Fighting for South Georgia in Atlanta - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Fighting for South Georgia in Atlanta

July 27, 2007

Cordele - - A showdown is brewing between leaders of local governments in South Georgia and some state leaders in Atlanta. It's all about your tax money. How much should be collected and who should be in charge of spending it?

A House Resolution would do away local taxes and create a flat tax that would go to state leaders to distribute. One county commissioner in our area says it's part of a trend that's reducing south Georgia's power.

Crisp commissioner Brad Faircloth is organizing South Georgia leaders and preparing for a fight. He says local government should be in the hands of local government, not the state, especially when he says South Georgia's elected officials on the state level are often outnumbered.

Outnumbered and overpowered. That's how Crisp County Commissioner Brad Faircloth describes South Georgia's senators and representatives at the state capitol.

"The relationship that we had with the state seemed to be diminishing," he says. 

Sick of unfunded mandates and failed legislation that would support South Georgia, Faircloth is fighting back. He's organizing a Coalition of Counties to attract government and business leaders all over South Georgia.

"The state has preached regionalism for so long," says Cordele/Crisp Chamber of Commerce President Monica Simmons.

She's contacted some 50 counties to get involved with the coalition. More than half of them responded.

"There's 30 counties and we mailed the letter to 50 counties and that tells me there's a lot of interest in this project," Simmons says.

Faircloth says the project would back South Georgia representatives by giving them a support system.

"It's something that were doing for them. Were going to try to help you so you can help us," he says.

Help get funding for local projects and prevent legislation they say will shrink local government's say-so.

"We just need to remind Atlanta that were still down here," Simmons added.

Faircloth says at least 100 people have committed to showing up at the coalition's first meeting next week. They're inviting any city or county leader as well as the general public to come out. 

The meeting will take place at the Lake BlackShear resort in Crisp County Tuesday at 10 AM.

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