Continuing the week’s theme of Georgia candidates running for governor, a Republican, Karen Handel, and a Democrat, DuBose Porter, appeared Wednesday on the “Mornings unPHILtered” show.
Former secretary of state Handel told show host Phil Boyum that she has the experience to be the CEO of the state of Georgia, and she will bring about comprehensive tax reform.
She said reducing the size of the government is one of her priorities. By putting in place appropriate strategies, by being as aggressive as possible, and to ensure comprehensive tax reform, Georgia’s economy should start moving again.
As governor, she said she would find more business opportunities for small businesses. She added that comprehensive tax code and regulation reform is necessary, as it has been 20 some years since many of the laws were examined.
Pulling down the income tax rate, removing an inventory and energy use tax are also of paramount importance, she said.
Water issues also are very important to southern and coastal Georgians, Boyum said, as South Georgia shouldn’t be penalized for Atlanta’s mistakes.
Handel claimed that she is the only major candidate who is not in favor of inter-basin water transfers, saying that it is not practical.
She said the state needs to build a new system of reservoirs, many of which should be smaller and strategically placed where they are needed the most.
Handel said that the new governor won’t be able to solve everything right away. Next year’s state budget crunch will occupy much time, as nearly $2 billion in federal stimulus money will disappear.
The passage of the upcoming regional SPLOST for transportation, Handel said, is critical, as good roads and rail will do more to stimulate businesses as anything.
Stating that the winds of change are blowing, Boyum asked Handel how voters can trust that she won’t get involved in business as usual. She said in Fulton County, she made it her business to balance the budget without tax increases.
Furthermore, she said, while secretary of state she downsized her department some 20 percent, and then implemented photo ID voter verification, taking on the federal government in the process.
Handel said being governor is more than trying, it’s about doing.
Boyum next welcomed Democratic gubernatorial candidate DuBose Porter. Asked why he is the best Democratic candidate, Porter said he was former Gov. Zell Miler’s floor leader in the Georgia legislature.
In that position, Porter said, he was the one who helped get the Hope Scholarship Bill passed. As chairman of the Education Committee he has worked closely with school boards and teachers to make things work better in public education.
Asked how he can help put people back to work, Porter said in the rural area expanding the use of pine trees as cheap energy source is crucial, while in urban areas developing a transportation infrastructure is vital.
After Boyum stated that South Georgians shouldn’t have to pay for Atlanta’s water crisis, because it was of their own making, Porter responded that he is opposed to inter-basin water transfers.
He said that using water conservation measures, such as the installation of low-flow toilets, and fixing leaking water lines, much of the waste of water can be prevented.
Asked if the people in Northern Georgia should pay for their fixes for the water crisis, Portersaid no, northern Georgia should float low-interest loans to pay for the construction in their areas.
Porter said low-performing schools need to be given the tools they need to do the job they were asked to do. He said these include smaller class sizes, more technology, and increased parental involvement, work wonders.
He said re-prioritizing the school budget is paramount, giving the money to the teachers, and not the administrators. Asked if elected, what the first thing he would do, Porter said he would first go after the 25 percent of businesses that don’t pay taxes. Recovered money, he said, would pay for most if not all of the things needed to better Georgia’s public education system. Asked how he could assure voters that if elected he wouldn’t keep things they way they are.
Porter said look at his record and you’ll see that is not the way he does business. He has always stood up for the common man, and has always worked to fight corruption and inefficiency in government, he said.
“Mornings unPHILtered” airs live Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on statesboroherald.com and also simulcast on WWNS-AM 1240 on the radio. You also can listen anytime at BoroLive.com on statesboroherald.com