Monday, September 14, 2009

State Economy is No. 1 Issue for Porter.

Thomasville Times-Enterprise:
State Rep. DuBose Porter wants to end government procrastination and replace it with an agenda centered on education, conservation and transportation.

A 55-year-old Democrat from Dublin, Porter is a candidate for governor. He has served District 143 in the Georgia House of Representatives since 1982 and is the minority leader.

“The No. 1 issue of my campaign is how to get Georgia’s economy moving,” said Porter, who is set to speak at the Sept. 29 citizens meeting at the Thomasville Municipal Auditorium.
One of Porter’s leading goals is to elevate Georgia from the bottom of the nation’s education rankings to the top 20. He believes that is crucial to the state’s economic future.“What companies are looking for is a trainable and trained workforce,” he said. “To get those jobs here, we’ve got to show that we are going to make a commitment to job training and education.”

Porter, instrumental in the establishment of the HOPE Scholarship, resisted Gov. Sonny Perdue’s massive cuts to the education budget and his call for teacher furloughs. He offered a solution to some of the financial problems by co-sponsoring HB 356, which was not allowed out of committee by the Republican leadership.
The measure, similar to a bill already implemented in Alabama, would enable local governments to collect state sales tax at the point of sale instead of waiting on the Department of Revenue.
“The Department of Revenue, in the last (General Assembly) session, said there was $1.4 billion (now $1.6 billion) in uncollected taxes,” Porter explained. “It takes three months for local governments to get (state sales tax money) back. Letting cities and counties collect taxes would make a big difference where you would not have to have furloughs.

“Yes, (the budget) would still be tight, but it would give us the resources to prioritize things. We can boost technology in our schools without raising taxes.”
Porter, a lawyer and chairman of the board of a newspaper publishing company, said the state’s economic future also hinges on its water supply. A federal judge recently gave Georgia, Alabama and Florida three years to end a long-standing fight over the millions of gallons released from Lake Lanier each day.
If Georgia’s share of the flow from the Chattahoochee River is reduced, water-depending industries would be forced to shun Atlanta, hindering growth.”
“Now that we’ve had a ruling, we’ve got to come to the bargaining table in good faith,” Porter said. “We’re starting negotiations in a weak legal position.”

Porter has a plan to boost Georgia’s court standing.
“One-third of the water Atlanta takes out of the Chattahoochee does not go back in because of leaks in its water system,” Porter said. “If we could put the water back, that would go a good way toward showing our commitment to fix our problems.”Porter believes Atlanta should partner with the state and federal government to repair the leaks. It did a similar think a decade ago to fix a decrepit water treatment system that resulted in relentless fines by the federal government.

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