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Thoughts

Kemp whiffs on opening Georgia

Middle of the road Republicans are always a problem. This is loser behavior. You can’t appease your enemies. They won’t vote for you anyway. All you do with a middle of the road stance is piss off your allies.

The governor signed an executive order that as of April 8 ends a ban on large gatherings, eliminates shelter-in-place requirements for vulnerable populations, and pares down a lengthy list of safety guidelines that businesses such as bars, retail stores and entertainment venues are supposed to follow.

Kemp issued a separate order Wednesday that could end Georgia’s state of emergency on April 30, a year after it started. But Kemp could decide to extend that declaration, as he has done repeatedly over the past year.

ajc.com

Last I looked Georgia is directly north of Florida. Florida has been open since September and they are doing hunky dory.

It should be obvious by now that lockdowns only postpone the spread of the virus. Open our country back up, have people who are most vulnerable protect themselves, and get a vaccine if you’re worried. Otherwise let’s get back to life!

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Georgia to join other free and open states on Thursday

Hopefully this isn’t April Fool fake news.

The governor said Friday that his administration will outline plans to roll back the remaining coronavirus restrictions, which include capacity limits, restrictions on large-scale gatherings and dozens of safety guidelines for restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and other venues.

“Georgians know the right thing to do,” Kemp said. “They know the value in best practices, but they also can’t wait to return to their normal life. Loosening these restrictions is the next critical step in that process, and it signals an even bigger light at the end of the tunnel.”

The scaled-back changes are expected to take effect Thursday.

ajc.com

Meanwhile in my old stomping grounds the scare mongering continues. Talk about a third surge can’t be a good thing. Businesses must be sweating increased restrictions.

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Thoughts

Gwinnett County Tax Commissioner seeks to nearly double salary

Why is it the first thing Democrats do when they get into office is to fleece the taxpayers?

Newly elected Democrat Tiffany Porter proposes to tack on $2.00 per parcel in fees in order to boost her own salary. She was elected in November 2020.

Gwinnett Tax Commissioner Tiffany Porter, who was elected in November, makes $141,098. But a proposal to charge cities $2 a parcel in additional fees would raise her salary by $110,734, according to Lawrenceville City Manager Chuck Warbington.

The increase would make her the highest paid elected official in Gwinnett County.

ajc.com

This mirrors the proposal to double the Gwinnett County chairwoman’s salary. She is also a newly elected Democrat.

Legislators Tuesday rejected a request to reconsider three Gwinnett County bills that would have almost doubled the chairwoman’s salary and remade the elections board.

The rejection came a day after the bills were voted down, 97-70. Rep. Park Cannon, D-Atlanta, reintroduced the bills Tuesday. The second rejection, by a 90-69 vote, means the bills are dead for this session.

ajc.com

Rest assured this will come back. My experience with Democrats in Illinois government means these Democrats will be successful if they are not voted out the next election.

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Thoughts

Some Georgia Republicans think they’ll gain votes by being spineless

The mistake Republicans make is thinking that moderating their views will win over people that are not inclined to vote for them. I don’t think this has ever happened in the history of politics. I like to vote for people who have a set of principles and they try to stick to those principles even in the face of being unpopular. Sometimes the unpopular thing is the right thing.

Despite the Senate passage Monday, some of the state’s top Republicans have indicated they oppose curbing mail-in voting.

One of those Republicans, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, is opposed to removing no-excuse absentee voting and some other measures proposed by fellow Republicans and opted not to preside over the debate. Three vulnerable Republican senators from swing districts — John Albers, Kay Kirkpatrick and Brian Strickland — were the only ones who did not co-sponsor the bill and opted to be excused from the vote. Republican Sen. Chuck Hufstetler was excused from the vote as well.

NPR

Do these Georgia politicians think they are going to win over votes just because they didn’t vote on this bill? If anything they will be viewed as spineless by republican voters. Not only will they not gain voters from their wimpiness they will lose votes and subsequently lose their seats. This is what happened in the runoff elections for U.S. Senate here in Georgia. Too many republican voters stayed home because they believed either their vote wouldn’t count, they disliked Trump, or they disliked the candidates. Republican voters stayed home and democrat voters didn’t. Republicans lost.

Voting is a responsibility. It should not be so easy as to sit around in your chair at home and drop something in the mail. Voting is also not a right but a privilege set up by the government we created. It’s not a right because it is not at birthright. It is not like your right to life, your right to think, and your right to live your life as you see fit. Voting is part of a process to elect representatives to government. There should be some friction to voting in order to make it fair, free, and accurate.

When I talk about friction I don’t mean laws preventing people to vote because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other labeled group you can think of. When I talk of friction I’m talking about legal friction. Are you a citizen? Do you reside in the place in which you’re voting? Did you only vote once? Did you vote on time? Nothing more and nothing less. Mail-in voting, same day registration, and extensive early voting removes these frictions.

If voting is as important as we say it is then it should be proportional to the effort to cast the vote. If we are to keep early voting it should be limited to the week prior to election day. If you can’t find the time to cast your ballot over the course of a week then it’s not that important to you. Mail-in voting should be limited to those requesting absentee ballots. If you will be in the city in which you are voting you should show up in person to cast that vote. Right now in many places you have a month to find the time. Same day registration should be banned. This is a vector for fraud like no other. Imagine overwhelming a system by hoards of people registering to vote on election day. If your vote is important enough to you you’ll make sure you’re registered.

My solution is to have national guidelines. Not mandates as our country is big and diverse. The same rules for NYC won’t apply in Casper, Wyoming. Below are my guidelines.

  • National voting week for national elections.
    • Hard beginning and end. No exceptions
  • Any absentee ballot must arrive before end of day on the final day of voting. No exceptions
  • Voters must be registered a minimum of 30 days prior to election day. 60 days is optimal to me, however
  • Identification is required to cast a vote. No exceptions

I don’t think any of the above is too much to ask of a responsible citizen. Republican lawmakers need to stick to their positions on this. Not because they’ll win votes but because it’s the right thing to do.

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Thoughts

Why Georgia needs to remain red

I come from Illinois where the government never met a tax or fee it didn’t like. Living in Illinois for 53 years, never has a proposal been pushed to reduce taxes of any kind. We had one case where the state raised the income tax rate from 3% to 5% then rolled it back to 3.75% for two years. This only happened because the huge percentage increase was shocking to people. But the shock quickly wore off because the state increased it again to 4.95% where it sits today.

This takes me to Georgia where I currently reside. During 2020 when the nation was shut down Georgia cut it’s budget to weather the storm.

… lawmakers cut state spending by $2.2 billion because they feared tax collections would plummet due to the COVID-19 recession.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Illinois did no such thing. Georgia instituted a soft lockdown that didn’t completely destroy the state’s economy. Illinois had strict lockdowns all across the state crippling its already virtually bankrupt position. Georgia had better than forecast revenues into the state. Illinois also did better than forecast but the economy still cratered because there were no cuts to spending. Here’s where things get strange for me. Georgia is proposing to return money to the taxpayers.

Almost a year after the COVID-19 pandemic sent the economy tumbling and forced Georgia lawmakers to reduce spending, a revenue recovery has state House leaders looking to cut state income taxes.

House Ways and Means Chairman Shaw Blackmon, R-Bonaire, filed legislation this week to increase the standard deduction Georgians can take when they do their income taxes. By reducing the amount of income taxed, House Bill 593 would cut what’s owed by millions of Georgians who use the standard deduction when they fill out their returns.

“It’s the fairest way to help the most people keep more of their money,” Blackmon said. “If we are able to afford it, we ought to let people keep some more of their money.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

What a concept! It’s fair to help people keep more of their money?? I’ve heard of these things happening before but never experienced it. The news story was even fairly reported. Nothing about “how will we pay for this tax cut” baloney. If Georgia becomes controlled by the Democrat Party I will guarantee this state will never see this sort of thing again. The majority of my life Illinois was controlled by the Democrats at almost all levels of government. It resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in unfunded public employee pensions that are draining the taxpayers dry.

I just might like it here.

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