SUMMARY HCPOA MEETING JULY, 16 2018

 

Our guest speaker this month was Alan Powell our representative in the Georgia House of Representatives.  The following is a summary of his comments.

FINANCIAL STATUS OF GEORGIA – GOOD

            When Sonny Purdue left office, 8 years ago, the Rainy Day Fund had about $2m, enough to run the state for a few hours.  When Nathan Deal leaves office in January the Rainy Day Fund will have about $2.5B, enough to justify a ¼ point reduction in the State income tax in 2019 and another ¼ point reduction in 2020.  This legislation has been passed and signed by the governor.  The current tax is 6% going to 5.5% in two years.

ELECTIONS – Powell is not endorsing any candidate

            The fall election is very important for the future of Georgia and is cause for concern.  The Democrat candidate for Governor, Stacey Abrams, is campaigning on several important issues; convert the Hope scholarship program from merit based to an entitlement, repeal the income tax cuts, and introduce gun control measures.  Georgia has divided into two states, metropolitan Atlanta and rural.  The rural vote, us, is diluted with every person that moves into metropolitan Atlanta.  Atlanta has become the economic engine that drives Georgia.

WATER – Nothing new

            The issue of Atlanta getting water from Lake Hartwell is dead at this time as determined by Georgia law.  But Georgia law can be changed any time.  The Federal Government makes all decisions relative to water releases from Corps lakes.  Only Congress can amend the priorities that the Corps operates under.  Considering that Congress can’t agree on what to do with the terrible immigration mess, we can’t expect much on water issues.  The Georgia/South Carolina coalition on lake issues still exists but is not functional. The representative from South Carolina, that was in Anderson, lost his office.  The only official in SC that remains in the coalition is from south of Akin and is primarily interested in the river not the lakes.

COAL ASH – It is what it is

            Alan was asked how and why Georgia allowed coal ash to be imported into a landfill in Franklin County.  The response was that the landfill operator applied to the appropriate Georgia authority stating what class of landfill he proposed.  The permit was granted.  Subsequently the citizens of Franklin County voted to allow the landfill and the County is making a fortune on the tipping fees. If Franklin County and its residents are happy that is the end of the story.  The landfill is operating within the bounds of their permits.