Brown: Will hold to principles over politics, seek water, traffic solutions

Tue, 11/27/2007 - 4:16pm
By: Letters to the ...

Being no stranger to the political scene in Fayette County, my thoughts on improving and defending our quality of life are well known. However, this time I am looking at the broader challenge of succeeding a very accomplished Rep. Dan Lakly.

I believe in the sanctity of human life as Rep. Lakly did and openly support foster parenting and adoption programs as well.

Our state constitution is an instrument of delegated powers; thus, I believe our state government should not stray from the powers granted to it and rigidly constrained by the constitution.

I value holding to principle over politics. Yes, there some things are worth fighting for. Our state cannot afford to muddle through year after year without daring to deal with the immense challenges in front of us. Below are some of the issues I have followed for years.

Water — A water crisis has been looming for at least 15 years. Do we agree that it is time to act? We need 2008 to be the session on water solutions under the Gold Dome.

We are currently relying upon an economy dependent on population growth as our engine of success. Population growth drives the need for more water and our supply is finite.

The legislature must debate the Georgia Water Council’s findings on water policies and tools due in December and act on those recommendations.

In addition, the General Assembly needs to fully fund the Georgia Environment Protection Division research needed to assess our current system and develop ways to make smart water decisions across the state. We need to create the state’s first ever Comprehensive Statewide Water Plan.

The state also needs to vigorously pursue an end to the 17-year water war lawsuit with Alabama and Florida. We have been shackled to this lawsuit and it is seriously impacting our ability to predict future capacity and create accurate plans.

We are looking at around $30 billion worth of improvements to our broad water system in the next 20 years if we want to be able to sustain ourselves in the future. If our population continues to grow and we do not fund the research, planning and implementation, the state legislature will have failed its citizens.

Transportation – In short, we have a mess. There is no coordinated strategy linking new development in metro Atlanta to transportation improvements with the result being traffic congestion that is ranked number two in the nation. We must develop predictable growth models which are linked to development plans in the region which are rewarded with transportation improvements.

If your area develops like a bat out of hell beyond the parameters of the agreed-upon model and plan, then you pay the consequences. Local governments need to be held accountable in this area. Build it now and figure it all out later is a horrible idea.

The DOT had to drop 250 road projects this year because they lacked the funding. We need to reconfigure the system and DOT in an intelligent manner which rewards sound development and transportation principles and saves tax dollars.

Tax reform and budgeting – Speaker Richardson’s alternative tax plan does not relieve us of paying taxes as you would be expected to simply pay in another format, sales taxes on everything.

However, what the Speaker’s plan does accomplish is centralized government as cities, counties and school districts would be stripped of their power to levy most taxes.

Local control of the community would be lost because local officials would no longer have the authority to decide how much to spend. Centralized government is not a step in the right direction.

I was deeply concerned last year when the Sen. Chip Rogers’ (R-Woodstock) proposal on a flexible cap on state spending was rejected by the Republican majority. The conservative principles of government is best handled at the local level, the elimination of pork projects (it is in FY 2008) and reining in spending are being abandoned so far by the Republican leadership.

Jobs and growth — We need to be extremely careful. U.S. Census Bureau data and Georgia State economic forecaster Rajeev Dhawan in his paper entitled “Circumspect Growth” make it clear that as we are gaining population, we are also losing jobs, especially high-paying premium jobs.

In the last six years, Georgia lost 39,800 premium jobs. In that same period, the 28-county Atlanta MSA gained only 8,500 premium jobs. We need people who can create a new vision that works and the will to make that vision come to fruition. We need people who support change.

Ethics – I am in favor of enacting the remainder of Gov. Perdue’s ethics package that the legislature omitted. I support barring lawmakers and government employees from accepting gifts, meals or trips from lobbyists or private entities. We also need to look into “bundled” contribution reports from lobbyists and PACs.

Grady Hospital – I support moving forward with a non-profit authority to govern the hospital. When it comes to burn cases, trauma, poison control and infectious disease, there are no substitutes for Grady Memorial Hospital.

Education – We are about to see a major tug-of-war over control of education. I am very opposed to the state collecting taxes levied for education and doling them out to individual school districts as they please. Such a system would be ripe for political favoritism. Fayette County has a great thing going in education; let us not ruin it.

Steve Brown

Candidate for House Seat 72

Peachtree City, Ga.

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Git Real's picture
Submitted by Git Real on Tue, 11/27/2007 - 8:48pm.


I know it wasn't mentioned here but, I disagree with you on how we elect our Fayette County Commissioners. I believe the method in place has, and will serve us well in the future. Please reconsider on this issue.

In regards to Tax Reform, I'm not sure where I stand on that one.

Other than that I trust you and if you hold these principles intact, then we will all be well served and represented. Smiling

Well done Steve Brown!

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Tue, 11/27/2007 - 8:27pm.

Ideas like this are good and harmless for us here in good old PTC. Let's elect this man and have him represent us at the state level. He will get something done and we can be proud that we sent him there.

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