Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for November 25, 2014

On November 25, 1864, Sherman’s 14th and 20th Corps moved toward Sandersville while the 17th Corps fought briefly against a mix of Kentucky Militia, Georgia Military Institute cadets, and Georgia convicts.

On November 25, 1867, Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel filed a patent for dynamite. On November 25, 1895, Nobel wrote his will, leaving the equivalent of roughly $186 million (2008 dollars) to endow the Nobel prizes.

On November 25, 1920, the first play-by-play broadcast of a college football game took place at College Station as Texas A&M (then Mechanical College of Texas) took the field against Texas University.

President John F. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on November 25, 1963.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience played its first show at the Bag O’Nails Club in London on November 25, 1966.

Ferguson

A rally will be held at Five Points in Downtown Atlanta today from 5 to 9 PM to address concerns about the Ferguson decision. Will reporters outnumber protesters?

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Michelle Nunn told the AJC that she’s not quite Dunn with politics and might be up for a future Runn for office.

“I feel we ran a good campaign. I feel proud of it. We had a great team – volunteers and staff,” she began. “You spend the first few days being disappointed. Then you spend the next few days feeling a lot of gratitude for the experience. And then you start to get into the analysis of it. I think that will go on for some time.”

When asked if she had another statewide race in her, Nunn’s reply was again studied.

“I will stay involved in service. That’s been the trajectory of my whole career,” she said. But politics?

“I’m certainly invested in continuing to build the kind of Georgia electorate that I think would be most healthy for our state – a two-party dialogue, one that engages more and more people,” Nunn said. “I’ll just leave open the possibility of electoral office.”

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Adoptable Georgia Dogs for November 25, 2014

Beast

This guy is named “Beast,” but he’s a sweetheart. He’s become the favorite of several staff members who are begging for a home for him – he’s been adopted out and returned several times, for things like chasing the family cat – not necessarily his fault, but a bad home match. See how sweet and playful he is in his video below. He’s not as big as he looks in the photo above. He needs to be out of the shelter before 4 PM today. We’re praying for a Thanksgiving miracle for this guy. Call the Shelter for more information 770-339-3200 or email jaclyn.nguyen@gwinnettcounty.com.

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Number 42884 here is listed as a Shepherd, but I think he’s got even more hound dog in him. In fact, I think he’s probably a cousin to my hound dog Dolly. He was surrendered by his owner and is friendly and playful. Call the Shelter for more information 770-339-3200.

Basset42928

Number 42928 is a female Basset Hound who is friendly and ready to go to a new home; she is available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

42441

42441 is a sweet little medium-sized female terrier mix who is ready for a new home and available for adoption from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter.

Sen. Jack Hill: Georgia’s “Rainy Day Fund”

Your Georgia Desk

From Senator Jack Hill

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 NOTES FROM THE SENATE

GEORGIA’S “RAINY DAY FUND”
The Revenue Shortfall Reserve (RSR), or the “rainy day fund” serves important purposes in the state government.  It is a contributing factor in Georgia being able to maintain its perfect triple AAA bond rating, and it also has helped the state ride out declines in revenues from time to time.  Of course, the reserve was wiped out during the recent recession. .  As the economy has continued to improve, the State has begun to restore the RSR to its previous levels.  A State’s RSR goes a long way towards showing how good a steward a state is over its own money.  This week we will take a look at Georgia’s experience with its rainy day fund, as well other states’ struggles and successes with their versions of the RSR.
RSR HISTORY
The Georgia General Assembly passed legislation in 1976 creating the RSR, and establishing that it should be maintained at a level of at least 4% of the net revenue of the preceding fiscal year.  According to O.C.G.A. 45-12-93, the amount of all surplus state funds existing at the end of each fiscal year are reserved and added to the RSR.  The Governor may appropriate RSR funds up to 1% of net revenue collections of the preceding year for funding K-12 enrollment gains.  The Governor may also release a stated amount of RSR funds to be appropriated by the General Assembly, and RSR funds may also be used to cover contractually obligated deficits if the state’s obligations exceed net revenues.  Under recent changes to state law, the RSR’s limit was raised to   would be enough to fund the state government for about 15 days.
USE OF THE RSR
 
The RSR in Georgia has ranged over time from 1% as a total of net revenue in various years to a high of 8.58% in 2007.  In 2007, the RSR stood at an all-time high of almost $1.8 billion, but by 2010, as the recession raged on, the reserve fell to $268 million eventually to $50 million.  From 2007 to 2010 the state’s RSR decreased by almost 85%.  Georgia’s RSR has helped the state in multiple economic downturns, the most recent being the recession of 2008-2013.  The RSR was also utilized during a time of declining revenues in the early 1990s and the early 2000s.  However, after each downturn the state has been vigilant in building back its reserve.  The importance of this was borne out in the economic downturn.  If the state had not built up the RSR after the early 2000’s, its financial standing would have been even worse than it was.  From 2007 to 2008, the state used more of its RSR than it had in total in 2004. That alone shows how important it is for the state to maintain a viable rainy day fund.  Some other states were not as prepared as Georgia when revenues plummeted.  The PEW Research Center estimates that nationally, states had $59.9 billion in reserves in 2008, but the aggregate national budget shortfall was $117.3 billion in 2009.  Due in part to Georgia’s RSR, the state was able to help cover budget gaps without resorting to raising taxes, like other states.
OTHER STATES’ RESERVES
As of July 2014, 46 out of the 50 states have some sort of budget stabilization fund, and 20 other state’s funds are based on surpluses.  Other states use methods that range from an appropriation to funds linked to revenue growth; but the most popular model is the surplus-based fund used by Georgia. Some of the reasons other states use different types of funds can be chalked up to different economic realities.  Some states face more volatile revenue streams than Georgia, and so therefore try and find ways to model their version of the RSR to best fit their state’s revenue sources.  Georgia does not tie its RSR to revenue volatility.  PEW ranked Georgia as having the 21st most volatile revenue stream coming in at 6%, which compared to some other states such as Alaska which experiences revenue volatility over 34%, is somewhat predictable.

 

 

Rep. Rob Woodall – Washington Watch: Executive Overreach

Your Washington GA – 7 Desk

From Congressman Rob Woodall

wash wash

 

Washington Watch: Executive Overreach

Happy Thanksgiving

I want to begin this week wishing you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving.  Millions of people are travelling the country this week, returning home to share this uniquely American holiday with their friends and families and giving thanks for all of our blessings…READ MORE.

President Obama Proposes Unilateral Action on Immigration

Whether you identify yourself as a liberal Democrat, a conservative Republican, or anything in between, the President’s actions should trouble you as much as they trouble me…READ MORE.

House Supports Quality Scientific Research at the EPA

During a recent visit with my friends at the Georgia EMC, they shared that one of their biggest concerns about new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations is the detrimental effect they will have on ratepayers’ energy bills…READ MORE.

Supporting the FairTax in Washington, D.C.

On Monday, I had the privilege of advocating on behalf of the FairTax at the Heritage Foundation’s tax reform roundtableREAD MORE(more…)

Sen. Johnny Isakson: Presses Army Secretary on “Grave Concern” Over Retirement Benefits

Your Washington Desk

From Senator Johnny Isakson

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Isakson, Murray Lead Bipartisan Letter Pressing Army Secretary on “Grave Concern” Over Retirement Benefits

 In letter to Army Secretary McHugh, senators call for immediate reversal of policy forcing officers to retire at highest enlisted rank

 Current policy results in significant decrease in lifetime retirement benefits, for some as much as $1,000 per month or more

This week, U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., led a bipartisan group of colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. Army Secretary John McHugh over the Army’s treatment of a significant number of captains and majors who are former non-commissioned officers and are being forced to retire at their highest previous enlisted rank.

The senators are seeking answers about the Army’s use of Enhanced-Selective Early Retirement Boards (E-SERB), which will result in a significant decrease in lifetime retirement benefits for the impacted soldiers, for some as much as $1,000 per month or more, or just over $1 million over a 40 year retirement in the case of a captain forced to retire as a sergeant first class.

“These former non-commissioned officers answered the Army’s call for volunteers to attend Officer Candidate School as the Army expanded its officer corps to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, despite having served for years as commissioned officers and rising through the ranks to become captains and majors, these dedicated soldiers will soon be forced to retire at their highest previous enlisted rank,” the senators wrote in their letter. “To demote these soldiers in retirement is an injustice that devalues their service and will materially disadvantage them and their families for the rest of their lives… We strongly urge you to take the necessary steps to rectify this situation in order to allow these soldiers to retire at the rank they have earned and appropriately honor their service to our nation.” (more…)

Sen. Johnny Isakson: Statement on Resignation of Defense Secretary Hagel

Your Washington Desk

From Senator Johnny Isakson 

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Isakson Statement on Resignation of Defense Secretary Hagel

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., issued the following statement regarding the resignation of U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel:

“Whether a resignation or a firing of Secretary Hagel, this decision reflects the uncertainty of this administration as it relates to foreign policy in general, and in particular the destruction of ISIS. Given the crisis with ISIS, along with situations of unrest in the Ukraine, Iran, and west Africa, this president and his administration need to send a clear message of strength and commitment.”

Gov. Deal makes new appointments, shuffles staff leadership

Deal appoints individuals to serve in public safety, education, family services and community affairs

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced appointments to positions of leadership in various state government roles.

Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth will become the director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) effective in January. Butterworth will replace Charley English, who will assume the position of deputy director of GEMA. The governor has also tapped Brig. Gen. Joe Jarrard, current assistant adjutant general of the Georgia Department of Defense, to serve as the adjutant general of Georgia effective in January. (more…)

State Sen. Curt Thompson pre-files Medical Marijuana Bill

Atlanta, Ga. – November 24, 2014 – Georgia State Senator Curt Thompson (D-Norcoss) today pre-filed legislation that would legalize medical marijuana, along with a separate measure that would legalize and regulate marijuana retail sales to adults.

“Few would disagree that physicians need every good tool in their medical toolbox to provide the best health care possible to their patients. Whether that tool is a new diagnostic test, a new antibiotic or a form of proven pain reliever, doctors need the ability to provide the best possible short and long-term health care for their patients, SB 7 is designed to do just that,” Thompson said.
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Final transportation committee meeting yields few new clues | www.myajc.com

ROME — The hard part now begins for lawmakers and others who have spent the past four months studying ways to find an extra $1 billion or more each year to pay for Georgia’s growing transportation infrastructure needs.

The panel has traveled the state, holding eight public hearings, but now it must actually produce a set of recommendations that leaders of the House and Senate have promised will be “significant” and “bold.” Legislation that created the Joint Study Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding set a Nov. 30 deadline for the panel to submit recommendations to the General Assembly.

While there were few clues given at Thursday’s final committee meeting, panelists heard a variety of concerns and suggestions, especially about the growing impact that hybrid and electric vehicles have on the state’s bottom line. The more fuel-efficient the car, the less gasoline is purchased. The less gasoline purchased means the less collected in gas taxes for transportation projects.

“All of these new types of vehicles are coming on the market, and we as a state and a country are offering tax incentives for people to buy them on one hand,” Rome City Commissioner Buzz Wachsteter said. “But on the other hand, what are we doing? We’re taking away the revenue that was being produced by conventional vehicles that use motor fuel to provide revenue.”

Panelists appeared particularly interested Thursday in a presentation from Virginia transportation executive Nick Donahue, who detailed how his state paid for $1.9 billion in improvements to the Beltway around Washington. Through aggressive bond sales to public-private partnerships that left private firms in charge of toll collection, Virginia added two extra toll lanes going each way on I-495 around the nation’s capital, Donahue said.

via Final transportation committee meeting yields few new clues | www.myajc.com.