Gov. Barnes hit the nail on the head when he wrote that the citizens of Georgia need our own lobbyist in Atlanta. If you ever wondered whether "pay to play" is alive and well here in the Peach State, just keep reading.
Exhibit "A"? SB31, the bill that allows Georgia Power to bill consumers in advance for the construction of a nuclear plant they hope to build in the future. This bill is a sweet deal for Georgia Power, a company that might as well be rolling a gift cart around the Capitol. If a legislator needs basketball tickets, they can hook you up. Race tickets? Got you covered. Football tickets? Sure thing. Dinner for the entire regulated industries committee, or your entire caucus? Not a problem. And all perfectly legal, and apparently, very effective.
From 2008-2009, the first five sponsors of SB31: Balfour, Tarver, Tolleson, Rogers, and Powell have all accepted perks from Georgia Power's lobbyists. Here are a few of my favorites:
- (2008) Sen. Tarver took basketball and race tickets valued at $730.00.
- (2008) Sen. Tolleson took $135.00 worth of race tickets, plus multiple meals.
- In the Fall of 2008, Sen. Rogers took $180.00 worth of sports tickets.
- In December of 2008, the Senate Regulated Industry and Utilities Committee was treated to dinner valued at $328.51.
- And, last but not least, over the last three years, Georgia Power has contributed $15,000 to the Georgia Republican Party (read: the Party in Charge)
I'm not suggesting that these folks voted for this bill because they got a ticket to a game, but I am saying that these gifts and this legislation are emblematic of way of doing business in Atlanta that leaves every day Georgian out in the cold. Make no mistake, directly or indirectly, in SB31, Georgia Power got exactly what they paid for, and, if the bill passes the House, Georgia consumers will get the bill-literally. You and I don't have a gift cart at the Capitol, but there's still time for you to contact your Representative and tell them to VOTE NO on SB31. I hope you'll call today. Sphere: Related Content