2008-01-09 / Front Page

Headed back to the Dome

2008 General Assembly convenes Monday

Bulloch Bulloch As legislators return to Atlanta Monday for the 2008 session of the Georgia General Assembly, the hottest topics facing our legislators - Senator John Bulloch and Representative Gerald Greene - will be a statewide water plan and debate over tax reform, most notably, House Speaker Glenn Richardson's GREAT plan proposing to abolish property taxes, replacing them with sales tax.

Senator Bulloch, as chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee, is a member of the 14-member Water Council which has to present a statewide water plan to the legislature for an "up or down" vote Monday. If reaction to the plan from across the state (see page 5) is any indication, it is unlikely the plan will be approved Monday.

The council will have an opportunity to present a revised plan for a vote. If legislators do not approve the revised plan, the legislature can try to come up with a plan of their own... a situation framers of the 2004 legislation mandating the water plan had hoped to avoid.

Speaker Richardson has been criss-crossing the state since the last general assembly adjourned touting his GREAT plan to abolish property taxes. Tinkering with the plan continuously in an effort to circumvent opposition and plug conspicuous holes, Richardson has reduced his proposal to abolishing only school property taxes, and only that of homeowners.

Greene Greene Water and taxes are the issues expected to grab the early attention and headlines as the general assembly gets underway. There will also be a number of public health issues, including funding for the state's mental institutions and trauma centers. And there will be a lot of debate over how to provide life support to Grady Hospital in Atlanta.

There will be wide array of issues and bills before the 40-day session winds down, including stiffer dog fighting laws, a host of public education issues and issues affecting the state's businesses.

The News will keep readers informed of the issues that affect them most during the session. Next week the News hopes to have some thoughts and impressions from our legislators as the session gets underway.

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