I got a call this week from a reader who was hoping I could shed some light on the many party questions that will be on the May 20 primary ballot.
To be honest, I hadn’t paid much attention since such questions are from local parties and they are not binding.
They do serve a purpose, or purposes, depending on the issue. One purpose is to gauge interest in a certain issue. Sometimes these questions, depending on the wording, can serve as a “push poll” for party leaders, steering voters to respond in a predetermined way or exciting the passions of the electorate.
For the most part, the questions on the May 20 ballot seem fairly straightforward.
The Republican ballot has eight local questions and the Democratic ballot has four local questions and two statewide questions.
The first Republicans question is “Should the Georgia state income tax be abolished?” They question I have is do they really expect any voters to answer “No”?
Republicans also want to know if the advance voting period should be reduced to seven days, instead of 30. I know it must be more expensive to have a longer voting period, but I don’t know if that is a good enough reason to discourage people from voting. Seems to be working now.
Should Georgia suspend implementation of Common Core education standards? Perhaps. While it seems like a laudable idea to have national baseline of universal educational standards, I think the implementation is smelling more like another bureaucratic nightmare that will hinder local innovation.
Drug testing for people on public assistance? Maybe in some cases (those with a criminal history), but I think universal tests will be just another expensive public contract for a state vendor, and ripe for abuse.
Should contractors and builders demonstrate they are compliant with E-Verify, the federal system for ensuring workers have legal status in this country? Sounds like a good idea if all other businesses have to comply. If implemented, however, be prepared for a lot of closed construction sites in Georgia.
Should nonresidents pay an extra fee to use county facilities? Is it really that big of a problem, or are we just looking for a new user fee to pad the budget?
Two Democratic questions, one statewide and one local, refer to the state’s efforts to undermine the implementation of Obamacare.
Should there be laws or executive orders preventing government agencies in assisting someone in enrolling in government mandated health insurance? Seems like a spiteful way to run a government. Until the law changes, we should abide by it.
Should the state accept additional Federal funding to expand Medicaid eligibility in Georgia? Yes, unless we want to continue heaping indigent care costs on the backs of hospitals.
There are also three local questions that seek to place final approval of bids to build a hospital in Columbia County in the hands of the voters. If it comes to spending tax money to build a hospital, voters should have a say, but there might not be anything to vote on. State regulators are in charge of this decision.
Perhaps the real vote should be on whether the state’s Certificate of Need process for such facilities needs to be completely overhauled.