stop going backwards

Deal capitol georgia dome

Georgia’s General Assembly began Monday. Watch out! Few of us are safe from its machinations!

You can be sure with the super majority that the Republican Party now has in the Legislature, we will see many proposals aimed at reducing taxes, that will give the rich more power, and forget the underprivileged. In other words, more of the same.

It’s a wonderful day, say those of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), as it licks its chops anticipating that Georgia will join other states in tearing down progressive legislation and moving our state even in a more backward direction through adoption of ALEC measures.

For years many of us have seen new legislative initiatives from California, which has over the years been in the forefront of adopting laws that eventually other states have adopted. It’s to the point that both conservative and progressive factions take a dim view of California legislation, which always seems to be a step ahead of the curve, and not of their liking. It worked in California for years, as California led the way for much of the progressive legislation.

However, as a backlash, California began to bring on the less progressive era, as they elected , beginning in 1967, several people who had more reform and less progressive ideas, Ronald Reagan, George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In there in 1975-83 was Democrat Jerry Brown, son of a former governor, who was more aggressive in seeking kinder legislation.

Now Jerry Brown is back again, after heading the Democratic Party in 1989, then serving from 1998 until 2007 as mayor of Oakland, Calif., then being elected as attorney general of that state. In 2010 he became governor again, and has just been re-elected as the state’s chief officer at age 76.

Know how he was re-elected for the fourth term? Yes, by cutting spending but also by raising taxes! He gained 57 percent of the vote!

What? He was elected on the basis of proposing raising taxes? You betcha. But note that he also cut spending in many areas, gaining the confidence of the people of California that he knew what he was doing.

Meanwhile, this balanced yet unusual approach made the state more healthy. One reason he won re-election: after having a $27 billion budget deficit, Brown ended his first term with a $850 million budget surplus. He must have done something right, as Californians re-elected him to run the state once more.

Our state of Georgia needs a leader of the likes of Jerry Brown to come our way. Seems that both the electorate, and many of its largely-unthinking voters, accept the mantra that cutting taxes is the way to go, while watching the state slide more and more into new programs that cost more money. You hear very little from the politicos in charge about their ever-increasing budgets, while they fail to fund education as they should, as they try to foist more programs toward consumer taxes, and as they see nothing but horror if they should raise the abysmally low gasoline tax.

California may not be the most popular state, but right now it has a leader in Jerry Brown who is being proven wise by raising the taxes to get the state moving, while curtailing unworthy governmental programs.

What a refreshing political stance! It may be years before Georgia sees such a leader.

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Editor's note: This story originally appeared at GwinnettForum.com. Image: a composite image created for LikeTheDew.com - base image of the Georgia Dome via Wikipedia.org and used a Creative Commons license.
Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack is a native Georgian and veteran newspaperman. He published the weekly Wayne County Press for 12 years; was for 13 years the vice president and general manager of Gwinnett Daily News, and for 13 years was associate publisher of the Gwinnett section of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. He now publishes, in retirement, Web sites on Gwinnett County, http://www.gwinnettforum.com, and Georgia news, http://www.georgiaclips.com.