AFP Georgia 2014 Legislative Priorities
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A March deadline deadline for candidate filing and a historically early May 20th primary suggest a very fast 2014 legislative session. House Speaker David Ralston and Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle inferred as much at Wednesday’s GA Chamber Eggs and Issues Breakfast. Even still, Americans For Prosperity Georgia activists will focus and coordinate with free market groups at the grassroots level around the State in 2014 to fight for limited government, less taxes, spending and regulation and preserving the rule of law on some key battles that affect our state.
Civil Forfeiture Reform – AFP activists are working in the trenches to reform existing civil forfeiture laws in Georgia that place the burden of proof on the citizen over the state and jeopardize the private property rights of all Georgians in civil forfeiture cases. Right now, law enforcement are able to seize property if they have a suspicion that it has been used in a criminal act – regardless of proof – and are able to cash in the property and apply the proceeds to the expenses of law enforcement (sometimes, rather loosely defined), often, before a judgement has been rendered. AFP wants reforms that protect citizen’s rights and private property by raising reporting requirements for law enforcement in such cases, shifting the burden of proof to the state, proving the property was involved in a criminal act before it can be forfeited and streamlining the process so that property is returned quickly to its owner.
Fractional SPLOST – Fractional percentage SPLOST is common-sense policy that will allow counties to lower tax burdens on sales taxes, by nature, regressive taxes. It will provide more government transparency, curb the temptation to pack project lists with taxpayer funded crony deals and reduce the threat of on-going maintenance costs on unnecessary projects that taxpayers are stuck with long after the projects are completed. Currently, Georgia law allows counties to propose a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum, that if approved, allows for a 1% tax rate. The funds collected are used for capital projects such as constructing roads and other infrastructure, local government buildings, and jails. However, there is no flexibility for a lower rate. That’s why counties need the flexibility to lower taxes by having the ability to raise only the amount needed for specific projects. [Take Action here].
Tax and government intrusion – AFP supports consumer and taxpayer legislation that lowers the cost of mobile and internet communications (without the aid of government subsidy) in Georgia while limiting taxpayer liability brought by the threat of government meddling in the private sector.
ObamaCare – AFP activists will oppose any effort to expand Medicaid in Georgia and we applaud Governor Deal for his hard and principled stand against big government advocates on the issue. We also applaud the efforts of House members like Representative Jason Spencer for leading the charge to put further teeth in Georgia’s efforts to push back against ObamaCare. His legislation, along with co-sponsors, reinforces Georgia’s position of staunch opposition to ACA by giving the Attorney General authority to bring suit against anyone in government who aids in the enforcement of ACA including trying to set up state-based exchanges.
Education – AFP activists will continue to oppose common core curriculum standards in Georgia as a loss of state control that delivers unsustainable cost and lowers student achievement while pushing for an expansion of successful programs like Georgia’s tuition tax credit scholarships. We will continue to fight for long term efforts that empower parents and individual students with more educational freedom of choice.