My colleagues and I worked well into the night to make sure every piece of legislation was given the appropriate amount of attention.
I would like to commend my fellow legislators, as well as the members of my committees, for the hard work that went into this session. As with any session, this one was filled with hard decisions and great victories for the citizens of Georgia.
Because measures have to pass in both the Senate and the House in exactly the same form, it is too early to know the status of every measure we took up. Over the next few weeks, I will use this newsletter to detail the highlights of new laws and changes to existing laws that were passed during this session. From Immigration Reform to changes to the HOPE scholarship program, many important things happened that will affect you in some way.
For the past few months, I have talked extensively about the work of the Joint Committee on Tax Reform. As you may know, we created a vehicle to generate innovative tax reform for our state by appointing a group of independent minds and experts from across the state to study the details of Georgia's antiquated tax system with a fine tooth comb.
After months of research and round table discussions across the state, they came to the legislature with ideas, changes, and solutions that they felt would bring a new era of tax reform to Georgia.
Over the past 4 months, the legislature has looked into the findings of this unique council and we meticulously crafted draft after draft of legislation based on their recommendations. My Co-Chair, Representative Mickey Channell, showed himself as both a gentleman and statesman through the entire process.
Working alongside someone week after week, weekend after weekend, reveals the true character of a person.
In the end, we were equally eager to pass a beneficial, historic reform to Georgia's tax code, but we were never confident that we had all the best information on the affects that would be felt by each Georgian.
Unfortunately, we ran out of time in this legislative session to get responsible tax reform accomplished. We were not satisfied with the whole product and felt it better to wait, revisit each issue, and return with a stronger bill next session than to hurriedly pass a piece of legislation that is not the best of our efforts.
As legislators we work to minimize the negative impacts of our changes to any Georgian. In each decision we make we must be 100% confident that the result will be a better Georgia. With this in mind we will return to the drawing board and continue to work until we get this right. We are all eager to see a change in our tax system that will bring about a fairer, flatter tax system.
We are all eager to put money back into the pockets of hard-working Georgians and to create an environment for our economy and communities to grow. Until we are confident that we have reached such a solution, we cannot and will not rush a piece of legislation through the General Assembly.
I am disappointed that we did not reach a resolution this session, but I remain devoted toward finding a solution - soon. We will continue to work as a team to discuss and rebuild a tax reform system for Georgians.
I would like to thank my staff, both in my office and my committee, for their dedication to the vital issues and long hours that help to create a better Georgia. I am thankful for their support of me, as well as their apparent desire to make a difference in the lives of Georgians. With their support, we worked tireless hours to make sure that each and every issue was studied, dissected, shaped, and communicated to the people of Georgia and you, the citizens of the 31st district.
I continue to solicit your input and ideas on this important issue.
I am thankful for my wife, Susan. She is indeed the finest supporter I could have ever asked for. She spent countless days at the State Capitol simply being there for me during a long and strenuous session. It is true that behind every good man is an even greater woman and I am thankful that she stands beside me.
Lastly, I would like to thank you, my constituents, for your input, your criticisms, your support, and your prayers. I am humbled to serve you and driven by your trust in me to help make Georgia a better place.
We will return to the State Capitol in August to undergo a special session that deals with Reapportionment and Redistricting. These historical sessions are generally only held once every 10 years and are responsible for creating state and congressional district lines according to parameters resulting from the United States Census.
As always, please don't hesitate to reach out to me with question, concerns, or legislative ideas. Just because we heard the last gavel at midnight on Thursday, April 14, does not mean that my work as your Senator is done.