GDOT accounting methods and dark economic clouds continue to gather

First, the Georgia House is helping GDOT to right the proverbial ship with regard to accounting and contractual practices.

The House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to authorize the DOT to award multi-year contracts for highway projects and a variety of other activities, a system of “accrual” accounting the agency used before a 2008 state audit concluded that it violated Georgia’s Constitution.

Swell. Meanwhile, consumers remain concerned about the economy and are likely to pull back spending over the next 30 days, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, which cites the Consumer Reports Index. Even tougher times may be ahead for state coffers, it would seem.

9 comments

  1. chefdavid says:

    And in the Transportation Committee a House Bill and Resolution passed that would reduce Transportation Board members terms from five years to two. The move is expected to reign in some of the DOT’s board independence. The Governors Transportation plan was discussed. One topic of concern for smaller populated counties is that there is no County opt out provision. The move is expected to reign in some of the DOT’s board independence. In the Senate a move was made to privatize rest areas.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      With respect to the transportation funding legislation as reported in the AJC a couple of weeks ago….

      It should be noted it establishes a system of selecting regional transportation projects to be put as a group before voters based on political units without regard to population. I find it ridiculous that Fayette County with a population of a little over 100,000 would have three votes in selecting projects (the two per county standard, plus an extra vote because of the fraction of Fayette residents within municipalities), while DeKalb, with seven times as many people, will only have two. This system of representation allocates Fayette over ten times the representation per capita as DeKalb, probably 12 times based on where funds originate.

      That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Consider that Muscogee County with a population of almost 190,000 will have two or three votes in its region, likely the same as Quitman County with a population of less than 3,000, in selecting projects. Quitman will thus have over 60 times the per capita representation in choosing projects as Muscogee. (As info, I haven’t seen of map of transportation regions, but Muscogee and Quitman are in the same RDC.)

      And to think it only took six years to get us to get the legislation to this point. Sheeeesh.

      • chefdavid says:

        I can see your point. I am looking at it from a small county standpoint. I am just worried a bill will be passed that the county may not even want. It is put on the ballot and we are stuck with the penny sales tax and not much for new projects. We are fortunate in where I live in that we are blessed with two interstates to bring in sales tax. What about the counties that are less fortunate, who have no interstates, and are just left with a sales tax that they don’t want? What ever happened to the principle of local control? I can see you point also. There has to be some sort of compromise that would work. I still think if the voters in a county say no then that should be the answer. Even if that means a .05 sales tax for State projects. Basically I look at this way, living in a small town that this tax is coming and there is nothing our small population can do about it. Kind of sounds like health care on the national level doesn’t it?

        • Dave Bearse says:

          If it wasn’t clear, the votes I was writing about were for selection of projects to be placed before voters as a package.

          The converse side is that from a small county perspective, the Quitman COunty voters (from my example above) will have virtually no input on whether the tax is imposed or not.

  2. Dave Bearse says:

    So how exactly does the General Assembly make something constitutional that was determined to be unconstitutional without amending the state constitution?

    The fact that the accounting is being returned to the former manner is evidence of anti-GDOT grandstanding.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      My sentiments exactly.

      A reader with a knack for numbers knows how the most populous counties in the state’s metro areas, Fulton, DeKalb, Chatham, Richmond, Bibb, and Muscogee Counties will fair under such a system. I leave it to all readers to determine what they have in common.

  3. Scott65 says:

    I think another good point is that 55% or greater of Georgia’s population is in the Atlanta Metro. It has gotten the short end for so many years that its beginning to effect growth prospects. Also dont forget that a good chuck of dollars that rural counties receive is generated in Atlanta. Fix Atlanta infrastructure and you go a long way in fixing the state. Also, companies that want to relocate here are far less concerned about tax breaks as they are about an educated work force, infrastructure, technology, and crime…of course they like the tax breaks too, but if the first four slip, you wont be able to tempt them with tax breaks no matter how big they are

    • AubieTurtle says:

      Problem is that the 45% that lives in the rest of the state are totally convinced that it is the other way around. They have long believed that they’re subsidizing Atlanta. When they come to town, they see roads a dozen lanes wide and all kinds of criss crossing fly over ramps. They hear on the news all of the infighting in the metro, which just convinces them more that the rest of the state would be better off if Atlanta would just disappear.

      On just about any message board that brings together people from across the state will have lots of posting about the above. So not only does metro Atlanta get ripped off by the rest of the state, it gets constantly spit at in the process. You can’t go wrong running your political campaign on an anti-Atlanta platform.

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