Legislative Survey Results

January 4, 2013 13:03 pm

by Buzz Brockway · 8 comments

Here are the results from the 2013 Georgia Legislative Session Survey. 303 people responded to the survey here at Peach Pundit. If you want to compare these results to the survey taken by my constituents, click here. To be sure this is not a scientific survey, but this does reflect the opinions of those who responded. I want to thank all of those who took the time to respond.

Here are the questions and the results:

1. Generally speaking, do you usually think of yourself as a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian, an Independent, or something else?

Why I asked this question: I was interested to know the political leanings of readers of this website.

Republican: 46.0%
Independent: 21.9%
Libertarian: 14.6%
Democrat: 12.9%
Something Else: 4.6%

5. Considering how things are today, would you say that Georgia is generally headed in the right direction, or is it off on the wrong track?

Why I asked this question: I think this is an important question to gauge how people think we’re doing in a general way.

Right Track: 36.4%
Wrong Track: 48.1%
Unsure: 15.5%

Comments:

- I am pleased with Nathan Deal’s efforts in education and prison reform, but I still believe the Gold Dome is home to one of the most corrupt bodies of good ol boy cronies in the nation. We have so much potential and we’re squandering it.

- Can’t complain much – except about the Deal cronyism (“incestous nepotism” someone called it recently in a television interview – now that’s some powerful stuff) and the lack of transportation planning. Love the way Republicans shift gears when tax dollars are involved (e.g., crminal justice reform – let’s lock ‘em up and throw away the key until it costs too much). Entertaining to watch – and amazing how the public accepts it.

6. Thinking about the State of Georgia, what do you think are the most important issues facing the State? Please rank in order of importance with 1 being most important and 11 being least important. – The smaller the number, the higher people ranked that issue. Thus, Economy/Jobs is considered the most important issue by the majority of those taking the survey.

Why I asked this question: There is always a lot of noise about what issues are “most important.” Interest groups have their agendas and media covers stories they find interesting but what do the folks out there in the real world think is most important?

7. Should the State of Georgia raise the debt cap for the Georgia World Congress Center Authority to facilitate building a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons?

Why I asked this question: I figured the answer would be a strong no, but you never know until you ask.

Yes: 18.8%
No: 73.5%
Unsure: 7.7%

Comments:

- The State would be foolish not to let hotel guests and private enterprise build it an open air, retractable roof stadium for them to use to enhance events in the Capital city

- It is time to stop talking about fiscal integrity and begin to practice it. The Chicago Bears play in Soldier’s Field which has been around since the fire. What is so bad about the Georgia Dome?

8. Would you support a revenue neutral tax reform plan that reduced or replaced income taxes with sales taxes even if it meant taxing food or services currently not taxed?

Why I asked this question: I’m a proponent of tax reform, specifically a “Fair Tax” style reform. I’m pleased with this result and hope we can work toward that type of tax system here in Georgia.

Yes: 55.9%
No: 32.8%
Unsure: 11.3%

- I absolutely oppose regressive taxes that burden the poor unjustly in favor of those of us who have the luxury and means to save for things like our retirements and our childrens’ college educations. Georgia already has one of the most regressive tax policies in the country. Please fix that!

- Yes, if a 2/3 majority in both houses is required to increase the tax. otherwise, Hell no.

9. Would you support increased law enforcement presence on school grounds to protect students?

Why I asked this question: Since the NRA tossed this idea out there, I thought it would be interesting to see what folks thought about it.

Yes: 52.7%
No: 35.2%
Unsure: 12.1%

Comments:

- As well, I would support removing the gun free zone ban for anyone who holds a Georgia Weapons Carry License – teacher, parent, or otherwise.

- Armed guards roaming the hallways of my child’s classroom doesn’t sound like liberty and freedom to me.

10. Georgia Legislators are paid an annual salary of $17,342, which has not been increased in 15 yrs. Should this salary be increased to attract and retain better qualified candidates and elected officials?

Why I asked this question: A serious concern I have is the composition of the Legislature. I think it’s best when we have Legislators from all walks of life serving. I fear that with a stagnant economy we lose folks who would like to serve. I also am concerned that as we debate ethics reform we raise barriers to service. If ethics reform raises the cost of serving – especially for rural Legislators – we will end up with a Legislature composed of mainly wealthy people. That would not be good for Georgia.

Yes: 39.9%
No: 49.7%
Unsure: 10.4%

Comments:

- Only raise to $25,000 yearly. Make distance living from the capital a factor when calculating per diem. Members living further away usually have the most expense and sacrifice to endure.

- Most are not worth what they are getting now.I would support a pay-cut down to 15k

bgsmallz January 4, 2013 at 2:59 pm

“It is time to stop talking about fiscal integrity and begin to practice it. The Chicago Bears play in Soldier’s Field which has been around since the fire. What is so bad about the Georgia Dome?”

Could some of the ‘no’ be from a lack of sufficient education on the matter? I mean, this statement is undeniably 100% false but my assumption is that those ‘against’ the stadium wouldn’t do anything to correct this person’s false belief because it would hurt their position. Kind of the age old question of whether the ends justifies the means (if we win the vote, does it matter if we got support because people didn’t know the truth) and probably a debate as an issue in all walks of life…but I think this illustrates the issue pretty well.

Sorry to preach…and certainly not implying that anyone that has posted on the matter here (including Buzz, Charlie, etc.) cares more about winning than the truth. I’m more concerned with the main media outlet in town that seems content on reporting on an issue with a decided slant based upon which way the wind is blowing versus giving people real information on the matter.

[FWIW- Solider Field was demolished and completely rebuilt in 2003 at a cost of about $800 Million in 2012 dollars with 2/3 of that amount coming from ‘taxpayer dollars’ via bonds that are paid off by Chicago Hotel/Motel tax and 1/3 of it paid by the Bears and the NFL.]

Rambler14 January 4, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Hmmm…
people on Peach Pundit are MUCH more concerned about Transportation than the 186 constituents.

Any guesses why?

Buzz Brockway January 4, 2013 at 3:32 pm

I’m not sure why it ranked so low among my constituents. Traffic in Gwinnett is pretty bad. I suppose this helps explain why the TIA got so few votes in my part of Gwinnett.

Bob Loblaw January 4, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Why do you think abortion/gay rights/social issues ranked dead last? Do you notice the level of real-world significance in the issues at the top (jobs, education, out of control gov’t spending) and how nobody ranks health care reform (Obamacare), welfare reform (the 47%) or ethics reform (<30 people care, y'all) anywhere near the top?

I think the district is sending a message to the GOP. But we hear that there's a bill coming to make it harder to get welfare, guns in schools and a triggerman at every locker,"personhood" bills to make all pregnant women carry a rapist's or sicko relative's baby or one that'll die after birth or maybe maim her to carry, anything we can do to stymie Obamacare and within the first week, an ethics bill, whatever that is.

Hate to sound like Carville, but I think we need a little dry erase board like he had in the Clinton for President HQ in the middle of the Capitol that says at #1: "Its the economy, stupid."

Or maybe we can just post those survey results!!!!

The Last Democrat in Georgia January 4, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Buzz, thanks for giving us the opportunity to give some input and feedback to the legislature by posting the legislative survey for us and your constituents to fill out. Also, thanks for posting the results of those legislative surveys online for us and your constituents to view. That type of open and productive interaction between legislators and their constituents is very much appreciated.

Though I will point out that the reason that transportation ranked relatively so low amongst your constituents is likely because of the seriousness of all of the other issues that ranked in front of transportation. I mean, the economy, education (out-of-control) government spending, taxes, entitlements (which directly affect out-of-control government spending), government ethics (which affects the public’s level-of-trust in government) are all pretty heavy issues when compared to transportation.

Heck, speaking of the failed TIA/T-SPLOST, we can see how a very low level of trust in government affected the government’s transportation initatives as it is a very low level of public trust and confidence in government that directly affected the outcome of the TIA/T-SPLOST vote back in July.

Seeing as how Gwinnett County has basically been ‘ground-zero’ for issues of corruption in government in the last few years (shady land deals, anyone?…HOT Lanes, baseball stadium, trash mess, airport drama, FBI investigations, corrupt charges against county commissioners, etc) might better explain why the TIA got so few votes in your part of Gwinnett and in Gwinnett overall.

South GA Bulldog January 4, 2013 at 8:23 pm

The Tea Party should see where Ethics finished. They believe this is the most important issue out there. The poll shows there are more pressing issues. I sure hope the Legislature will concentrate more on the top issues and not spend a lot of time pandering to the Tea Party. I agree with Buzz about the pay raise allowing more people to serve. Good poll Buzz.

IndyInjun January 4, 2013 at 8:32 pm

I agree on the need for pay raise.

analogkid January 4, 2013 at 11:27 pm

I also agree on the pay raise. In fact, I’d support increasing pay as high as 60-80k, if (and only if) legislators were excluded from the retirement system. Those that want to remain in the retirement system however, should be forced to keep their current salary indexed for inflation. That is, I would make it optional for current legislators and mandatory for newly elected legislators beginning with the 2015-2016 General Assembly.

If the pay was enough to allow everyday citizens to support a family, the pool of qualified candidates would increase dramatically.

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