State Rep. Ben Harbin's point is simple: In economic development terms, regionalism is the best approach if everyone in the region is considered equal.
"They need us just as much as we need them," he said during Thursday morning's Post Legislative Breakfast hosted by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce. "We don't need to forget that."
Talks of creating an in-house economic development arm in Richmond County - and consequently cutting the Metro Augusta Chamber of Commerce out - have left some officials wondering what Columbia County should do.
"If they make a move to pull away and we go chasing after them, we only demean ourselves," Harbin said. "We don't have to play second fiddle to anyone."
By creating an economic development entity funded by tax dollars, Richmond County is essentially hampering regionalism, Harbin said. After all, what will those taxpayers think about their tax dollars being spent on recruiting industry for Columbia County?
"I don't think those citizens will stand for that," he said.
Also Thursday morning, legislators reflected on the 2002 General Assembly - a session dominated by politics.
State Sen. Joey Brush said too much time was wasted waiting on federal approval of the state's redrawn maps. That meant a lot of time was spent in session and not a lot was accomplished.
"Usually we're a little more subtle about it," he quipped.
State Sen. Don Cheeks expressed his displeasure with the redrawn maps.
"I don't want to say it stinks, but it doesn't pass the smell test," he said.
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