(This was written before the Georgia general assembly)
I’d like to staff off this column by saying “Thank you” to the local newspapers of Union, Towns, Rabun and White counties for allowing me to communicate with you each week!
You might be surprised to learn that last week the General Assembly was not in session, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t a lot of work to do. Typically after the first few days there’s often a week or so without session. This is done to give committees time to organize, and especially to have appropriation meetings.
Last week I attended hours and hours of appropriation meetings because I think it’s important, especially for those intent on reducing the size, scope and intrusiveness of government, to know what’s happening with the budget. I want to be as informed as possible and make sure the principles of fiscal responsibility and limited government are represented at the capitol in Atlanta.
“I think it’s important, especially for those intent on reducing the size, scope and intrusiveness of government, to know what’s happening with the budget.” – Matt Gurtler
So what’s my take on the budget so far?
I’m worried we are not always prioritizing our spending like we (legislatures) should. I’m also concerned about how certain appropriations can become political tools because we aren’t consistent with important things like COLAs (Cost of Living Adjustments) for teachers, law enforcement and others.
Cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) are generally equal to the percentage increase in the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W) for a specific period.
Our state is growing,which makes consistent, fair and responsible spending that much more important. But as soon as we have extra money, we tend to spend it on more things that are more often than not, outside of the proper role of government and only seems to lead to an ever-growing bureaucracy.
I actually want us to reduce the size of Georgia government, and I’m happy to see that I’m not alone in that endeavor! However, this task is going to take a lot of work to stop things like: subsidies (aka corporate welfare) or bloated government projects that compete with the private sector. Both of which harm the free market, and in turn the economy and our citizens directly.
The natural course of things is for government to grow, and for liberty to yield if we don’t push back. I am not surprised by what I’ve seen this past week, like I wasn’t surprised for the past four years when I was a legislative aide. Now, being in the middle of it, as your voice, has only given me more resolve.
I has also given me more resolve to work on a fair method of raising revenues. Right now we have property taxes, income taxes, gas taxes, hospital bed taxes, fees and bonds (yes, Georgia has debt) everywhere! Not only are many of these taxes and fees unfair, it takes a ridiculous amount of bureaucracy to manage it all.
I believe in single consumption-based flat tax is the best option and I’m continuing to do research to see where we can start making headway on that critical issue.
Each week will be busier than the next from this point on. This week we should start regularly voting on bills each day so please stay on the lookout for my voting record on my website, www.mattgrutler.com.
As always, it’s an honor to serve you. Please contact me or my office if you need anything!
Matt Grutler, Georgia State Representative, District 8 encompassing Union, Towns, Rabun and White counties in northeast Georgia. www.mattgurtler.com.