On Dec. 9, state Sen. Jim Whitehead sat in on a work session of the Elbert County Board of Education along with state Sen. Ralph Hudgens and state Rep. Tom McCall. All three represent Elbert County in the Georgia General Assembly.
The legislators were invited to the session so the Elbert County Board of Education could tell the legislators, face-to-face, that continued funding reductions from the state would put pressure on the board to raise county property taxes. Over the past three years, the state has reduced the Elbert County school systems' funding for education by more than $2 million.
Discussion at that work session included some talk of a state-wide sales tax for schools to replace property taxes, which, in the opinion of some, is a regressive tax that punishes the poor. When told that the regressive tax opinion was supported by a study at the University of Georgia, Sen. Whitehead said...."Well, that's a bunch of liberals out there," and added that if the university didn't have a football team, he would just as soon do away with the university altogether.
Elberton Star reporter R. Ben Harrison covered that meeting. For the newspaper's daily fax service, Ben's story on the work session included Whitehead's comment in the very last paragraph of that story. In that week's edition of the Elberton Star (Dec. 15), Ben's work session story included -- in the 14th paragraph -- Sen. Whitehead's comment. That story ran on Page 2.
According to Publisher Barry L. Paschal's Columbia County News-Times column, re-printed in the Dec. 23 edition of the Athens Banner-Herald, our "little weekly" newspaper got "all vapory" over Whitehead's comments.
I felt compelled to let readers know what Paschal considers "all vapory."
The Elberton Star
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