House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey Makes Closing Argument For Republicans

The following is posted on behalf of Republican House Member and Majority Whip Ed Lindsey:

A Clear Choice On November 2nd

Dear Fellow Georgians:

On Saturday, I attended a rally for State Representative Stephen Allison in Blairsville and on the way home was considering our Republican prospects on November 2nd. In many respects, Stephen’s race is a microcosm of what is going on in dozens of races around Georgia and statewide.

Stephen is running as a Republican – standing shoulder to shoulder with Nathan Deal and Johnny Isakson on conservative principles for a sound budget, lower taxes, tough illegal immigration policies, and true education reforms that put students first. After getting home, I researched his opponent and I discovered that he is running as a . . . well, I couldn’t tell what he was running as.

Nowhere does he identify himself as a Democrat.

Around the state, the story is the same — Republicans proudly running under the GOP banner and Democrats hiding their party label as if it was a tattooed reminder of an indiscretion they would prefer to forget. The voters of Georgia, however, must and will remember.

Under Republican leadership, we understand in tough economic times that you do not show that you have Georgians’ back by digging deeper into their pocket.

As a result, we slashed Georgia’s state budget by 20% in the past two years and kept Georgia’s AAA bond rating.

On education, we have worked to provide additional flexibility to local school boards on how to govern, required that more money be spent in the classroom, and given more choice to parents and students.

On property tax reform, we have fought to bring greater fairness to property owners and imposed a moratorium on assessment increases during this difficult period.

In regards to the tsunami of illegal immigration faced by Georgia in recent years, we have passed tough laws cracking down on the problem and stand ready to push harder in the coming year.

Republicans have also protected the ballot box by passing common sense requirements to have a photo id to vote and have made it easier for Georgians to cast their ballots early. We have also passed two comprehensive Ethics reform packages in recent years that made Georgia’s ethics laws among the best in the nation according to the national Center for Public Integrity.

And what have the Democrats done — or tried to do — over the past decade in Georgia?

In response to the current economic crisis, they proposed raising income and consumption taxes.

On education, they have consistently fought to maintain the status quo, opposing legislation that required greater tax dollars for the classroom as opposed to bureaucrats or providing greater opportunity to parents and students.

Instead of standing with property owners, Democrats opposed property tax reform and fought against any restrictions to out of control reassessments.

Similarly, Democrats also refused to stand with Georgians in the face of illegal immigration. They not only opposed the legislation we have passed to combat this problem but Democratic House leadership in 2003 even proposed to permit illegal immigrants to have drivers’ licenses.

Democrats also not only opposed Republican efforts to strengthen the sanctity of the ballot box but they also have repeatedly proposed allowing convicted felons to vote.

With a record like that, it is not surprising that when Democrats were last in power in the Georgia House, the repeatedly refused to allow any meaningful ethics reform legislation to come to the floor for a vote.

In conclusion, the choice for voters in Georgia on November 2nd is clear. They can vote for Republican candidates who stand in the light of day on their conservative principles or for the other party trying to hide their liberal tattoo in the shadows.

State Representative Edward Lindsey (R-Atlanta)
Georgia House Majority Whip

21 comments

  1. “Stephen is running as a Republican – standing shoulder to shoulder with Nathan Deal and Johnny Isakson on conservative principles for a sound budget, lower taxes, tough illegal immigration policies, and true education reforms that put students first.”

    Wow Charlie, can’t believe you actually posted something semi-positive about Nathan Deal, even though not your words. Impressive. Didn’t think you had it in you.

  2. Clint says:

    By reputation, Ed Lindsey is known to be a reasonable person, so I take what he wrote here to be largely attributed to his party leadership role. However, when Republican leaders start righting 2 page 610 word letters hailing all things great about Republican in office, things are getting a little thick and someone needs to pour some cold water on that pile of BS. So I offer my own pile!

    There is no agreement from any corner or party in Georgia about the need for sound budgets, lower taxes, tough illegal immigration policies, or education reforms. Stating otherwise is just a lie and misleading to the voters.

    To suggest that just because you do not embrace the group think of a political party, and rather prefer to run on the credibility of your ideas and proposals first seems to be an erosion of the importance of the participation of any one person and thus, is an insult to our democratic process and voting in general. Every person serving should be representing their constituents first and foremost and not the goals of a political party.

    Many who have switched their voting preferences in the past used to say that they didn’t change; their party changed and left them behind. I understand how they feel, because in Georgia, Republican state legislators (and even some Democrats) in the General Assembly seem to represent the corporations and special interests first, rather than the values and concerns of their citizens.

    Under Republican leadership, property taxes have increased, draconian cuts to education have resulted in furloughs, larger classrooms, and higher local school taxes, and transportation planning and funding has fallen so far behind that it may take a generation to catch up to our competing states. Additionally, the lack of focus on improving conservation and smart water use is resulting in an approaching crisis situation in the state’s largest metropolitan region.

    To be certain, there have been bright spots, but those bright spots have come out of Governor Sonny Perdue’s leadership and belt tightening more so than any innovation or act of the legislature. The legislature seems more concerned with limiting stem cell research, prohibiting microchip implantation, and other nonsense. Governor Perdue hasn’t been perfect. I personally see no reason for the large investment by the state to encourage bass fishing.

    Any legislator that touts standing shoulder to shoulder with Nathan Deal should be prepared to answer the question of whether or not it is acceptable for a Member of Congress to use their taxpayer paid office for personal gain, resign in the middle of the night to avoid an ethics investigation, and refuse to acknowledge wrongdoing that has clearly been proved by the emails and documents obtained by open records requests. Furthermore, it could leave one to wonder if they indeed use their own office for personal gain. Additionally, does a legislator in support of Nathan Deal support no-bid arrangements with the state like the one Nathan Deal had? Does a legislator believe that they have a right to do business with the state as a contractor or subcontractor even though it is a conflict of interest? Will they do a top to bottom review to ensure there are no other such arrangements like the one Nathan Deal had? We just went through a period in Georgia Politics where legislators claimed to not know of the former Speaker’s ethical lapses and expressed surprise, even though it was well known by just about everyone in the state’s political world. Our state can hardly afford another scandal of such magnitude.

    At some point, you must wonder if these people are going to turn a blind eye to corruption within their party, and not police it themselves, then, why not send some new people to serve who aren’t so beholden to the group think of a political party, but rather truly represent what is in the best interests of their district and the citizens within it. Luckily, knowing some of the new incoming House Members and Senators, I can say with absolute certainty that we have some good people on the way, I just hope they do not give in or get forced into the destructive group think.

  3. All:

    I always love a lively discussion on PP ande apologize for being away for so long. Clint gives an impassioned argument against my letter but let let me set the record straight on some of the legislature’s recent efforts. Contrary to the above discussion, we have made significant leaps forward in the last session on several of the legitimate concerns raised.

    We passed a comprehensive regional transportation bill that creates a framework for cooperative state and local government efforts and will enfuse badly needed funds to begin tackling metro Atlanta’s chronic transportation morass. We also included a comprehensive analysis of transit in the metro region that should provide for greater integration of our disparate transit systems that are presently not working together as they should be. I encourage you all to be part of this effort.

    On water, I agree that we need to improve both capacity and conservation. I suggest you read our water conservation bill that we passed last session that provides for many of initiatives that were called for in the above post.

    On education, there is clearly much that needs to be done in this state but lets be fair on where education has been prioritized in these tough times. Cuts to education took place in the state budget in order to pass balance it. You cannot avoid touching education given its percentage of the budget. Every state in the nation has had to face similar furloughs and painful education cuts. Period. No exceptions. However, cuts in education in our state were generally half what they were to other areas of our budget and education now constitutes a higher percentage of the state budget than at any time in Georgia history. Furthermore, Georgia teachers continue to be the highest paid in the Southeast and, after adjusting for cost of living, one of the highest paid in the nation. Finally, the reforms that have been passed in Georgia in recent years — improved flexibility for local systems, demanding that a higher percentage of tax dollars go into the classroom, expanded charter schools, strengthening accountability requirements, and greater control and choice for parents students — have been nationally recognized as some of the most far sighted in the country as evidenced by Georgia being recognized in the national Race to the Top Program. We must do better but we have made important steps in the right direction.

    As for property taxes, the most important thing the state can do on this local matter is make sure that the process is as fair as possible. That is why we passed a bill last year that tilts the process back toward the property owner in the appraisal appeals and why we will continue to fight for sanity in capping reassessments to stop property owners from unfairly being taxed on unrealized gains.

    As far as wanting legislators to follow lock step with each other. I think you missed my point of my letter. That is the last thing I would ever advocate. I have long believed that the central role of a representative is not to deliver edicts from the Gold Dome but to carry the wisdom of their communities to table where state decisions are made. However, it important that candidates start with a certain set of core beliefs regarding the nature of government, and the principles of the two parties are vastly different. My point is that Republican candidates in close races this year are willing to stand with their party’s core principles while Democrats are running away from their party in order to try and get elected.

    Finally, I absolutely agree with the assessment regarding the quality of the incoming legislative freshmen. We have an exciting group of men and women that I am confident will hit the ground running and make great things happen quickly.

    As I alawys do here, let me encourage readers to get in touch with me if they have any further questions at [email protected] or 404-656-5024.

    All the best.

    Rep. Edward Lindsey (R-Atlanta)
    Georgia House Majority Whip

    • Harry says:

      See, a lot of us are absolutely opposed to additional taxes on the already stressed Georgia economy: The transportation sales tax, the hospital bed tax, the “trauma center tax” (which should be appropriated from the general fund if it’s so important, and not sold as a “do or die” requirement), etc., etc.

      You, sir, have a tin ear regarding the need to hold the line on taxes.

      • macho says:

        A lot of folks like to bash the legislature, some of it they deserve, some of it they don’t. The fact is, GA has one of the most fiscally conservative governments in the Union. We continually rank as one of the lowest, if not the lowest, per capita spending states in the entire country.

        When it comes to fiscal restraint, the GA legislature gets kudos.

        • In addition, they are doing this during the worst economy many of us have ever experienced and while facing ever decreasing revenue.

          It’s easy to bash Republicans, but they have done a great job under the circumstances. However, bashing the GOP is what PP, even supposed Republicans like Erick, Charlie, and Tyler, do best.

        • Harry says:

          “We continually rank as one of the lowest, if not the lowest, per capita spending states in the entire country”

          That was true 30 and more years ago, but now? I’d like to see where you got the information that Georgia is so fiscally responsible. Georgia now has at least twice if not three times as many state employees per capita as 30 years ago. Certainly Georgia looks good compared to California, Illinois and New York.

          The main problem in Georgia is that big business has been the main driving force in getting new fees and taxes that benefit big business, ie transportation tax, and the hospital bed tax – the proceeds of which is piped right back to them. They also get legislation to further restrict competition. The legislature is the facilitator, and they benefit in the form of campaign contributions and having no opposition in the primaries.

          • macho says:

            I’ve heard a number of Legislators mention this, which yes, I know that can get me in some trouble. I don’t know how much the amount of GA State employees has grown over 30 years, but I expect it would be a substantial amount, due to the state’s huge population growth.

            I did a quick google search. A lot of the sites were subscription only, but the Athens Banner-Herald has this from 2009:

            “In that Georgia ranks 49th in state spending per capita, it is clear that Georgia is facing a revenue problem and not a spending problem. In fact, due to 15 years of tax cuts and a changing economy, Georgians are paying less of their income to support state government now than at any time in more than 30 years.

            http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/010809/opi_374971938.shtml

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Conservative, who believes in small government, but it’s unfair not to give the Legislature their due when it comes to fiscal stewardship.

            • Harry says:

              My information is that Georgia has at least twice as many employees per capita as in 1978. It has double the population now as then, so the overall number of state employees has increased by a factor of four. Why?

              • macho says:

                Where does your information come from?

                Everything I’ve heard is that GA has done great on this front. Other areas you can criticize. I’m always amazed at when I hear a statement like this, “The GA legislature has done nothing about transportation, teachers are getting furloughed, trauma care is a mess and our taxes are too high.”

                  • Charlie says:

                    My gut reaction Harry is that the addition of the word ‘per capita’ makes it incorrect, but I could be wrong.

                    I think the state has almost tripled population during that time. That would mean that the number of employees would have had to increase roughly six fold since 1978. Possible, but I don’t think so.

    • “However, it important that candidates start with a certain set of core beliefs regarding the nature of government, and the principles of the two parties are vastly different.”

      Isn’t it also important, then, that candidates reflect the principles of the party that they’re running under? Do Deal, Cagle, Isakson et al really reflect the principles of smaller government that the GOP platform calls for? From supporting farm subsidies (paying farmers not to grow crops) to No Child Left Behind to Medicare Part D to large tax breaks for big oil to… (the list goes on…). At what point do we decide that the letter beside the candidate’s name is meaningless and that they don’t truly reflect the principles stated by the political party that they are running under?

  4. greencracker says:

    @clint, quoted for truth: “By reputation, Ed Lindsey is known to be a reasonable person …”

    quoted for a reasonable theory: “… so I take what he wrote here to be largely attributed to his party leadership role. ”

    I think it’s that damn 11th commandment. Plenty of GOP leaders (like PP’s beloved Austin Scott for example) are reasonable, thinking people … until it gets to public speaking, especially in election season. 🙁

  5. Three Jack says:

    what a bunch of horse manure!

    the gop increased the budget by $5b in less than 4 years before facing the revenue shortfalls that forced them to cut. that is not an accomplishment mr. lindsay, it is retreat in the face of failure.

    education is still a joke, illegal immigrants left because development stopped and crime is on the rise. failure, failure, failure.

    to top it off, the gop gives us amendment 1 which seeks to restrict a person’s ability to find employment during a time of high unemployment.

    sorry mr. lindsay, but your defense of the gop lacks foundation…you and the rest of those in charge should apologize for the past few years instead of touting bogus successes.

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