Two interesting emails this morning on the General Assembly's "failure" to pass new transportation funding.
The first is from Georgia Chamber of Commerce Senior V.P., and Campbell High School graduate, Joe Fleming, who has penned an op-ed piece:
If one judged the first term of the 2009-2010 session of the Georgia General Assembly by what he or she reads in the newspapers, one might conclude the wheels are falling off, that locusts have descended on our state, and famine and plague are next to set in. No, not so.For the record, I know of no state newspaper that reported locusts descending upon the state. But it would be an easy mistake to make if you spent too much time around the freebie lunches at the Capitol.
We're all disappointed that legislation inspired by the Georgia Chamber's Commission for School Board Excellence (CSBE), fixed trauma care funding, and transportation funding didn't pass - all indeed high priorities that we are confident will find successful resolution in the next session, perhaps sooner.
But first, in a year of extraordinary if not historic economy difficulty and revenue constraints, the legislature and governor worked closely, sometimes quietly, to produce a balanced budget that trims almost $2 billion from our state's budget in a responsible, thoughtful way. No easy task. The governor's staff, and Appropriations Chairmen Rep. Ben Harbin and Sen. Jack Hill in particular, deserve special credit for doing their business in a professional, determined way.
Second, for business, it was a pretty darn good year. We are grateful for the overwhelming majority of our legislature who understand that business is THE true engine of economic development, job creation, opportunity and prosperity ... especially while I suspect most every other state in the country, and the federal government - if not virtually every industrialized nation - was/is busy raising taxes on business.
The second email is from the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, which is an independent watchdog/think-tank group that leans conservative:
Just because no agreement on funding was reached, however, doesn’t put the brakes on Georgia transportation policy.I think the talking points have been issued. The glass is officially half full.
First, despite the criticism over their disagreement, it’s just as well for Georgians that senators and representatives couldn’t find common ground over whether a statewide or regional one-cent sales tax plan could fund transportation.