Be part of the solution

Published 2:21 pm Tuesday, August 3, 2010

You hear about it every day: Teachers furloughed, people laid off, another 100 jobs lost.

I think sometimes we forget that these are real people, just like us, who are losing their way to being independent, working Georgians, who provide for their families.

Though the statistics may seem cold and distant, Decatur County now has a 14.1 percent unemployment rate. That’s one out of every six people of our labor force that is without a job in this county. That is purely and simply unacceptable.

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Dr. { Gene} Maddox, as our current state House representative, what have you done or what are you doing now to try and curb this problem?

Rep. Maddox voted for House Bill 1069, which took away the low-income tax credits for seniors and families earning under $20,000 a year. That’s just slapping you when you’re down, because low-income people are suffering the most during this recession. To the unemployed and low-income in the business climate we live in, the passage of this bill is unconscionable. We need common sense going forward.

Rep. Maddox also voted for the controversial hospital bed tax, which will in the end force either patients and/or local taxpayers to pay the tab. Additionally, we are the only state in the nation to furlough teachers. In education, we’ve got a lot of work to do to produce graduates who meet the needs of the workforce of today and tomorrow.

HB 1137, proposed by all Democrats, would have made it tougher for businesses to pocket sales tax dollars. Remember, the Democrats are a minority in the House and Senate. However, because of the Republican majority in the House, the bill never left the floor of the House. It was never even assigned to a committee! Cairo resident Gene Maddox voted against HB 1137. Dr. Maddox, you are supposed to be part of the solution, not the problem!

Our neighbor, Alabama, aggressively pursued their sales tax cheats and brought in an extra $1 billion in state revenue.

Georgia’s population, economy and business community are all larger than Alabama’s, so it stands to reason our state would collect far more. Instead of furloughing teachers and letting workers go, we could have been paying over a billion dollars in salaries for hard-working Georgians and Decatur County residents.

There is nothing partisan about making sure the taxes we are being charged go to pay for the services we need. We are in the toughest economic period of a generation. We cannot afford to allow partisan bickering and political jockeying to stall progress bringing in state revenue in Georgia.

To add insult to injury, our current state representative never resigned from the Grady County Development Authority when he was elected to serve both the people of Grady County and Decatur County. Could this be one reason why Grady County has an unemployment rate in the single digits, while ours here in Decatur County is over 14 percent.

I feel it warrants saying that every statement and reference to a piece of legislation I have made in this article is factual and is public knowledge.

Sincerely,Austin SpoonerBainbridge, Ga.