Daylight Savings Time began last night (or this morning, depending on your point of view). Which is good, because lately I've gotten ahead of myself.
Last Sunday, for example, I pointed out that Republican state Sen. Nancy Schaefer was thinking about getting into the race for the 10th District U.S. congressional seat.
Two days later she says she's going to run.
It makes the field more crowded, of course. Incumbent Paul Broun already was facing a primary challenge from state Rep. Barry Fleming of Harlem, while Democrat Bobby Saxon is waiting in the wings.
It makes the race more complicated, too.
Schaefer is a fundamentalist Christian activist. For example, she blames illegal immigration on abortion, which she says has deprived the country of laborers. Broun has done well with the Christian Right, so he and Schaeffer could split those votes.
But Schaeffer, who lives at the upper end of the district, also could take away votes from Broun's hometown of Athens. In fact, in one of her first comments, she signaled that she doesn't plan to get any votes down here.
"We feel it's a good opportunity for me to represent north Georgia," Schaefer told the Atlanta paper's Insider column. "Most north Georgians want change right now. They'd like it to be a north Georgia seat - not a seat from Augusta."
Expect her to be force-fed that quote if she campaigns anywhere south of Wilkes County.
GREAT still dead
I also got ahead of myself Wednesday in predicting the death of Georgia House Speaker Glenn Richardson's GREAT tax plan. Between the time we put the paper to bed and when we fired up the presses, Richardson had already abandoned the plan in favor of a scheme to tax abortions.
Just kidding. That was Schaefer's idea.
OK, OK. Seriously, Richardson's fallback plan - cobbled from other lawmakers' legislation - would have phased out the tax on cars and capped tax reassessments on homes. It also would have added a $10 tax on all vehicles to pay for statewide trauma care.
The bill might have passed if Richardson had stopped there. Instead, he added a sneaky provision letting the Legislature change the state's tax structure in the future - like, say, allowing it to grab control of local revenues - without a super-majority vote or a public referendum.
Thus, even with the enthusiastic support of our local lawmakers, the vote failed Wednesday.
It sure would be nice if someone else in the Legislature would work on real tax reform, and the now-tainted Richardson would just get out of the way.
Not so 'perfect'
I also predicted that once Richardson's plan died, lawmakers would back away from it while praising the speaker for "courage" in proposing tax reform.
Well, that didn't take long.
Just hours before the vote to kill GREAT, State Rep. Ben Harbin, of Evans, sent out an essay hailing Richardson's new and improved plan as "the perfect example of what can happen when politicians lay politics aside and work on what's best for the people of Georgia."
Yeah. Right. Perfect.
Harbin also pointed out that, whatever anyone thinks of Richardson's plan, the issue would have gone before voters for approval anyway.
"When it comes to important decisions like this one," Harbin writes, "all people should be heard - one vote at a time."
Sure, but why stop there? Afraid of stirring up Christian conservatives, the same lawmakers this session have bottled up (pardon the pun) legislation that would allow voters to decide whether to allow package sales of alcohol on Sundays.
Apparently, voters can be trusted to offer guidance on taxes, but not on drinking.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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