Posted: Thursday, December 13th 2012 at 11:11am
Eggs & Issues Breakfast has huge turn-out
By Marc Eggers Staff
GAINESVILLE – The annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast once again drew a full house to the Gainesville Civic Center for the purpose of hearing from the Hall County legislative delegation on upcoming and current matters concerning our area.
Organized by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Jackson EMC, area business and political leaders packed the Grand Ballroom to listen as State Senator Butch Miller, State Representatives Emory Dunahoo and Carl Rogers, and State Representatives-Elect Lee Hawkins and Timothy Barr fielded questions and attempted to provide answers to a wide swath of questions from the audience of nearly 400.
Their question and answer session followed brief messages from Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and 9th District U.S. Congressman-Elect Doug Collins.
"As I travel around…people ask me, 'Why is Hall County, why is northeast Georgia so active (politically)?'" Collins told the attentive audience. "Just look around and you’ll see - people who want to be a part of what happens."
Questions to the delegation covered topics such as: water and new reservoir construction; what will be happening with transportation issues in the wake of the overwhelming defeat of the TSLOST initiative; deepening of the Savannah River; immigration reform; attracting new businesses to the state and our region; the unknowns of healthcare reform; education in light of the passage of Amendment One; and the ongoing revenue sharing problems associated with ESPLOST and SPLOST monies.
Representative Barr is a rookie legislator and said he would spend more time listening than talking during his initial time at the Capitol. Senior member of the delegation Carl Rogers said he looked forward to the upcoming session that begins next month.
Nevertheless, there was a strong consensus among all members of the delegation in their responses to the various questions that were asked. They gave an impression of being unified in their understanding of the issues facing our area and what would be necessary to solve some of northeast Georgia’s most pressing challenges.
But one thing they agreed upon was lauded by the applause of the audience: that "government has to get out of the way" (Collins) and that the way government operates in Georgia is vastly different than the way things are done in Washington, DC.
"The 'fiscal cliff' is real… but Georgia is very different than Washington," Lieutenant Governor Cagle said, "because we live under a Balanced Budget Amendment. We have to live within our means."
Representative Dunahoo said, "The main reason I ran is business. I think our government is pretty bad at business." Dunahoo then explained how he wanted to make sure Georgia does not run their business like Washington does.
Representative-Elect Hawkins formerly served as a state senator. "I have found that dealing with Washington was like trying to dribble a football. The more I did it the more irritated I got."
Senator Miller was like-minded about trying to deal with the federal government. "The wheels of government turn very slowly," he said as he held up a local newspaper from 1992 whose headline told of efforts by former 9th District Congressman, and now-Governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, to get the federal government to intervene in issues with Lake Lanier.
Rogers took those sentiments one step further and talked about lessening state government involvement, as well. "The ultimate goal is to eliminate the state income tax for corporations and personal income."
"It probably won’t be done anytime soon…but we’ll all go to a consumption-type payment or tax," Rogers added.
The "Eggs" part of the breakfast was quickly consumed. The "Issues" part might take a while longer.
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