An Out-of-Touch Washington

By Senator Jim Butterworth

Every time I open a newspaper or turn on the news, I see another display of Washington leaders turning their back on the American people. Whether it is raising taxes or proposing costly health care mandates on taxpayers, the federal government seems to be out of touch with the very people they represent.

The Georgia Senate has chosen a different path. State leadership is stepping up to the plate proposing common sense economic legislation. We are not raising taxes, we are balancing our budget and we are doing everything in our power to create an environment for job growth. Lawmakers are pursuing the passage of the Jobs, Opportunity, and Business Success Act (JOBS Act 2010). This measure recognizes Georgia’s small business owners as the backbone to economic recovery and growth by utilizing free-market solutions to empower the private sector and drive Georgia’s economic recovery.

Among its provisions, the bill includes an “Angel Investor” income tax credit of up to 50 percent of an investment made in small or start up Georgia businesses that have 20 or fewer employees. Twenty-one other states have implemented programs to incentivize “Angels,” and North Carolina’s tax-credit program alone resulted in nearly 700 new jobs, with average salaries of more than $58,000.

The Obama administration is raising taxes on the middle class. They won’t admit this because the taxes are hidden behind politicians specializing in rhetoric. President Bush enacted tax cuts under the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. The Obama administration does not seem to understand that fiscal conservatism is what will lead us out of this economic downturn. They plan to let the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year. It is a camouflaged tax hike, one that will burden the middle class and hamper growth. This will hurt the very people on “main street” Obama pledged to help. Tax increases combined with an already suffering economy will only perpetuate the already volatile economic tailspin we’re in today.

While Washington continues the struggle with health care reform, Georgia is leading the way in reducing financial burden at no cost to the state.  Lawmakers are working to protect Georgians’ health care freedom of choice and prohibit any future federal or state mandates that may penalize our citizens.  Senate Bill 399 (SB 399) prohibits federal health care reform provisions from being implemented in Georgia unless the General Assembly passes legislation that authorizes the state’s compliance with any health care reform provision.  Georgia’s health care system was developed to address the unique circumstances in the state and provide solutions that work for Georgia.  However, federal government health care proposals seek to infringe on the state and its people by requiring them to enroll in a third-party payer system and levying fines on those who choose to pay directly for their health care.  Employers also face fines under federal proposals if they do not meet federal standards for providing health care benefits for employees, while threatening private health care systems with competing government health care systems.  In contrast, SB 399 provides protection for patients, doctors, and insurance providers.

The Georgia legislature is working for you, not against you. Federal proposals will do a great disservice to the American people. We must use common sense and realize that tax hikes and federal mandates are not what Georgians need.

If you have any comments, concerns or would like your voice heard, please feel free to contact me anytime. If you need contact information you can go to the Georgia General Assembly website or simply send an e-mail to

Sen. Jim Butterworth represents the 50th Senate District which includes Towns, Rabun, Habersham, Stephens, Banks, Franklin, and Hart counties along with a portion of White County. He can be reached by phone at 404.463.5257 or by email at

For Immediate Release:
February 25, 2010
For Information Contact:
Raegan Weber, Director
Katie Wright, Communications Associate