Morning Reads for Friday, January 6, 2012 the Long Form

Former CobbEMC CEO Dwight Brown’s re-indictment on 35 counts including alleged racketeering, theft and witness intimidation, has been upheld.

Saudi Arabia will upgrade 70 F-15 aircraft in a program that will be managed from Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, GA, resulting in up to 85 new jobs through 2020.

Duluth-based AGCO Corp. may be seeking a dance partner for a merger.

In a shocking display of irony, the Bank of America tower in midtown Atlanta may be facing foreclosure on $363 million in debt.

Governor Deal’s Georgia Competitiveness Initiative is likely to be a dominant topic of the General Assembly, which convenes on Monday. Rep. Brockway may be tardy, depending on how many ginger ales he drinks at the Peach Pundit Road Show the night before.

Gov. Deal’s job growth agenda includes repealing the state sales tax on energy used in manufacturing.

Gov. Deal will also propose eliminating or consolidating some state agencies.

Dennis O’Hayer has part one of an audio interview about tax reform with Speaker David Ralston online now.

The annual pre-session rush of fundraisers is in full swing; one person told me they had more than 30 invitations.

State Rep. Roger Williams of Dalton has announced he will retire after this session.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle continues to “assert his role as leader of the state Senate in 2012 despite challenges to his duties in the chamber last year.”

The President of Atlanta-based Cumulus Media estimates political advertising to top $350 million this year. Let’s hope, and if anything, that may be conservative.

The Gwinnett County Commission cut their $1.3 billion budget for 2012 by $5 million, and more noteworthy, the leadership of Chair Charlotte Nash and some turnover seems to have the Commission working together in a fully-functional manner. Commissioner Mike Beaudreau will serve as Vice Chair of the Commission this year.

The proposed privatization of Gwinnett County’s Briscoe Field is moving forward, as a pre-bid conference was held yesterday.

The US Labor Department announced that 200,000 new jobs were created in December, bringing the national unemployment rate to 8.5%. That represents the sixth consecutive month of job growth greater than 100,000 jobs.

News about Porsche and other things I like

Photo by Porsche

Porsche Cars North America, currently based in Sandy Springs, sold 15% more cars in 2011 over 2010.

Porsche’s will unveil their new 2012 911 Cabriolet at the Detroit Auto Show later this month. Porsche will also be bringing a diesel version of the Cayenne to the US.

Nikon has released the new flagship full-frame D4, adding 1080p video at 30 fps and stereo sound, along with significant upgrades to the still photography capabilities. Want.

If you’re considering running the March 18, 2012 Georgia Marathon, sign up today for a $15 discount.

Longtime Georgia Republican Larry Thompson and his wife have donated a major collection of African-American art to the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens.

A ceremonial sword presented by the Georgia General Assemby to Lt. Col. Daniel Appling, a hero of the War of 1812, will return to Georgia.

The High Museum is offering free admission to the “Picasso to Warhol” exhibition of works from New York’s MOMA to Title 1 schools with a high percentage of low-income students.

31 comments

  1. That’s good news about the 200k+ new jobs but U6 unemployment sits at 15.2% – better but still extremely high.

    Imagine if we actually had pro-economic growth policies coming out of DC? Imagine if we could get rid of Georgia’s tax on energy, encourage counties to stop taxing inventory and cut needless regulations?

    • I Miss the 90s says:

      Imagine what would happen if you and the rest of the right-wing stopped falling for GOP rhetoric and began listening to economists and political scientists?

      You pay entirely too much attention to taxes and “regulation” and the right-wing has no evidence that repealing any of these taxes or regulation will do anything to help the economy as a whole. In fact, the era’s of lowest taxation and regulation have been marred by economic and social disaster.

      To look at what a US with the government that governs least looks like, look no further than the US House of Representatives…which has around an 8% approval rating (which is a strong indication that the Tea party is almost universally despised in terms of not only platform, but legislative outcomes as well).

      • I Miss the 90s says:

        Oh yeah, lets not forget that the GOP and the Tea Party want nothing more than high unemployment and misery all around. It is the only way they can win in 2012, and…lets face it, all you people care about is having majorities or a republican in the white house. You could care less about “putting country first.”

    • benevolus says:

      Making it easier for companies to create jobs is only half the story. The purpose is to make possible good living conditions for our citizens. Creating a beneficial environment for business is only the means to that end. We don’t need government to create a feudal society, business will do that on it’s own. We need government to protect the workers/citizens from that fate.

    • griftdrift says:

      Imagine if people paid attention to arcane Unemployment numbers that have been around for decades instead of acting like they’ve discovered some obfuscated secret that’s suddenly important.

      • Ken says:

        grift,

        The longer unemployment stays high and the longer we continue to lose jobs from the workforce, the more important U-6 becomes because of discouraged workers.

    • saltycracker says:

      Define unemployment…..collecting unemployment or cutting a deal with an employer to combine with cash under the radar ? Cultural bankruptcy puts an increasing burden on those working above board as more and more do an end around on our system.

      Look around at the increasing number of folks gaming the system. Yesterday alone for us was one encouter after another from a repairman (one) and merchants (3) with unsolicited better deals if cash, watching a restaurant employee passing out free drinks for cash tips to ending with a big law firm TV ad on getting folks on SS disability (big business).

      When it is pervasive, the cancer grows. The most glaring cancers are how we do not adequately address illegal immigration, over pensioned/under worked govt employees, fraud of biblical scale on government programs and redistribution by rebates beyond taxes paid.

      Equal opportunity does not mean equal outcome. Maybe it is time to think about another approach than government manipulation and continued tweaking of a disruptive tax structure to adjust the winners and loosers.

      • benevolus says:

        Illegal immigration is not the problem. Even the security (or lack of) is a policing issue.

        As a country, our standard of living had become way higher than a lot of the countries we now have to compete with. An adjustment was inevitable. If we didn’t have illegal immigrants then Americans would be sitting around unemployed anyway because anything they would be doing would be too expensive to sell on the open market. In other words, the chicken farms and carpet mills would just move to Mexico.

        Unfortunately, with the banking crisis, the transition is happening quite suddenly and painfully, but our standard of living is inevitably changing.

        That’s what I think anyway.

  2. Calypso says:

    CobbEMC’s Brown must have balls the size of grapefruit to try and do what he did, going as far as witness intimidation. I hope them throw his crooked butt under the jail, after he’s found guilty in a fair trial, of course.

  3. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    “The Gwinnett County Commission cut their $1.3 billion budget for 2012 by $5 million, and more noteworthy, the leadership of Chair Charlotte Nash and some turnover seems to have the Commission working together in a fully-functional manner.”

    Does this mean no more shady land deals?

  4. Engineer says:

    How about the news that a typo may mean that Santorum actually won in Iowa?
    http://www.kcci.com/r/30144582/detail.html#ixzz1idUftgoh

    It seems there is a 20 vote difference between the votes at the event and the votes shown on the county’s report for that precinct (The county shows Romney got 22 votes at the precinct, the guy there keeping count only counted 2 votes for Romney).

  5. bowersville says:

    …encourage counties to stop taxing inventory…

    Watch out for unintended consequences of a back door millage rate increase on real property.

    • Charlie says:

      Yes, but this is what “tax reform” is probably going to look like. The state will cut local taxes so they can claim fiscal conservatism, not have to cut their budgets, then tell the local governments to cry them a river when they have to increase millage rates to make up the difference.

      • bowersville says:

        Yeah we’ll all pay in the end. As do we bend over now or patiently wait and bend over later? I was trying to be nice to Buzz by the wording of my 1st response.

    • Not what I’m talking about at all. Read the Tax Council’s report, inventory taxes hurt our competitiveness compared to other States. Why not let local governments put forward a local option sales tax to replace inventory tax?

      • Charlie says:

        With a few exceptions, inventories are generally kept the closest possible to the consumer. If a local government wishes to tax or not tax inventories, that is up to them. They are the ones that have to provide services to those businesses, and are the ones that need to weigh the consequences of whether or not the tax is prohibitive versus delivering the services to their residents.

        If I’m not mistaken, the state has already waived their portion of inventory taxes. It is not the states responsibility to do this at the local level.

        • Yes inventory taxes are a local issue but we can expand their ability to use local option sales taxes with incentives to use it instead of an inventory tax.

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            You mean local option sales taxes that will be interpreted by local taxpayers as additional tax increases that they’ll likely not want to vote for.

            The prospect of more local option sales taxes will likely go over as about as well as a lead balloon with all parties involved, particularly with local taxpayers who have grown tired of being hit up for more money through a seemingly never-ending amount of SPLOST’s in what is seemingly every passing election and local governments who will have to ask tax-weary constituents to vote to yet again increase sales taxes, this time to replace a dependable revenue stream in the form of local inventory taxes.

            If the state wants to abolish all inventory taxes then the state should just abolish them and eliminate that particular tax burden completely instead of playing political shell games and shifting the tax burden elsewhere for both businesses and consumers by encouraging local governments to replace inventory taxes with yet more local option sales taxes.

            The goal should be smaller government, not larger government with different revenue sources of a different name.

  6. L. Max Lehmann says:

    Todd,

    Perhaps you missed the excellent AJC article by Carrie Teegardin and Misty Williams
, linked below, concerning an issue that may affect EVERY Georgian by 2014; the new healthcare law, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

    As many here recognize, the current law requires an “insurance exchange” which is ” … important to doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and insurance agents, because health care payments and insurance products could be influenced by the design of an “insurance exchange,” which acts like a massive online insurance broker. ” So why wait?

    Insurance Commissioner Hudgens states, “The whole thing, from top to bottom, could be repealed,” discussing PPACA.

    The article states the ” Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case in late March, but may not rule on the matter until June.” While Governor Deal indicates he ” … does not want the feds to design the Georgia exchange if the law is upheld and would find a way for Georgia to design its marketplace in time for the launch in 2014. That could be tricky since this year’s legislative session will have ended by the time the Supreme Court rules.”

    Who cares?

    PPACA requires that the Federal government will set-up insurance exchanges, if States do not. Governor Deal prudently is taking a proactive, yet prudent approach toward Healthcare Exchanges. There are two approaches to Exchanges:

    Active Purchaser versus All-Comers Models

    Two states, Massachusetts and Utah, each have existing state exchanges that differ fundamentally. The Massachusetts exchange is considered an “active purchaser” model, has a large organization and a sizeable budget. The state’s model does not allow all licensed insurers to participate in the exchange. The Utah model, on the other hand, is an “all-comer” model that allows any licensed health insurer to participate. Utah’s exchange initiative is much smaller in scope with only two full-time employees and a limited budget. Currently, the Massachusetts state exchange is suffering major cost overruns. Both models welcome the participation of brokers and general agents.

    From the same source:
    http://www.benefitmall.com/News-and-Events/Industry-Insights/PPACAs-State-Exchange-Update-States-Taking-Different-Directions

    “States such as Georgia are trying to follow the “all-comer” path taken by Utah. The Georgia state legislature is considering legislation that would create a statewide compact rather than a restrictive exchange. In fact, Governor Nathan Deal has just signed new legislation that would put forward a new compact for the state. The exchange would consist of an open-access marketplace where consumers could evaluate and buy insurance plans. Unlike other states, however, Georgia’s exchange would not have large amounts of time and money invested in the newly developed project.”

    While Healthcare Exchanges lack the panache of Porsche, they are of the utmost importance to every employer and citizen. I feel this matter deserves ‘front page’ exposure, as it surely eclipses Presidential candidate worship choices, in the ’12 general election cycle.

    Read all about it!

    http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/waiting-game-may-cost-1291709.html

  7. ricstewart says:

    From Senator Jason Carter’s email newsletter today, I think this sums up the situation in the Senate pretty well:
    “Just as the Iowa caucuses were split between Romney, Santorum, and Paul, in the halls of Georgia Capitol, even well-connected Republicans whisper that there are three Republican Parties in Georgia:

    (1) a group of essentially pragmatic pro-business conservatives;

    (2) a group of values-driven “Christian” conservatives; and

    (3) a group of newly energized Tea Partiers, who are as value-driven as the “Christian” Right, but are driven (at their best) by an obsession with small government.”

  8. saltycracker says:

    U.S. Infrastructure Jobs on the Way !!!!!
    To China
    U.S. Firms just can’t compete with Chinese gov’t owned firms with low cost skilled employees.
    The low skilled labor to erect the bridges will mostly go to Americans…well at least those over here…..Below is an interesting ABC report…….

    By CHRIS CUOMO (@ChrisCuomo) , JOSEPH RHEE and LINH TRAN
    Sept 23, 2011

    Rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure is a growing priority, with President Obama highlighting construction jobs as part of his $447 billion jobs plan.

    In New York there is a $400 million renovation project on the Alexander Hamilton Bridge.
    ……The company uses mostly U.S. labor, but many coveted skill jobs such as engineering and design work are Chinese. The profits will also go overseas.

    In California, there is a $7.2 billion project to rebuild the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland.

    The state of California rejected federal funding for a major portion of the Bay Bridge in order to go with a Chinese company that offered the lowest bid. The move cost Americans almost 3,000 jobs — jobs that cost the struggling California economy millions of dollars in wages, taxes and potential consumer spending.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/bringing_america_back/american-infrastructure-jobs-shipped-china/story?id=14592567

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