Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My July 31st Voting Guide, Part 3 - Issues Questions

Last part of my voting guide. In this one, I tackle the issues questions. As a bonus, I've looked at both the Republican and Democratic party ballots. Then there are a couple of really important Special Election Referendum items that are going to be on both ballots.

See also Part 1, on PSC races, Part 2, on County races, and Part 4, where I get back to the U.S. House Race.

-Republican Party Questions-
1) Should Georgia have casino gambling with funds going toward education?
Tough one. First, I don't like this idea that gambling is "evil" unless it's "for education", in which case it suddenly becomes good. Let the legality of gambling stand on its own merit.
One problem there is with casino gambling in particular is the reputation of its association with organized crime and corruption. As I said before, Georgia is right now number one in the risk of corruption list, so that is a worry with me. I don't like government telling "we the people" how we can and can't entertain ourselves, but I'm afraid that this may be abused by people in power. And at the same time as we're legalizing casino gambling, a gas station still can't have a coin video arcade gambling machine? I'm on the fence about this.

2) Do you support ending the current practice of unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators by imposing a $100 cap on such gifts?
Yes. Next question?

3) Should active duty military personnel who are under the age of 21 be allowed to obtain a Georgia weapons license?
Sounds like a good idea to me. I learned the basics of rifle and handgun safety before I could drive. I see no reason why someone whose job requires regular training with (and sometimes use of) firearms shouldn't be allowed to have their own. As an aside, I also support licensed concealed carry for students on college campuses, especially for Georgia Tech, where muggings have been a big problem for years now.

4) Should Citizens who wish to vote in a primary election be required to register by their political party affiliation at least thirty (30) days prior to such a primary election?
I'm voting against this. I see it as just a move from "party insiders" to try and avoid interference from independent voters. If my only chance to unseat a particularly bad candidate is to vote against them in a primary, I want to vote in that primary, be it Democratic or Republican.

5) Should the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the paramount right to life is vested in each innocent human being from his or her earliest biological beginning without regard to age, race, sex, health, function, or condition of dependency?
I do believe that the paramount right to life is vested in each human being from earliest beginning, etc. I think that's just a basic fact. The only alternative point of view, I think, leads down the road of giving Powerful People the authority to decide whose life is important and whose is disposable. That's a dangerous philosophy. But should the Constitution of Georgia be amended for this? Should this be the Georgia GOP's big battle right now? I know plenty of people who might be persuaded that federally financing abortion and mandating abortion coverage into all insurance plans is a violation of rights, but who still might cringe at the thought of an openly "pro-life" clause in the state's Constitution. These are the people who hold conservative values in their hearts, but have been persuaded by the culture to think of themselves as "liberal" or "moderate". Basically, I just don't trust the GOP to take this fight and not make a mess of it.

-Democratic Party Questions-
1) Should the Georgia Constitution be amended to allow the state to override locally-elected school boards' decisions when it comes to the creation of charter schools in your county or city?
I like charter schools on principle. We've seen a few bad apples crop up in the news lately, but the big bonus of charter schools is that you can choose which is less rotten, the public school or the charter. Now, some parents are desparate to get their kids out of rotten public schools, but the local school boards aren't letting that happen. I sympathize, really I do. But I think the bigger fight is to get rid of the useless and corrupt local school boards. I don't like the idea of using the state legislature as a way to simply trump the local elected officials. It's a harder fight, but we need people to take it up.

2) Do you support ending current practice permitting unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators?
Hey, the Republicans had the same idea! Maybe the two parties can agree on something! Now let's see if it actually happens....

3) Should Georgia adopt an income tax credit for home energy costs to support the economic security of our families?
Why does every "good cause" have to be a matter of income tax credits? Why not work to increase production while lowering production costs, and so lower prices? Or, here's an idea: Let's get rid of -all- tax loopholes and credits, then we can lower taxes across the board. Simplify, simplify.

4) Should Georgia reduce sales taxes on Made in Georgia products so as to support the growth of small businesses in our state?
Sure, it'd be nice to help Georgia sellers by making their product cheaper. But not all small businesses in the state have a choice to buy Made in Georgia products. Why not help those that can, and those that can't, by simplifying taxes across the board? Just my thought.

-Special Election Referendum-
Atlanta Regional District T-SPLOST
Provides for local transportation projects to create jobs and reduce traffic congestion with citizen oversight.
Shall Fayette County's transportation system and the transportation network in this region and the state be improved by providing for a 1 percent special district transportation sales and use tax for the purpose of transportation projects and programs for a period of ten years?
No, no, a thousand times no!! Have you seen those "Untie Atlanta" ads on TV lately? Millions of dollars in advertising to promote a tax that is supposed to fund $8.5 billion in projects. And much of that is apparently being paid for by construction companies which will get the lucrative contracts, but we can't know that for sure because the campaigning organizations have not been on the up-and-up with reporting their received donations and spending. Many of the projects on the list are nice little "sustainable development" pork items which will have no real impact on traffic. Other items on the list are to start projects that can't possibly be finished before the tax runs out, which means we'll have another push to continue this "temporary" tax as soon as it expires. To top it all off, our elected county and city governing bodies will have no authority over how this money is spent. Instead, it goes through "regional boards" which are, as far as I can tell, not elected. Now here's the kicker: Even if your county votes 100% against it, your county will still be subject to the tax if your "region" as a whole votes for it. Isn't that special?

Allow Package Sales on Sunday by Retailers of Both Package Malt Beverages and Wine in Unincorporated Fayette County
Shall the governing authority of Fayette County be authorized to permit and regulate package sales by retailers of both malt beverages and wine on Sundays between the hours of 12:30 P.M. and 11:30 P.M.?
I can't see any reason why not.

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