First let me say that I encourage my friends on the left and middle, as well as fellow conservatives to critique this list – and hopefully add to it. The state legislature will convene in a few days, and I’m sure they are all waiting breathlessly to know what we citizens want. What do you really want? Please share your ideas.
Dear Georgia Legislature, The citizens of the state, with a few exceptions. have been good this year and so they deserve some consideration. Here is my Christmas wish list for the state of Georgia. I hope you’ll look at it carefully.
1. The state needs to give individual counties the flexibility to increase the limit on local option sales taxes subject to the same current restrictions (other than the overall cap) but limit that authority to the next five years with tax receipts to go into the local government’s general fund. Some poor, rural counties may need this to remain financially viable in this economy. I don’t like increasing taxes, so if there is a better way, I’ll certainly accept it.
2 – EVERY department at the state level needs to implement zero-based budgeting.
3 – Stop thinking about education in its present form. Look for alternatives that work whether they are within the current framework or not. Look at eliminating grade-levels so that students can work at different levels within each subject matter without regard to age. Grade levels stifle students in their best subjects and bewilder them in the areas in which they struggle. Could you please pass legislation making it possible to fix this?
4 – The most independent, politically neutral ethics commission possible should be established. There is a great motivation for this: The majority today may not be the majority tomorrow and this commission must be established in a way that no one can manipulate it for political gain and so that it is effective, consistent and renders the closest thing to justice available in this world.
5 – Commission a committee to study the state government, focusing on duplication of services and resources and make recommendations on reducing the cost of state government. Think of it as Georgia’s Grace Commission.
a – Put people on the committee from varied industries and backgrounds such as financial, manufacturing, agricultural, academic, logistics, health, medical, legal and all levels of government. Put the best and brightest forward, not necessarily the most politically connected. Set up a liaison with the Georgia Congressional delegation to obtain any necessary federal information.
b – Give that committee the keys to get any and all information from any state official and agency that can be legally obtained.
c – Make public all recommendations without interference from any elected officials. Establish a website to receive suggestions from citizens. Divert any suggestions for local and county governments to another website and make them available to the public, as well.
6 – Increase the penalties for the commission of voter fraud in state and local elections.
7 – Hey state senators and Lt Governor Cagle! Pay attention. The country is in a financial mess and state unemployment is at an unacceptable level, meanwhile you’re in a contest to see who’s the most juvenile. This is unacceptable. I have my own beliefs on who is mostly responsible for this, but it no longer matters. Fix it or it’s going to get really ugly and you may not get your fondest wishes in the coming years.
8 – Is there an organization that seeks out “best practices” from other state governments and reviews those practices to see if they will help Georgia? If not, isn’t it time to do so?
9 – I remember hearing you were going to review and improve the state tax structure. How about it?
10 – When Austin Scott was campaigning for governor, he suggested a state-wide grand jury to handle some matters that seem to fall in the cracks. It’s still a good idea, so how about looking into that?
Any other wishes?