Why Earl Ehrhart Is My Hero

Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs), upon learning he had won a “Golden Sleaze Award” had this to say in the online pages of Creative Loafing:

Re: “CL’s 2013 Golden Sleaze Awards”

Please forward me a copy of the paper version of this edition. I will be glad to pay postage and for the actual newsprint. You have left me out of your award for years after an almost 15 year run. I have framed copies of all my “golden sleazies” as badges of honor.

Thank you so much for pointing out to my constituency that I continue to represent the basic values of this great country, and do not subscribe to those of the Creative Loafing Commune.

I know you will be thrilled to know that each time I get your award my percentage of favorables jumps significantly in my district.

Thank you so much !

Earl Ehrhart

Well done sir. Keep up the good work.


  1. Kilkenny Kid says:

    We need more like Earl in the General Assembly – he’s one of a few that don’t lick their fingers to determine which way the wind is blowing.

    • MattMD says:

      Very true, but it’s primarily due to the fact they’re all bent and dragging in the dirt.

  2. chamblee54 says:

    The “Subsidizing Homophobia” Award

    Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs

    Earlier this year, the New York Times told the world some lovely news about Georgia: State money is going to pay for student tuition at private schools that bar gay students. Turns out a popular tax credit program allows parents to donate to private educational foundations that funnel the cash to private schools, some of which have policies that allow students to be expelled just for advocating gay tolerance. While no longer the heavy-hitter he was when former ally Glenn Richardson wielded the Speaker’s gavel, Ehrhart decided to increase the tax scholarship program’s cap from about $50 million to $80 million. Ehrhart’s so shameless in his support for the program that he brazenly called it a “voucher.” Speaking of shameless, he also operates one of the nonprofits receiving the donations.
    This is copied from the CL page as a public service.
    Is raising the “cap” on a program, that benefits a non profit that you operate… is this conflict of interest? Is this the “the basic values of this great country”? Or, is exposing it the value of the “CL commune”?

    • MattMD says:

      People would do well to be worried when someone else starts to lecture them about ‘basic values’.

      • Napoleon says:

        @MattMD, I agree.

        “We hang on to our values, even if they seem at times tarnished and worn; even if, as a nation and in our own lives, we have betrayed them more often that we care to remember. What else is there to guide us? Those values are our inheritance, what makes us who we are as a people. And although we recognize that they are subject to challenge, can be poked and prodded and debunked and turned inside out bu intellectuals and cultural critics, they have proven to be both surprisingly durable and surprisingly constant across classes, and races, and faiths, and generations. We can make claims on their behalf, so long as we understand that our values must be tested against fact and experience, so long as we recall that they demand deeds and not just words.”

        ― Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

    • Ah yes, the whole “school choice=homophobia” argument shamelessly advanced this year by opponents of student scholarship organizations. That can’t win the political argument because the program is popular and actually helping people so they resort to accusations of homophobia.

  3. Ellynn says:

    I want to know why my taxes have to go to private schools. If I want to give money to a school I do (and have). Why is it ok to let public dollars be spent on pushing one groups agenda but not another persons?

    • It’s a tax credit. It’s not like he’s giving the money to the government and then the government is sending the money to them. I don’t have a problem with it myself. I like the idea that people have more control over where *their* money goes. While I personally wouldn’t financially support a school that excludes people based on their sexual preference, I appreciate the fiscal side of this education funding mechanism.

      • xdog says:

        It’s more of what passes for school choice in goper circles. Not that they’re anti-public education or anything.

        • Ellynn says:

          I know the workings of Grace scholarships. Even as a tax “credit ” that still means my taxes have to be used for what the credit would cover else where and some little child in a private Pentecostal school is being taught I am a bad person because I’m Catholic… and they get to use public tax credits to do it. That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. So the child get a better education (in theory) so it’s ok. AND a private business gets the money instead of the public sector. You can call it semantics but how is this any different then public dollars going to other private parties doing something someone doe not like and does not fit their values? Would it be ok for some (not saying any one in general) if the tax payer money going to Plan Parenthood was a ‘credit’ instead of a grant for cancer screening? So the money for education/cancer screening being used by a private party is ok even if they have another value system you dislike (and technically your tax dollars are not really being used to promote THAT value, but the greater good of education/cancer screening)? Got to love”sematics”….

          • Harry says:

            This is how many of us feel about educational elites attempting to teach political correctness in the taxpayer-supported public schools.

            • Ellynn says:

              I also have issue with the public school system… but that will pull me off topic here, which was why are tax dollars/credits going to private schools scholarships(most of them religous based) in the first place? Why is state government involving itself in this? Why did it create more government to handle something that is addressed in the charritable giving sections of the tax code? If the state wants to restucture public education or favor private control, we have a whole charter system to do that with state funds/grant/credits. and we can cut state funds to DOE in a nice clean bill. But the state did not do this. They made the government bigger, and some of the people who wrote the bill will make money off of the ‘credits’ at all of our expense. (I do give him credit for being mocking and ironic to the point of being funny in the email …)

                • Ellynn says:

                  I didn’t say charters were private schools. Charters are public schools that are’ privately controled’. A public school system funds it and can issue it’s charter, pay for it’s school facilities and ect…, but at the end of the day a private group runs and controls that public school. AND if said group doesn’t like whatever restrictions the locally elected BOE has to say to them, they can now go to the state system and talk to a group of non-elected officals (most who have their fingers in educational money making private sector groups) and be ‘privately controled’.

                  • mpierce says:

                    but at the end of the day a private group runs and controls that public school.

                    Please show me a Georgia charter school that is not subject to NCLB.

            • James says:

              Harry, I relish the fact that your children are going to hate everything you stand for. Hooray for liberal education!

          • mpierce says:

            AND a private business gets the money instead of the public sector.

            Educating students has a cost. The public sector in Georgia is spending more than $10000 per student on education. Giving a $2500 tax credit in exchange for taking one of those students out of the public system into a private one is a bargain for the taxpayer.

            • Ellynn says:

              Why can’t we do this through the existing charity section of the tax code? I can give money to a non-profit school which will help take students out of the public system. Of course they don’t get a matching credit of state money that way, but why should some one (be it a school or a some other non-tax paying person or thing) get a credit in the first place if they don’t pay into the system? It’s that what all this low tax platforms are about. Plus are the students being removed from the system from my tax base? How much money went to private schools in rural areas? If you live in one of these counties how much was your BOE taxes lowered by this?

              • mpierce says:

                Again, this money is in lieu of a more expensive government provided service. You are ignoring the money it would have taken to educate that removed student.

                • Ellynn says:

                  I’m not ignoring the money. I am questioning who gets it.

                  The irony here is that private schools only have to take the students they want to take. The good students, the star football player, the low maintance highly motivated parents. If you have a child with special needs, the vast majority of private schools (some do, but most don’t) will not take a special needs student since they cost too much to either teach or have the building requirements for their special concerns. The pubic system has no choice, they have to educate all children. So this in turn raises the median cost per child due to the “more expensive government provided service”.

          • “Even as a tax “credit ” that still means my taxes have to be used for what the credit would cover else where”

            But that works two ways. Plenty of people put their kids in private schools, having to pay the rather expensive tuition… and then have to help pay for public schools that they don’t even use as well. I’m all for a simpler tax system… but until we get rid of ALL of these credits / deductions and go with a flat tax or a consumption tax, I have no problem with people finding ways to keep some extra of *their own money* in their pocket.

      • Scott65 says:

        David…tax credits are the government giving them money. I hate to break it to you, but if not for a government intervention…they would not receive it. There are a ton of things that I would prefer my tax money not go to, but I dont get to pick and choose, nor do you. I just get to vote for the person that does and hope that my voice gets through

        • mpierce says:

          The money is in lieu of a more expensive government provided service, so it’s not really a gift.

            • mpierce says:

              I suppose the government should be the arbiter of value as opposed to the parents. And of course value is the same for everyone as we know one size fits all. And it makes sense to override parental preference so that you can spend $10000 on public education rather than allow a $2500 scholarship to a private school.

        • You call it the government giving them money, and I’ll call it allowing them to keep more of their own money. As I said above, until we get rid of ALL of the deductions / credits and go with a flat tax and consumption tax, I have no problem with this. I’d also like to see a voucher type system where the dollars follow the child. Then let parents pick private, public, charter, whatever. If everyone is going to be forced to pay into the pot, then the money should follow the child so that everyone can benefit from that forced “donation”.

          • Lea Thrace says:

            I have no kids. Yet, I have to pay into a system that in NO WAY serves me. Let me keep my money.

            • Napoleon says:

              Oh Lea, it DOES serve you. Imagine, without the sub-standard education your tax dollars goes to support in Georgia, you would have hundreds of thousands of kids whose parents couldn’t afford private school running around without a babysitter in front of a chalk board thereby being a public menace. Remember, a kid in school receiving the level of quality eduation to prepare them for the fast food service indistry (but at least they will “feel good” about their career) is a kid NOT breaking into your house! Just think of it as “protection money” and move on.

          • MattMD says:

            What makes flat/consumption/”Fair” taxes immune from the same interests which get deductions/credits under our existing system?

  4. Scott65 says:

    Buzz if he is your hero, you’ve got problems. As I recall, you voted for that horrid broadband bill that was nothing more than a corporate gimmie (also mention in the sleaze awards)…so, I think you might need to find a new set of “heroes”… because you dont have a stellar record either.

    • Scott65 says:

      just as a reminder…
      The “Dial-Up’s Good Enuf for Y’all” Award

      Rep. Mark Hamilton, R-Cumming

      The Forsyth County Republican inadvertently showed that the Other Georgia — the foreign land lying far outside metro Atlanta — still matters. Hamilton tried to tell small towns that if they want access to Internet service with enough bandwidth to stream an HD movie, they must wait for the likes of AT&T or Windstream to deem them worthy, instead of laying their own fiber. Trying to save citizens from the threat of public Internet, he ignored a parade of small-town mayors, residents and city managers testifying that private companies are failing to offer them Internet fast enough for a single school or hospital. But rather than die waiting for the phone company, Democrats and rural Republicans rejected Hamilton’s handout to Big Telecom.

    • Well, I don’t think government should be in the broadband business. Hamilton’s bill exempted the cities currently in the broadband business as well as some other exemptions so folks without broadband in areas providers don’t serve could get it. For CL to give that bill a Sleaze award was silly.

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