Rep. Brett Harrell and new elected Rep. Joyce Chandler met with citizens in Grayson at a Town Hall meeting last week. It was an opportunity for citizen input about those things that are important to our community as well as an informational meeting pertaining to what our Representatives hope to accomplish during the 2013 session.
The informal discussion included topics ranging from Fair Tax initiatives to charter schools and ethics reform.
Fair Tax - This is not something the state can do in a single year; it is something that if approved, will take several years to phase into. We are already phasing out state property tax and last year's tax reform included definition of what is taxable. For example, consumers must now pay taxes on online purchases.
Automobile Taxes/Birthday Tax - Questions were raised about how this is implemented. Private car sales are now subject to taxation at the time of title transfer; this tax is based on the value of vehicle, not the cost.
Charter Schools in Gwinnett - Representatives are not expecting much change in the situation with public charter schools in Gwinnett.
Personhood Ammendment/Pro-Choice/Pro-Life Legisltation - Representatives are not expecting any new legislation other than tweaks to outstanding laws pertaining to this highly charged subject.
2nd Ammendment - Representatives are not expecting anything major, but perhaps some clarification of existing legislation.
Ethics Reform - Both representatives believe that some reform is necessary, but feel gifts should be more closely monitored by a commission that is funded, perhaps, by candidate campaign contributions. Harrell, in his Loganville/Grayson blog has said that strengthening the State Ethics Commission should be permitted "rule-making authority and subpoena powers to compel violators to answer charges; and retention of all fees collected to fund future audits, investigations, and operations."
Both Representatives stress the importance of being informed of what's important to their constituents and promise a weekly update to those who sign up to receive it via e-mail.