Gov. Perdue Wants to Screw Nonprofit Hospitals

First, I feel my feelings about Governor Sonny Perdue
may best be expressed through a picture and WordArt.

Now, I want to share part of a newsletter:

This week, the governor unveiled his latest proposal to address the budget shortfall by announcing a 10.25% Medicaid cut to hospital and physician payments and the repeal of the nonprofit hospitals sales tax exemption. He made this proposal due to a lack of support among lawmakers for the hospital revenue sick tax.

The heat is being turned up under the Gold Dome with the focus of the 2010 legislative session on the budget shortfall.  On Thursday, the governor lowered his revenue estimate for the FY 2010 (current fiscal year) revenue estimate by $343 million and the FY 2011 (fiscal year beginning July 1) revenue estimate by $443 million.

The governor’s proposal to take away the tax exemption on nonprofit hospitals is a tax increase! And, if a 4% state tax on revenues is placed on purchases, it’s likely that counties and municipalities will in turn place a sales tax on purchases and on property.  A 4% sales tax in Georgia could quickly become 8% doubling the impact on certain hospitals in the state.

When lawmakers go back into session on Tuesday, March 16, they will be in day 24 of the legislative session.  That leaves 16 legislative days left in the 40 day session.    Time is not on our side!

Please consider voicing your opinion today to Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, Speaker Ralston and your House and Senate members! Even if you have already contacted them, please do so again!!!! Ask them to oppose a tax increase on nonprofit hospitals by removing the current sales tax exemption. This financial impact could result in job layoffs, a reduction or elimination of capital projects, and reduction or elimination of free community health projects that provided by hospitals.

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle’s Contact Info:
Click here to use the Lt Gov’s online contact form.
Call: 404-656-5030
Fax: 404-656-6739

House Speaker David Ralson’s Contact Info:
Capitol #:  404-656-5020
Email his staff: Dianne Hardin (dianne.hardin@house.ga.gov), Leishea Johnson (leishea.johnson@house.ga.gov), and Gina McKinney (ginny.mckinney@house.ga.gov)

Haiti: You CAN Help

How can you help Haiti?

Easy.  Look at the picture above, and follow its instructions like I did this morning.  Texting “YELE” to 501501 will add $5 to your cellphone bill.  If you own a cell, I’m willing to bet you can spare $5.  Seriously. Why couldn’t you?  It is the middle of the month; you probably have at least another 15 or so days before you’ll have to pay your cell bill.  Go without Starbucks for a day.  Have a $1 can of Campbell Soup for lunch instead of ordering out.  It is $5 that will help make a huge difference to country in devastation.  Do it! This program is possible because of Wyclef and his Yele Haiti project.

The American Red Cross has also started a texting campaign to raise money.  Text “Haiti” to 90999 to add $10 to your cell bill.  I had to send the text to 90999— I’d feel guilty otherwise.

I found out last night that a good friend of mine’s boyfriend has been in Haiti since last Friday.  She and her boyfriend volunteer their medical services with a mission group and visit Haiti a couple of times each year.  She was told he wasn’t hurt; she wasn’t able to speak with him, and she doesn’t know anything else.  As you can imagine, she is worried for him, and she’s worried with the patients she cares for.  (She stays in touch with a number of them on a monthly basis.)  After you donate $5, please send positive vibes out for her boyfriend.

Elected Officials Too Good to Pay Their Taxes?

A few weeks ago I heard rumblings that there are members of the Georgia Senate and House of Representatives behind on paying their state taxes. Then the AJC ran an article on the issue. Now, 11 Alive has tackled the issue.

There are 16 House Representatives and 3 Senators who are not up to date on their taxes. 11 Alive has placed calls to elected officials giving them a chance to comment on whether or not their taxes are paid. Click here to see who 11 Alive is waiting to hear from and who has cooperated with 11 Alive. The elected officials won’t remain nameless forever. Once they have been served papers from the Georgia Department of Revenue and given time to respond, their names will available to the public.

Senator Eric Johnson (pictured above), Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, in some circles, is receiving credit for trying to crack down on his peers who aren’t paying their taxes. Before you praise Senator Eric Johnson, please note that a majority of the lawmakers who are not current on their taxes have been delinquent for a couple of years or more. Why did Senator Eric Johnson wait so long to raise the red flag? Oh, I guess his candidacy for Lt. Governor has something to do with it.

A message for Senator Eric Johnson: At first, some of the good citizens of Georgia will probably fall for your “I care routine,” but it won’t take them to see you treat politics like a game of poker, and sir, you play dirty. Your actions show your interest lies within your desire for power. For the sake of your own dignity, please stop the pathetic pandering for votes, and do what an elected official should do– genuinely look out for the citizens of Georgia.

Let us turn our attention to Senator Valencia Seay (pictured to the right). When 11 Alive called Senator Valencia Seay to ask about her Georgia tax status, well, she told 11 Alive it is none of their business. Woah—I did not see that answer coming from a Senator who has been serving since 2002. Is it just me or is Senator Seay telling her constituents and the rest of Georgia that she is above public disclosure?

Senator Valencia Seay serves as the Minority Caucus Vice Chair, which makes this matter even more disappointing. She is in a leadership position, and leaders should lead by example. I am happy that most of her peers are not following her example!

Contact Senator Valencia Seay to tell her to disclose whether or not she is current on her taxes. I especially urge the people of Senate District 31 to hold Senator Valencia Seay accountable. Is Senator Valencia Seay who the people of District 31 want respresenting them?

Senator Seay’s Contact Information
Email: valencia.seay@senate.ga.gov
Capitol Office Phone: 404-656-5095
Capitol Office Fax: 404-657-9728

I sent my email to Senator Valencia Seay asking her to disclose whether or not she is up to date with her Georgia taxes. Of course, I will share what she has to say in I Was Born Doing Reference Work in Sin.

Remember: If we don’t hold our elected officials accountable, who will?

UPDATE: Senator Seay speaks!

Senate Bill 16 (AKA the "Sunday Sales" Bill)

As I posted on Facebook:

Below is a note I sent to each member of the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities in regards to Senate Bill 16. Feel free to copy and paste and send along.

I suggest putting in a call or fax since Wednesday is around the corner. Let’s blitz the Senators with emails, calls, and faxes within the 24 hours before they meet!

On Wednesday, February 25, you have a Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee meeting. When the discussion turns to Senate Bill 16, I hope you will show your support for the bill.

I hope each Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee member realizes that support of Senate Bill 16 is not pledging support to Sunday alcohol sales. In actuality, it is allowing the people of Georgia a chance to voice their opinions through the voting process.

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
David Shafer (Chairman): david.shafer@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-0048
Eric Johnson (Vice Chairman): eric.johnson@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-5109
Ed Harbison (Secretary): ed.harbison@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-0074
Gloria Butler: gloria.butler@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-0075
Steve Hensen: steve.henson@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-0085
Jack Hill: jack.hill@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-5038
Dan Moody: dan.moody@senate.ga.gov, (404) 463-8055
Jack Murphy: jack.murphy@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-7127
Mitch Seabaugh: mail@mitchseabaugh.com, (404) 656-6446
Doug Stoner: doug.stoner@senate.ga.gov, (404) 463-2518
Ross Tolleson: ross.tolleson@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-0081
Renee Unterman: renee.unterman@senate.ga.gov, (404) 463-1368
Tommie Williams: tommie.williams@senate.ga.gov, (404) 656-0089

Video from ATL Prop 8 Protest ~Rep Karla Drenner

First: A huge thank you to Justin for recording the speakers at the Prop 8 Protest at the Georgia Capitol.

In case you missed it: Yesterday, I posted pictures snapped with my trusty phone. Also, check out Collin Kelley’s blog for more pictures.

The video below is of Representative Karla Drenner. Rep Drenner mentions something I have been fearing during the past couple of General Assembly sessions– some of our elected officials will try to pull what I will tag Pulling An Arkansas. As Drenner says in the video, we need to wake up now. We need to have our game plan ready in December because we need to hit the ground running in January. You’ll see more on this topic in my blog over the next couple of months.

Revisiting 2004: Calling Out Donors of GA’s Amendment One


Later today I am protesting in two events regarding Gay Civil Rights; however, I can’t help but think about the link posted by the lovely Kate Evans. The link is to the AntiGay Blacklist, which supplies the information of donors who stand against the LGBT community by supporting Prop 8 in California. While reading the list I couldn’t help but think about how I didn’t know any information regarding the donors supporting Georgia’s Amendment One, which was approved by voters in 2004.

After playing Magnum PI, without the serious 80’s stash, I discovered YES! MARRIAGE AMENDMENT ALLIANCE INC raised $75,115 while its cohort FOCUS ON THE FAMILY GEORGIA MARRIAGE AMENDMENT COMMITTEE raised $17,650, and from what I can tell, the $17,650 came from the institution itself.

The $75,115 from YES! MARRIAGE AMENDMENT ALLIANCE INC was collected from:
Capital Research Advisors, LLC— $25,000 Donated
Kevin M. Stipe— $12,500 Donated
Robert W. Reagan— $12,500 Donated
Richard D. Gaby— $25,000 Donated

In my web research, the only information I can find on Capital Research Advisors, LLC is here. Ken Graves is listed as the contact person, so I will try to reach him next weekend for answers.

Kevin Snipe and Robert Reagan are both CPCUs with Reagan Consulting. Robert Reagan “brings more than three decades of insurance industry experience to the company that bears his name. Bobby’s expertise and integrity have ensured his reputation as a true authority within the insurance industry. He has consulted with many of the country’s most successful insurance agents and brokers, and worked with many leading financial institutions on their insurance initiatives.”

Kevin Snipe “has been with Reagan since 1991, and became a partner in 1995. He offers our clientele expertise in financial consulting in Mergers & Acquisitions (representing both buyers and sellers), agency valuation, value enhancement strategies, ownership perpetuation planning, and strategic planning.”

I saved Richard D. Gaby for last because he has recently made the news. I do not want you to forget his $25,000 donation to manipulate the Georgia Constitution against LGBT Georgians. I find it interesting that his individual donations during this past two-year election cycle violate the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, better known as McCain-Feingold. McCain-Feingold places a cap of $108,200 on individual contributions in a two-year cycle, and Gaby has donated $130,200. (Click here to read the article on Mr. Richard D. Gaby in the AJC.) You are probably wondering who employs Richard D. Gaby? The answer to the question is easy; Gaby is the powers that be at Peter Island Resort.

Yes, Georgians,it has been four years since the Georgia Constitution was amended; however, I hope you are just as angry today as you were four years ago. Be angry for us. Be angry for California, Florida, Arizona, and Arkansas.

Protest! Voice your opinion any and every way you know how!

BOYCOTT! ! !

Remember the words of Martin Luther King, Jr—- Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

Now, you know their names. You know where they work. Boycott them. Boycott their places of employment.

If our rights are not important to them, well, neither should our money.

Letter to Senator Dan Moody

Yesterday, I mailed a letter to Senator Dan Moody who voted against H.B. 1027. (Please scroll down to see my last post about Senator’s Moody vote or click here.) I want to encourage all GA citizens to take a moment to write Senator Moody. I firmly believe we must hold our elected officials accountable for their political decisions. Feel free to copy any or all of my letter to Senator Moody, and please share the information regarding Sentator Moody’s vote!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Senator Dan Moody
3977 Merriweather Woods
Alpharetta, GA 30022

Senator Moody

I contact you to express my extreme disappointment in your vote against H.B. 1027, a bill to require offenders to take certified anti-DUI courses, rather than dubious ones offered on the Internet and elsewhere. As if voting against a bill that benefits in and assists in ensuring the safety of Georgians is not bad enough, I am appalled that you based your vote on the attire of another elected official.

On more personal note: I think most people know someone who was injured or killed because of a drunk driver. Your vote against H.B. 1027 is an insult to those injured or killed and their families and friends.

I plan to contact as many of your District 56 constituents as possible to ensure they are aware of your vote (and your reasoning) against H.B. 1027.

Thank you for your time.

Cordially,

Dustin Brookshire

Blue Jeans Just Make You Vote No!

I am shocked and furious that Senator Dan Moody’s voted against H.B. 1027, which is a bill to require offenders to take certified anti-DUI courses, because the presenter of the bill wore blue jeans. No, I am NOT making this up (see the AJC article below)!

I am happy that Senator Moody is not my elected official; however, I will send him a letter none the less. I think every person, if he/she searches her mind can think of someone who was hurt or killed in an DUI incident, and Senator Moody’s vote against H.B. 1027 is a disgrace to those hurt or killed and their families.

The great Senate blue jean debate

Thursday, March 20, 2008, 04:54 PM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tradition is taken seriously in the state Capitol. Lawmakers do not address themselves by name, the better to avoid fistfights. Governors may enter legislative chambers only by invitation, the better to avoid coups.

The place is also one of Atlanta’s last bastions of formal business attire, for both women and men.

Thursday saw a rare, public confrontation among lawmakers over this last point. Sen. John Bulloch, a farmer from Georgia’s southwest corner, had just taken the well to present H.B. 1027, a bill to require offenders to take certified anti-DUI courses, rather than dubious ones offered on the Internet and elsewhere.

Bulloch was dressed in a jacket, a tie, white shirt — and blue jeans with creases so sharp they could pare an apple.

State Sen. John Bulloch (R-Ochlocknee) in blue jeans on Thursday. Elissa Eubanks/AJC
Sen. Dan Moody, a Roswell engineer, got to his feet. Moody is quiet but intense. He read to Bulloch the Senate rule that requires members to act with dignity and decorum.

Listen to the entire three-minute exchange by clicking here.
But here’s a condensed version:

Moody: Senator, do we have casual day in the Senate?

Bulloch: No, sir. I think the decorum rule that you just read says that we shall be appropriately dressed.

Moody: Do you consider yourself appropriately dressed today with a pair of blue jeans on?

Bulloch: I sure do. There a hundred percent cotton, they’re clean, they’re pressed, they have a seam in ‘em, and I think they’re just as appropriate as anything else I may wear….

Moody: Senator, would you consider tabling this bill and bringing it back another day when you’re appropriately dressed?

Bulloch: No, sir, I feel that would be a waste of the great people’s time — of the state of Georgia — and especially my fellow senators in this chamber.

Moody: Senator, would you mind if I vote against this bill because of your inappropriate dress today?

H.B. 1027 passed by a vote of 36 to 12. Moody indeed voted against it. Lawmakers often go one
another in tongue-in-cheek fashion from the floor, but — afterwards — the Roswell senator said this wasn’t one of those instances.

“I was very serious. We don’t let pages wear blue jeans,” Moody said. “I’m very protective of this chamber’s reputation.”

Bulloch noted that, in his part of Georgia, farmers grow cotton, not Dacron. And he’ll wear his pants whenever and wherever he sees fit.

Aside from the private — and in this case, public — condemnation by peers, enforcement of tradition at the Capitol is a chancy thing.

The late state Sen. Culver Kidd of Milledgeville was a famous, flamboyant inebriate. Zell Miller once said he could tell the time of day by the degree to which Kidd drifted from the perpendicular.

In 1992, Kidd went to the well to speak for a measure praising Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He wore a suit made from 160 cloth bags in which bottles of Crown Royal whisky were sold.

He’d had a tailor stitch the suit together. Presumably, Kidd emptied the bottles himself.

“Go get that S.O.B. off the floor,” Lt. Gov. Pierre Howard ordered Wayne Garner, then a senator but now mayor of Carrollton.

“I already looked,” Garner replied. “The rules say jacket and tie. They do not describe make or model.”

Kidd gave his speech in his Crown Royal suit. He later said he was going for irony.

Senator Moody’s Contact Information
District Office:
3977 Merriweather Woods
Alpharetta, GA 30022
(404) 463-8055

Email:
dan.moody@senate.ga.gov