Morning Reads: 24 March 2014

March 24, 2014 6:30 am

by Eric The Younger · 13 comments

Now that Session is over and the weekend has passed, it’s time to get back into the swing of normal post Session life. Here’s what happened over the weekend.

Georgia

Ernie Suggs profile of Alexis Scott made the Washington Post.
Need a rundown of everything that passed this session and what it’s impact will be?
Here’s a possible path for the Democrats this cycle.
With Session over, it’s now primary season. (MyAJC link)
Health care, compare and contrast between Nathan Deal and Jason Carter.
Just a thought, but maybe that money could have been used a little wiser.

National/International

President Carter has a new book.
Heroin’s unexpected spread in America.
Another oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Events in Venezuela should be on more people’s radar.
War is looking more and more likely in the Ukraine.
Some possible debris has been found of Flight 370.

Everything Else

Using E. coli to manufacture things? That sounds nifty.
A chicken from hell, that is for sure.

Dave Bearse March 24, 2014 at 7:50 am

Another General Assembly session largely bereft of GaGOP leadership and practical ideas is under the belt.

Tax reform, transportation, and updating QBE, talked about for years, are too much for a nearly two-thirds majority to do anything a dozen years into GaGOP control of state government. Not doing anything on tax reform is welcome relief though, since the GaGOP doesn’t know the difference between a fee and a tax. (The tire disposal “fee” that largely not spent on tire disposal remediation was renewed, natch.) Besides, “tax reform”, a euphemism for cutting taxes on the rich by shifting tax burden to the middle class and poor, would spotlight the party’s avarice when this year was highlight was malice.

Legislation whose effect is to impede Georgians access to information about Healthcare insurance and obtaining insurance is malicious. I don’t expect other than cra-cra conservatives to dispute that.

The GaGOP: delivering red meat while presiding over a decade long decline relative to other states.

Rambler14 March 24, 2014 at 8:48 am

Looks like PolicyBEST’s ideas went 0-for-2

4th Penny to GDOT
Fractional SPLOST

But let’s just continue to bury our heads in the sand. Traffic will go away if we just sprinkle magic fairy dust everywhere.

Charlie March 24, 2014 at 10:04 am

Actually not. We made it clear at our launch that our legislative goals on transportation were not for this session. Rep Setzler’s bill was flawed in that it sought to change the balance between counties that had already passed T-SPLOST vs those that had not. Carson’s bill was respectable and should have passed, but the ground work for comfort level of putting any SPLOST back in the news just before the GOP primary wasn’t done, and we knew we were not in the position to do that.

As for the 4th penny, we also knew that this year’s budget was already spoken for with block grants to county boards of education accounting for most of the year over year revenue increases.

What we do have is a joint House-Senate transportation study committee that will look at transportation funding with the goal of having a solid proposal for next year. That keeps all of our four proposals on track.

Where we did achieve success was in education, where we joined with a coalition to defeat SB 167 and preserve Common Core standards as the voluntary State led initiative that they are, not as the Obama administration created Sharia Law stalking horse that they are portrayed to be by the paranoid class.

On this, we had good success, and note that there is also a House study committee to review federal ties to the program, so that potential problems with the program remaining voluntary may be addressed while not capitulating to those who would deny basic fundamentals of science being taught in our schools.

Rambler14 March 24, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Appreciate the followup Charlie, thanks. I did not realize the 4 transportation recommendations were not for this session.

I will remain skeptical that this transportation study committee (task force?) will develop a proposal that will be passed by both sides and signed by our Governor next year.

Charlie March 24, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Healthy skepticism is good. It’s the status quo that got us where we are, and it is going to be hard to shake us out of that.

The one thing that PolicyBEST hopes to achieve around the issue is that those that want something done and those that opposed the last “solution” are willing to come to the table. Everyone knows there is no silver bullet. We also know any real solution(s) will not be without some pain or discomfort.

Short answer is we didn’t get here overnight, and we’re not going to fix this overnight. The goal now is to engage more than just the inside baseball players in the discussion. This can’t be a solution solved in private. Everyone will need to buy in if we’re going to change the game.

Dave Bearse March 25, 2014 at 10:09 am

There is a silver bullet: money.

Pain and discomfort in making users make reasonable payments for services is symptomatic of problems beyond transportation policy.

Charlie March 25, 2014 at 10:38 am

There will never be enough money to solve the problem of scarcity, and there isn’t enough potential tax revenue to solve the some $200 Billion + backlog of various transportation wish lists.

So trade offs must be made along the way. And with that comes real politics, and once that’s in play, there is no silver bullet.

Raleigh March 24, 2014 at 8:29 am

HB 908: Extending the $1 tire disposal fee for five more years so the legislature can spend the money on everything but tire disposal, Priceless.

Dave Bearse March 24, 2014 at 8:50 am

On another note. The AJC ran a detailed story Sunday about DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer using a county purchasing card for personal purchases. The column included an image of Boyer’s signed statement she would “use this [County purchasing] card for DeKalb County approved purchases only and agree not to charge personal purchases”, and that she understood “that improper use of this card may result in civil action [or] criminal prosecution”.

County purchasing cards are debit, not credit, cards. It would appear to be an open and shut case of serial theft by taking (and that’s not even considering whether they were paid back, many months if not years later, after AJC open records requests.

There will be legislation next year for at least another new north DeKalb city. Folks are simply tired of pervasiveness of DeKalb County crooks and cronies in a not very responsive County government.

I’d suggest that the County put in place a policy that Commissioners each month sign a statement, under penalty of perjury, that all receipts for all purchasing card purchases are attached and were for county business, except that that requirement may be meaningless, if the Balfour case is any guide.

John Konop March 24, 2014 at 9:22 am

The Deal vs. Carter positions on healthcare demonstrate the problem not the solution. Both avoid the real issues:

1) In reality using emergency rooms for underinsured or uninsured for non emergency care cost all of us money. Lets create a private public venture with a dial a doc tied to drug stores…with real incentives over emergency rooms. And disincentives for using emergency rooms for non emergencies.

2) Uninsured not getting preventive cost all of us more in the long run. Why not loosing rules for nurses to do some primary care for peach care……?

3) We need to cut cost drastically….all ideas need to be on the table. No more spewing death panels, killing grandma…….Why not require living wills, the majority of healthcare in your life is spent the last 6 months and many do not even want the treatment.

4) We need to tackle drug cost via Medicare part D, government workers….Why not let people buy drugs from Canada, Mexico…..? The majority of our drugs are made in China…. Why not use VA pricing for drugs, for military families, Medicare, Medicaid, exchanges and government workers? We would save about 60% on drug cost….

We need real tough calls like the above….I realize what I am saying is not easy…..but it is reality….

saltycracker March 24, 2014 at 10:02 am

What’s not to like about this session ? Not much was accomplished, a few special tax breaks were tossed in, the enforcement to abate the looting of systems is very selective, infrastructure crumbles and even those that have not paid their taxes in full can run or serve in elected positions to “manage” our money .

Jon Lester March 24, 2014 at 12:23 pm

You still believe any of the ministers in the Maidan regime? They called up the reserves and nothing happened. They ordered ships to fire on Russian vessels, but those commanders thought better of it. Those Ukrainian personnel not accepting transfer into Russian service are content to go home. All they have is this “national guard” of teenage Nazi street thugs who only think they’ll be any good in a fight.

Haven’t we wasted enough money on this neocon misadventure already?

Harry March 24, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Vatican Chief Justice: Obama’s Policies ‘Have Become Progressively More Hostile Toward Christian Civilization’
http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2014/03/24/vatican-chief-justice-obamas-policies-have-become-progressively-more-hostile-toward-christian-civilization/

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