Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hit the Ground Rolling

I had two conversations with freshman legislator Rusty Kidd today.
Kidd called to say that he and state Senator Johnny Grant, R-Milledgeville, met again Tuesday with the Governor and the heads of several state agencies that have facilities in Milledgeville to discuss ways of coordinating budget cuts so as to not heap punishment on any one Georgia community, i.e. Milledgeville.
But we also talked about the legislation for which Kidd has wasted no time putting in the hopper.
I've got to hand it to him, he's addressing some serious issues in this first batch of proposed legislation.
Kidd tackles the en vogue issue of ethics reform in House Bill 919, which saddles legislators with the onus of reporting expenditures made on them by lobbyists and anyone else who is providing them with gifts, meals, rides, etc that total over $100.
Kidd also put forth two proposals for raising additional revenues to meet the challenge of Georgia's budget crunch. House Bill 915 would change the definition of taxable nonresident to include entertainers who make more than $5,000 during any given year in the Peach State, and H.B. 918 would add two cents to the state sales tax, and provide for an automatic repealer once state revenue collections are equal to or greater than state revenues for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006.
The grandest piece of legislation would constitutionally amend the way we elect our governor.
House Resolution 1090 would put forth a voter referendum to change the governor's term from a four- to a six-year term and cancel out a sitting governor's ability to succeed them-self.
Kidd said he got the idea to propose H.R. 1090 following a discussion with the late Tom Murphy, long-time Democratic Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, who told him that the worst piece of legislation he saw pass through the House let a governor repeat himself.
Overall, Kidd said these were all things that he has thought about during his almost four decades-long involvement in Georgia politics. With initial proposals like these, especially, potentially unpopular ones like the proposal to raise taxes, I can't wait to see what he'll think of next.

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