Monday, October 30, 2006

The Georgia Debates for Governor

I have taken the time to watch two of the first three debates for the position of governor of Georgia. I wish others would do so as well.

Sonny Perdue, (who is the current governor and a democrat that turned republican), and Mark Taylor( the lt. governor and a poster boy for what one who is raised at birth as a liberal will believe) are an embarrassment to the state. It is incredible to believe that this is the best that the state of Georgia can offer us.

Garrett Hayes, the libertarian candidate, was concise, state on the topic, and offered real solutions to the problems of bigger and bigger government.

Let's look at the topic of education and how the three candidates responded. Taylor accuses Purdue of cutting funding to schools, and says that the evidence can be found online.

I took the time to look at expenditures per pupil for the years 2001 through 2005 and they are as follows:

2001 $6,536 per student
2002 $6,978 per student
2003 $7,279.82 per student
2004 $7,261.37 per student
2005 $7,425.53 per student

There certainly does not appear to be a long term cut there. The fact that we are spending nearly $900 per student more in 2005 than in 2001 has been omitted by Taylor. Instead it is a game of semantics. The school districts are getting more dollars from the state, but instead of the state funding 65% of the school district, it is funding 60%. So Taylor is claiming that this is a cut. Not very truthful to say the least.

Meanwhile, Hayes wants to put the dollars and the control back into the hands of the local school district(and closer to the parents of the students). This way the parents can demand accountability at the local level. Neither Perdue or Taylor would like this, as it would reduce their influence statewide.

Then we had the issue of Sonny's land deals both in Florida and here in Georgia. The smirk on Sonny's face as he defends these breaks and omissions is rather obvious. Taylor has asked how many other georgians benefitted from the midnight backdoor tax break. Purdue knows he has access to this answer as a short call to the Georgia Dept of Revenue could run a program and see how many taxpayers took this break.

Garrett Hayes once again pointed out that all of this just points to the fact that the code is too complicated and that a complicated code leads to breaks for one individual or group over another. Reducing the Georgia State income tax until it is gone would take care of this issue forever. But once again, neither Taylor or Perdue would want this, as their power would once again shrink.


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