The following column is an editorialized opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not necessarily those of AllOnGeorgia.
Below, State Representative John Pezold, a Columbus area Republican, makes his case for the candidate he’s supporting for Lieutenant Governor.
With little more than a week to go in the primary runoff races, we’re being inundated by literature from every campaign touting everyone’s respective conservative credentials. The six years I had the privilege of serving in the House representing District 133 has allowed me to look past the rhetoric and mail pieces and see exactly who the candidates really are. By and large, the overwhelming majority of elected Republicans share the same values (at least on paper). We all consider ourselves to be pro-business, claim to support limited government, and say we’ll fight for the little guy. The truest measure is to look at the voting record.
I consider myself to be a limited-government conservative. I’m supporting Geoff Duncan for Lieutenant Governor, and I’ll offer a few policy-based reasons as to why.
Below I am going to list a few pieces of legislation that have passed both houses and been signed into law. I challenge you to ask yourself the question: Would I consider this to be a conservative piece of legislation?
SB 24 (2013) – The extension of the Hospital Bed tax took taxing power away from elected officials and gave it to unelected bureaucrats in the dysfunctional Department of Community Health.
HB 170 (2015) – The transportation bill amounted to the largest tax increase in the state’s history (conservative estimates over $700 million). It included an last-minute addition of a $5 hotel/motel tax, making Georgia’s hotel/motel tax the highest in the country. In fact, because of this bill, the four cities with the highest hotel/motel tax rates IN THE COUNTRY are all in Georgia. The $5 provision had never been vetted through committee. It was added in two hours before passage by a six-man conference committee led by David Shafer.
HB 202 (2015) – Gave a tax exemption for Mercedes-Benz. Due to the passage of this bill, employees of Mercedes-Benz are exempted from paying ad valorem taxes on their vehicles. Cronyism at its finest. This benefits the politically connected literally at the expense of everyone else in the state.
SB 81 (2013) – Simply put, this bill violates private property rights. It would make it illegal for a property owner to harvest ginseng plants except from September 1 to December 31 and would prohibit you from harvesting it unless it has “at least three prongs” and you must replant new berries in the same location from which you harvested the plant. This is an obvious example of government infringing upon private property rights and micromanaging what our citizens can do with their own property.
What do these four bills all have in common? Geoff Duncan is the only candidate in the LG race to vote against them. I realize that most people have never heard of these bills. Perhaps your eyes started to glaze over as you read the brief description.
But it matters. Most of the legislation we vote on would be considered “obscure”. In my humble opinion, obscurity is the greatest ally of a growing government. The less attention a bill garners, the more likely it is to pass. We need leaders who show a record of caring about the minutia. We have enough leaders in this day and age who strive solely for the headline driving policy. Our lives are lived, more often than not, interacting with the obscurities that come out of our capitol. I want a Lieutenant Governor who has a track record of standing strong against government overreach. Geoff Duncan is the only candidate in this race who has such a record.
The Lieutenant Governor is responsible for what hits the Senate floor for a vote and what doesn’t. If a conservative doesn’t hold that position, bad bills have a better chance of hitting the floor. And in my experience, roughly 99% of bills that hit the floor get enough votes to pass. Even the bad ones. We need a limited government perspective stopping bills that grow government. Geoff Duncan is the only candidate who will do just that. He has a record which proves it.