GA400 extension in good repair until the money runs out, at which point the obligation would pass to DOT’s normal maintenance program. The GA400 extension is kept in good shape, with regular landscaping and litter collection due to the excess toll revenue. When the tolls are gone, the road is going to be less nice. Using the excess funds will extend the amount of time the road is kept in better repair and appears nicer than other roads, directly effecting those who paid the tolls over the years.

    Now for the bad part of removing the tolls from GA400. Since new toll roads are just talk at this time and it might be a decade before we see a new toll financed road/lanes, all of the state’s investment in toll technology and administration will be lost. Right now there are Cruise Cards in the vehicles of several hundred thousand people. The expense of closing all of those accounts, refunding millions in unspent account balances, and then restarting everything back up in how ever many years before the next toll road comes into existence might not be trivial. Also lost will be the expertise of running a toll road. Like so many things in life, it sounds and looks easy from the outside but is much more difficult when you get into the actual day to day details. I doubt regular users of the GA400 extension would be happy to leave the toll in place just to maintain the state’s toll assets.

    So there you go candidates… an easy to make promise that you will be able to keep and will prove very popular on many different fronts. You’ll have a great photo op donning a hardhat and taking a sledgehammer to one of the toll gates. The details of why the tolls are being removed won’t be important to most, just that it happened while you were governor.

  9. David says:

    Since this is an open thread I have a non GA political subject. I saw Book of Eli yesterday. Without being too much of a spoiler, I expect the hear the Christian bashers howling like stuck pigs in the coming days. Hollywood has surprised me.

    • kyleinatl says:

      I too saw “The Book of Eli” last night….it sucked BALZ!!!

      Terrible movie, Denzel might be America’s most boring actor.

  10. IndyInjun says:

    What ever happened to this little item?

    Georgia, like the other states, must take action to start paying down that unfunded liability in 2008 and eliminate it over the next 30 years. If they don’t set money aside for these benefits, the amount will be posted as a liability on the state’s accounting books, which would likely shoot down Georgia’s AAA bond rating.

    The size of Georgia’s unfunded liability for healthcare benefits is roughly equivalent to the yearly state budget of $18.6 billion.

    To retire a liability of that size would require Georgia to spend an estimated $500 million every year for the next 30 years, which would punch a huge hole in each year’s budget.

    If the estimate then was as high as $20 billion then, how big is it now, given the decision to avoid action in 2007?

    • Dave Bearse says:

      The day of reckoning being more than a couple gubenatorial terms out, you’re unlikely to hear anything about that little item soon.

      • IndyInjun says:

        Ah, if there were no convergence of other similar items of great weight, this could indeed be forestalled and would.

        One 400 pound sumo wrestler can jump in the pool without displacing a ruinous amount of water, but 4 or 5 at the same moment might drown everyone in the vicinity.

    • Game Fan says:

      That’s not a positive vision, unless you applied the laws of algebra to analogous comparisons. If this is the case then a negative analogy to a negative situation would equate to a positive.

  11. B Balz says:

    Pre-GA Gang Prediction: Dick Williams biggest Loser: SNUGGLES

    Mr. Jones,as quoted from AJC: “I realized I made some mistakes in the past and I’ve learned from them,” he told reporters. “I’m here to build bridges, not fences.”

    Earlier, somebody mentioned, “Maybe this will be the end of Mr. Jones pol career.” WE can all only hope. Maybe a criminal probe into the sale of his Arabia Mountain land would do the trick.

    • Hope you had a great one too, BB.

      Copy of FB status today:

      Thanks for all the Happy Birthday wishes I received over the weekend… being so overwhelmed by how many e-mails, FB posts and phone calls I received (plus, even a mention on peachpundit.com and jasonpye.com), definitely put the “icing on the cake.” Y’all are the best!

      ps… Icarus, my birthday falls on a Monday next year… so, if the liberty loving conservatives decide to remain hypocritical and continue to dictate Sunday prohibition, you’ll at least have no excuses (or at least one fewer) next year. 😉

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