If you want to stop the same old bad spending habits, stop electing the same old people

Tue, 02/05/2008 - 6:21pm
By: Letters to the ...

There are two parts to our government; one is the sensible promises made to the citizens, the other part is the reality of knowing they will never come to fruition. Indeed, everything seems to be under government control except spending, budgeting and political self-restraint.

I received an anonymous letter the other day criticizing my lack of solutions regarding my letter on the deficit in taxpayer accountability over the last two years in Peachtree City.

One forward-thinking response for the mayor and council would be to order an immediate hiring freeze and put an end to discretionary spending; in other words, do the opposite of what they have done over the past two years. This is budgeting 101.

The second forward-thinking response is to set solid priorities and stick to them.

The most confounding government finance solution to come from the Peachtree City mayor and a few members of council is more “big box” retail will help our bottom line. How preposterous.

Will someone please look at the big picture? Simply look at the big box capitol of the Southeastern United States, Gwinnett County, and see how they are benefiting.

Gwinnett County actually experienced “a 2 percent drop in sales tax revenue last year,” according to their county commission.

Even worse, they feel a burning need to hire an additional 29 police officers and five additional 911 call center employees to handle the increase they “expect” in crime.

Truth be told, I would not want to live near any of the big box clusters in the other metro counties, and I cannot understand why we would want to create one here.

Beware of state and local governments asking for more sales taxes to produce more things. The government promises to give and the government is prepared to take it away.

Metro Atlanta is suffering from an inadequate supply of governmental intellectual capital. Henry County is on its third Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST); Cobb County wants a third; so does Gwinnett County; and Forsyth County wants a repeat.

However, the problem with most of these SPLOST packages, as with ours in Fayette, is they do not deliver on all of the promises. Fayette’s SPLOST is actually flawed on several fronts. They spend the enormous amounts of money and still have the same problems they promised to solve.

Because their initial land planning and vision was so bad, the counties are selling multiple big dollar sales tax increases to manage the consequences. Who is to blame for haphazard development and inferior transportation planning? It is the same people asking for more of your hard-earned money.

Look at how we have to grapple with weak priorities in our state government. (This inadequacy is non-partisan.) The legislature knew we were heading for severe water problems since the 1980s, but they had to wait for a crisis to act. In addition, in the last 10 years, the state budget grew by 70 percent while inflation for the same period only grew 30 percent.

Our state Republican leadership is proving they can swindle the public with much more efficiency than the Democrats ever could; pork barreling the budget, no problem.

The new Department of Transportation board chairman and the new Transportation commissioner shone the light on DOT’s financial and management problems; the Republican Speaker of the House fought both of their appointments.

Now the state Senate is proposing an amendment to the Georgia Constitution to allow the legislature to have total control of transportation funding. Were these not the same legislators in charge of handling the water supply issue?

If you want a snapshot of how the legislature will rule over transportation funding, look at the TDK Extension project. The developers who want their new roads to make their new projects exceedingly profitable will fund the campaigns of the legislators and the state road funding will be diverted accordingly.

Our Republican officials, at every level, need to pull themselves out of the hypocritical mire they created. Likewise, Republican voters who are content to hallucinate on the fumes left over from their Reagan memories need to get off their cans and start demanding some serious accountability.

Continually re-electing the same non-performers is not the answer.

Steve Brown


Peachtree City, Ga.

[Brown is the former mayor of Peachtree City.]

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Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Wed, 02/06/2008 - 8:09pm.

Although I do agree with a lot of what Steve Brown said, I do take offense at the bias toward trashing only the Republicans. Any sensible person knows the Democrats had a death grip on our state and federal systems. You can't expect Republicans to change generations of bad policy making overnight.

Vote Republican

TinCan's picture
Submitted by TinCan on Wed, 02/06/2008 - 4:29pm.

Couple of things:
1. I believe the voters did resolve the issue of ineffectual politician(s) a couple of years ago.
2. Do you actually include that "former mayor" comment on your posts or does Cal add that for you?

Submitted by kreedham on Wed, 02/06/2008 - 12:21am.

I think you may be on to something. Why don't we embark on a campaign for 2008. Let's not elect the incumbent be they democrat or republican. I think most folks would support that idea with one exception-everyone out except, of course, my guy.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Tue, 02/05/2008 - 10:04pm.

One of your best articles to date.
Unless we as the constituency demand accountability, those who we elect will continue to assume that we are both lackadaisical and ignorant.

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