The following Op-Ed was written by Chris Clark, President of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. We’ll have an opposing viewpoint posted here at 1:00.
How many times have we heard someone say that they wished government operated more like a business? How we wish those in government would be more sensitive to how they are spending our taxes –making those dollars stretch the way we are all required to at home or at work?
Here in Georgia, our elected leaders are working hard to create a leaner, more efficient government that still meets the needs of the citizens it serves. While some of that work can be done within the halls of government – other decisions need the affirmation of the people, as is the case with Amendment 2 on this November’s ballot.
Amendment 2 would allow the state to enter multi-year leases for office space – lowering rental rates and creating more certainty for the budget planning process. In fact, the State Properties Commission has estimated that if passed, this alone would save the state over $66 million in the first ten years.
While state government operations stay in any one location an average of nearly 11 years – current law requires that the lease be renegotiated every year. This leaves the state vulnerable to annual rent increases and prevents it from negotiating the lower rates typically agreed to for longer terms.
It is simply common sense to allow the state to take advantage of the cost savings enjoyed by business – especially when there is confidence that state operations will remain in a particular location for longer than one year.
Amendment 2 received wide-spread support when voted on by the General Assembly earlier this year – and is also supported by Governor Deal. This was not only because of the projected financial savings – but because of mechanisms built into the new law that ensure the state will not end up in risky or inappropriate lease agreements. Other states have used this approach to leasing space with great success – and were able to maintain their AAA bond rating while doing so.
Amendment 2 is a common sense solution to a real issue, which is why the Georgia Chamber is encouraging all Georgians to vote “yes” on November 6.
For more information about this cost-saving issue, visit www.savetaxdollars.org.