Every year after each session ends, I send a newsletter to the constituents in my district recapping the results of the session. In an attempt to gain input on certain issues, I also include a few questions and ask them to respond.
Although the results of these surveys can’t be authenticated scientifically, I do believe it gives me and other elected officials an idea of the feelings of our constituents.
This year I asked three questions relating to issues currently being discussed and whether they support or oppose the proposal. Below are the questions followed by the responses, comments and a brief explanation.
Some local and state leaders have proposed creating a statewide sales tax to fund major road improvements and other modes of transportation.
Do you support or oppose this proposal?
Support - 40 (31 percent)
Oppose - 86 (66 percent)
No response - 4 (3 percent)
“I would like to know more about the fair tax.”
“No more taxes! Taxed Enough Already.”
“Already pay taxes for roads!”
“Should be on a regional basis- this would insure we get our fair share.”
“Where does the fuel tax go?”
“Need to put a toll booth from N-95.”
Currently, transportation is one of the most pressing issues we are facing in our state. No one questions the fact that we are in need of more and better roads in Georgia, but funding shortages from current sources have forced elected officials to look at other proposals.
At least two proposals are being considered at this time, including a 1 percent statewide sales tax that would be collected for the next 10 years and would go toward funding specific road projects identified by the legislature. This would require a statewide referendum voted on by the citizens of Georgia who would be informed of the selected projects before they vote.
Another proposal, referred to as the regional approach, would be to allow counties to go together and collect a 1 percent sales tax and fund their own projects. Again, the projects would have to be identified by the counties and voted on by the citizens before they could be implanted.
By all accounts, Georgia’s trauma care system is underfunded. There are different proposals to address this problem. One leading proposal is to add $10 to the cost of acquiring a car tag. Would you support or oppose this proposal to fix trauma care?
Support - 81 (62 percent)
Oppose - 46 (36 percent)
No response - 3 (2 percent)
“No - we already pay taxes for local hospitals.”
“Yes - Emergency rooms cannot continue to be doctor’s offices for uninsured.”
Although the legislature somewhat addressed trauma this year with the passage of the “super speeder” law, most agree that more work is needed on this crucial issue. It is important to note that while the “super speeder” law is projected to bring in $23 million this next fiscal year and is appropriated for trauma, these funds are not dedicated to trauma. Two things are important to remember here. First of all, the $23 million is only a projection and actual revenues may be much less. Secondly, and most importantly, these funds are not dedicated to trauma and must be appropriated by the governor and legislature each year. The $10 car tag fee proposal would be a much more stable number and would be dedicated to trauma and therefore could not be used for any other purpose.
Should Georgia change our state law to require that all permanent drivers license exams be presented in English only?
Support - 119 (92 percent)
Oppose - 7 (5 percent)
No response - 4 (3 percent)
“Yes - most definitely.”
“Yes - please represent this country.”
Ninety-two percent? Need I say more?