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Think before you vote

No, this column about the recent elections is not going where everyone thinks it's going. We'll have to wait and see how the new group in control will handle the power and responsibility.

Aside from that, something on the ballot this past Nov. 7 caught me completely off guard. Was I alone, or did nearly all of the constitutional amendments and referendums seem unnecessary?

I must have been almost alone because they all passed by huge margins. Why does it sometimes seem that no one - even those that take the time to vote - pays attention to what they're voting for?

People around here tend to be a tad conservative about government spending. That's fine, but vote that way for crying out loud.

Conservatives are supposed to think with their brains while liberals think with their hearts. If everyone had just logically considered the referendums with a normal political thought process, the vote would have been a resounding no.

Take the first of the state referendums, for example. It asked voters if ad valorem tax exemptions should be expanded to include farm equipment held under lease purchase agreements. This measure passed with 60.8 percent of the vote, but why? If I pay taxes on equipment and vehicles that I use to do my job, why shouldn't the farmers? Why do they get off the hook when I don't?

What everyone did by passing that referendum is effectively passing a tax increase on themselves. I'll let that sink in a minute.

Think about it: the same amount of money is needed to run the governments, so if we give one group a break on their taxes, the rest of us have to pay more.

Wishing you could take that "yes" vote back now? It gets worse because five of the six referendums did exactly the same thing. They allowed some group to get away with either not paying or paying fewer taxes to the state.

Congratulations Georgia; you voted five tax increases on yourself so that some special interest group could be exempt from paying. That doesn't line up with the state's conservative base at all.

And that is just the half of it. There are also the amendments that passed overwhelmingly.

Maybe one of them was necessary. That whole restricting imminent domain thing - a move toward keeping the government from taking your land and giving it to a private business - seems fair to property owners.

But an amendment to protect and regulate the traditions of hunting and fishing, come on. This is the South. People will hunt and fish no matter what the government says.

Plus, hunting and fishing are already protected and regulated by the state. This amendment is brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department.

The moral of the story: think before you vote, Georgia. I know this will sound strange coming from me, but don't just vote yes because some referendum might give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

Web posted on Thursday, November 16, 2006

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