ON THE ISSUES.
I am truly committed to lowering our state income tax. We, as legislators, must find a way to reduce the costs of state income tax to become more competitive with other states in our region for jobs and to entice industries and corporations to do business in this state. I have voted in the past to cap the income tax at a 6.5% rate, and will continue to fight to keep Georgia competitive in today’s volatile job markets.
As a small business owner, I have firsthand experience with creating jobs that help to improve our local economy. Today there are many hurdles that must be jumped through for small businesses to receive licenses and permits, many of which inhibit business growth. Eliminating burdensome regulations is key to making it easier for small businesses to flourish.
On a state level, we must make the licensing and permitting process easier and reduce the valuable time spent waiting on the permits to be issued. Through legislation and partnerships with the Georgia Department of Transportation, Secretary of State’s office, and Department of Revenue, we must streamline the licensing and permitting process to help ease the burden on small business owners.
The job market is slowly improving, but there is currently a shortage of skilled workers with abilities to fill these jobs. We must teach practical skill sets in early education and throughout high school to give our children a chance to succeed outside of the typical college trajectory.
We have worked hard to implement College and Career Academies, three of which have been started in my district alone, which have been very successful in developing practical skills including computer science, welding, electrical work, and plumbing among others. These schools help instill confidence in our young people that when they graduate high school, they will have the necessary tools to get a well-paying job that will provide for their families for years to come.
Our first priority as legislators when it comes to higher education is preserving the HOPE Scholarship. The HOPE program has benefitted thousands of Georgians with good academic standing to help pay their higher education costs. A growing concern with the sustainability of the HOPE scholarship is the ever-growing cost of higher education. It would be irresponsible of us, as legislators, if we do not attempt to reign in the costs for an individual to go to college.
Student loans have now surpassed credit cards as the highest debt percentage in the United States. We are doing a disservice to our young people for requiring them to take out student loans even if they acquire the HOPE scholarship, graduating with a pile of student debt looming over their heads. This can delay their choice to purchase a home or start a family, which can have long-term effects on an already sluggish economy. Sustaining the HOPE scholarship and reducing the costs of college tuition and housing are some of my top priorities to make higher education more affordable.
Agriculture plays a large role in the Georgia economy, and will continue to be the biggest industry in Georgia. This state is the number one exporter of goods in the country, which is in part due to our agricultural system. Moving forward, I believe we must engage the next generation of farmers in continuing along this path and family tradition of Georgia being one of the largest agricultural growing states in the country. Agriculture is not only our number one industry, but also an important part of the global economy, so we must fight to protect our farmers to keep Georgia on the forefront of agricultural production and exportation.
As citizens of the United States, the right to bear arms is a foundational principle that this country was built on, and I will unwaveringly uphold that right on behalf of American citizens at all costs.
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
The state of Georgia is fortunate to have Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the greatest economic engine in the southeast, and the Port of Savannah, which is a fast-growing entity here in Georgia. The Port of Savannah is quickly becoming one of the largest shipping ports in the country. Due to entities like these, Georgia is a hub for the logistics industry, and with the increase of goods and services manufactured in this state and the massive population growth, our demands on our infrastructure will only increase in the future.
It is key for us to invest in our roads and bridges and ways to better transport goods, services, and even people from point A to point B through transit. I am a proponent of special lanes such as truck lanes or passenger lanes that are built to accommodate certain types of transit. It is important to be proactive and be careful to make the right investments into the transportation and infrastructure in Georgia.
It is important to me for people to hold themselves accountable for their personal choices, be responsible for their actions, and to always look for chances to improve your community. To quote the great Truett Cathy, “Nearly every moment of every day, we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, our resources.”
The best way to inspire other people is by others seeing how you conduct yourself with your family or in the workplace, how you treat those that agree with you, and more importantly those that do not. I always try to abide by the one simple rule: “Treat others the way you would want to be treated.” I believe that showing this example through my family life, my business practices, and the legislation I fight for in the Senate is the best way to inspire others, and I try to uphold these principles every day.