Since state tax revenues are lower than had been projected, we will have to address spending cuts for the last six months of the current fiscal year. Gov. Sonny Perdue has proposed a large program funded on borrowing, but has not detailed how he would spend the money. We are also waiting to see how much President-elect Obama’s stimulus package will affect individual states. Once these two issues are clarified, we will have to roll up our sleeves and determine the most responsible way to proceed.
In regard to taxes, both House and Senate leaders have expressed support for plans to cap property taxes, although the details have not been agreed upon. We recognize that any tax relief would be welcomed by the citizens of Georgia, but we must be diligent so that any such legislation doesn’t get drowned by dissenting legislators in a myriad of party-line details.
Roads and transportation will also be a major issue this session. As the more populous cities in the state experience an increase in traffic congestion, and as rural areas desire roads to entice employers, at the same time environmental groups want a mass transit system. All three interests are being represented as business groups and environmentalists are jointly lobbying for a constitutional amendment that would allow a group of counties to impose a regional sales tax to support transportation projects. The proposal would have to be passed by voters in the 2010 general election, so there is time for us to carefully consider all of the ramifications.
Trauma care is an issue that lawmakers have wrestled with for years and one that will likely be another top priority. Because there is a dire need for a dedicated funding source for a statewide network of facilities to provide advanced trauma care, including specialized equipment, air transportation for patients, and physicians, this is a cause for legitimate concern. Without a solution, there is a concern that trauma centers could be forced to close amid recent operating losses in the millions of dollars. Because of the dire need coupled with a suffering economy, this will undoubtedly be a hot-button topic again this year.
I received committee assignments for the session. I will continue to serve on the Natural Resources and Environment Committee and will have the honor of serving as committee secretary this session. I will also continue to serve on Banks and Banking and Economic Development and Tourism. New this session, I requested and have been appointed to the House Education Committee. I am fortunate to have four outstanding committee assignments and look forward to serving District 69 and the State of Georgia in the 2009 General Session.
Please do not hesitate to let me know your position or thoughts on issues that concern you. If you would like to reach me, call me at (404) 656-0177 or write me at: State Rep. Randy Nix, 18 Capitol Square, Suite 501 CLOB State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334 or e-mail me at email@example.com