Elected leaders in this state have only been at work less than a month and they have already stepped with both feet into trouble, not once, but twice.
It was reported last week that House Speaker David Ralston, his family, his chief of staff and his wife accepted a $17,000 European trip from a Washington lobbyist to gather information on how important rail service is to some European countries and how such rail service would benefit Georgians.
If you really believe the speaker was concerned about that, you are certainly living in a dream world.
Ralston was elected to this exalted position last year, replacing a disgraced predecessor.
He was put into that position because he promised to reform the way politicians do business in this state.
Shame on us for believing in such promises. Ralston by all accounts has spent his first year being wined and dined by numerous lobby groups.
There really hasn’t been much said by our lawmakers about Ralston’s boondoggle trip on our behalf.
We would have hoped that our local legislators would have spoken up on this issue, but they have not.
We believe Georgian’s want honest government; we believe that they want politicians who are going to be conscious of the economic stress that we are experiencing in this state.
We believe Ralston should set an example, admit he made a mistake, pay back the lobbyist their money for this trip and get moving on creating real reform in our state.
If he is not capable of this, he should be forced to step aside.
In another issue the state giveth and the state taketh away. Unfortunately for many victims of the state take away, no notice was given.
There are many citizens of Georgia who because of this economic downturn are between a rock and a hard place. Many of the folks rushed off their tax returns to the state in hopes of being able to boost their bank accounts.
These folks with the deepest of trust in our state and its leaders received their state refunds, deposited them, probably went to bed with a sigh of relief, and then spent the next day being totally embarrassed because that money which they thought was theirs was recalled by the state without notice.
It seems that state officials discovered that there had been a $640,000 overpay of tax returns because of a computer glitch.
Mistakes happen, we understand that, but the way state officials handled this was inexcusable.
Newly-appointed Revenue Commissioner Douglas J. MacGinnite was quoted as saying after the fiasco “Clearly we need to work to make the Department of Revenue more customer focused. I assume that is why the governor asked me to take this job”
Do you think, Mr. Commissioner?