Legislative Update January 30, 2010

January 30, 2010

This past week we settled into the routine of committee meetings, and debating legislation. For the first time, I was appointed to the Appropriations Committee, which examines the State’s Budget, the one task we are mandated to complete according to the State Constitution.

Water rights have become a serious issue in our State. The House Natural Resources and Environment Committee continues to look for more ways to insure a sufficient water supply for our growing state. This week the full House met to hear from experts regarding the state’s status in the current litigation over access to water resources between Alabama, Florida, and Georgia as well as to discuss legislation to promote water conservation.

I have also been assigned this Session to the Special Committee on Small Business Development and Job Creation. This committee will be charged with how best to promote small businesses in our state. Most new jobs are created by hardworking and creative small business owners.

Speaking of jobs, my friend and colleague, Representative Tom Graves introduced the JOBS ACT of 2010, which I was proud to co-sponsor. This bill contains seven initiatives that are designed to spur job creation in Georgia. Some of these initiatives include a $2,400 tax credit for Georgia companies that hire difficult to employ individuals who are currently receiving unemployment benefits, the creation of the “Year for Georgia Entrepreneurs” which would allow Georgians the opportunity to start a new business with no state fees, and a fifty percent reduction of the capital gains tax for all Georgia taxpayers.

Finally, I would like you to know that I am aware of the sacrifices many of you are making due to the current economic conditions. Just as you and your family must balance your budget, so must the state of Georgia. Over the past year, that has meant making difficult decisions, including furloughs for nearly all state employees. This sacrifice has not gone unnoticed. This is why, along with all of my Republican colleagues, I am voluntarily choosing to take an additional six more furlough days on top of the five furlough days I have already taken as your state legislator. It would be wrong to expect teachers and other state employees to make a sacrifice that I am not willing to ask of myself.

Thank you for the privilege to serve as your State Representative. I fully understand that I serve at your pleasure, and only as long as you keep sending me back.