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Below is an article from the Thomasville Times Enterprise. Please pass this article along.
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July 3, 2010
Power of persuasion (Thomasville Times Enterprise)
Porter says he will ensure entire state has a voice
Mark Lastinger CNHI
THOMASVILLE — House Minority Leader DuBose Porter believes he is a gubernatorial linchpin, a candidate who can hold Georgia’s divergent interests together so the entire state can prosper.
The veteran Democrat lawmaker from Dublin touted his record as consensus builder during a Wednesday Times-Enterprise visit.
“The issues that are facing Georgia in the next decade, really, even now — with regards to water, transportation funding, education funding and public safety, it will matter who is governor and whether the whole state is at the table,” Porter said. “With reapportionment coming up next year, for the first time in Georgia history metro Atlanta will have the majority in the House and Senate. The rest of Georgia needs a governor to balance all the interests out.”
Porter is especially concerned about how metro Atlanta’s growing influence will impact schools across the state. He helped developed the Quality Basic Education (QBE) funding formula for Georgia’s public schools.
“In education funding, for the first time last year, those in the metro area started affecting what is called equalization,” Porter explained. “Equalization was put into the Quality Basic Education funding to balance rural, urban, metro and other parts of the state. When you take away equalization, you start shifting the per-capita money per student away from any student outside of Atlanta.
“For it to be even, we need someone with the 28 years of experience that I have in those areas that are important.”
Porter’s public education include:
l Former chairman of the Georgia House Education and Higher Education committees
l Sponsored HB 1397, The Salary Protection Act, during the 2010 legislative session to stop teacher furloughs and put a firewall around teacher salaries
l Sponsored HB 1136 during the 2010 session to restore National Board Certification for teachers
l Sponsored post-secondary options legislation to students can learn valuable skills at technical colleges while still in high school
l Voted against increasing class sizes
l Fought against $3 billion in cuts to public education since 2003
l Voted against private school vouchers
l Sponsored legislation creating the HOPE Scholarship, the HOPE Grant and Georgia’s pre-kindergarten program
l Spoke out against the elimination of school nurses
“It all comes down to education,” Porter said. “I know the funding needs to be the same amount per student for everybody to have access to education in Georgia.”
Porter’s plans to end teacher furloughs and other education cuts by getting the Department of Revenue to do a better job of collecting the state sales tax.
“The Department of Revenue is so inept that it’s hard to be sure how much we’re talking about, but it’s somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion,” Porter said. “I introduced legislation during the past two sessions to solve that, but it was buried. It’s going to take a new governor with a new revenue commissioner to fix that.”
Porter said improving Georgia’s educational standing will also impact public safety.
“Budget cuts are reducing the number of law enforcement officers to unsafe levels,” he said. “The growing prison population is becoming financially unsustainable. Our citizens are less safe. Our law enforcement officers are less safe.
“It is much less expensive to educate a child now than to imprison one later.”
Porter’s state water conservation plan is designed to help high-growth areas while preventing interbasin transfers that could adversely affect south Georgia.
“One of the quickest solutions for water is to raise Lake Lanier by two feet, which is basically where it is right now after the recent rains,” he said. “You would impound 25 billion gallons of water.”
Porter has also called for the use of low-flow toilets and other conservation fixtures. One of his primary aim is to fix Atlanta’s crumbling water pipes, which allow up to 25 of the city’s treated water from making it to the Chattahoochee River.
“That would gives us credibility in court (in Georgia’s water rights battle with Alabama and Florida),” Porter said.
Porter said his transportation plan would also benefit the entire state.
“My transportation plan consists of three things,” he said. “First, dedicate the fourth penny of motor fuel sales tax to ‘any transportation purpose.’ This would allow a dedicated revenue stream to leverage federal resources for passenger rail, the money for Local Assistance for Road Paving, and state aid for local governments to use in economic development. Second, we will create regional Transportation-SPLOSTs where counties can join together to meet regional transportation needs. Third, I will put both measures on the ballot in 2011.
“I will bring passenger rail to Georgia. I will provide resources for partnerships to complete the beltline.”
Porter, whose wife Carol is running for lieutenant governor, remains confident about his chances for getting into a primary runoff. Some polls show him running second — although a distant second — to former Gov. Roy Barnes.
“I hope people realize what is at stake and that there is an alternative. That is how and why DuBose Porter wins,” he said.