January 20, 2013

Letter: Hospital bed tax: punting the Band-Aid

Our state leadership has decided to forego tackling the troublesome hospital bed tax problem by punting it to a state agency. But our elected leaders, charged with managing our state budget, are shirking their primary responsibility by giving an appointed board taxing authority for the next five years. When the Department of Transportation funding issue comes up again will the DOT board be given taxing authority to pay the tab?

Our state leadership is saying that if the $240 million a year bed tax is not continued then up to 15 hospitals will close due to the resulting Medicaid funding gap. But since this supposed temporary tax was implemented two years ago, this same leadership has increased general fund spending by $2 billion. Why did they not consider the upcoming Medicaid squeeze and provide for it with some of those monies? This would have spread the obligation to all Georgians rather than continuing to unfairly burden small businesses that lack the negotiating clout of large businesses. Media reports may say that hospitals pay this tax, but they do not. Paying patients fund this tax either directly or through insurance premiums.   

Georgia’s recovery continues to lag the nation’s because of decisions like this which penalize small businesses, our primary job generators. It is instructive that Louisiana’s governor has proposed eliminating their state income tax to improve their economic performance ... and this in a state with an income tax already lower than ours and boasting an unemployment rate of 5.8 percent vs. 7.8 percent nationally. Meanwhile, Georgia’s November 2012 unemployment rate of 8.5 percent inched up to 8.6 percent in December 2012.

Now is the time for comprehensive tax reform, not political gimmicks. Georgians deserve better.

David Pennington

Mayor, city of Dalton

Text Only
  • Move carefully, but soon

    No one intended for it to happen. No one had any bad motives.
    But during a period of 40 years or more, quite a few people didn’t do enough planning, didn’t have enough foresight to see what all of the development in Dalton would do.

    July 27, 2014

  • Local school systems must bear costs of federal immigration failure

    No word. No warning. Little help.
    That’s what Dalton Public Schools officials received from the federal government when it dropped 30 Central American students into local classrooms last school year.

    July 26, 2014

  • Sacrifices worth honoring

    Members of the Dalton City Council were recently approached by representatives of the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart with a request to declare Dalton a Purple Heart City. Council members indicated they will approve the request.

    July 24, 2014

  • We must do better

    The numbers tell a sad tale.
    Registered voters: 36,843.
    Cards cast: 5,307.
    That means the turnout for Tuesday’s runoffs in Whitfield County was a measly 14.4 percent, according to unofficial results from the Whitfield County elections office.

    July 23, 2014

  • Letter: Control immigration

    Thousands are starting to pour into our country, and things are getting personal. Why would we end up the bad guys if we turn away children who aren’t ours? How does it make us better people to let one man steal from our children and stand by and do nothing?

    July 23, 2014

  • Helping with Book Blast betters the community

    The school test results are in, and students in Whitfield and Murray counties mostly improved from a year ago, mirroring or exceeding average scores of their peers.

    July 23, 2014

  • Mark Millican: Guns are already everywhere

    Though it happened over 30 years ago, the image is still vivid.

    July 22, 2014

  • Charles Oliver: Former officer works overtime improperly

    Stephen F. Hall has pleaded guilty to theft by deception and falsifying a government record.

    July 22, 2014

  • Dalton council should seek answers

    Judicial elections in this area are usually pretty staid. In fact, they are generally nonexistent, since most judges run unopposed.

    July 21, 2014

  • Letter: Something to think about

    It has been better than four months now since Malaysia Flight 370 went missing. During that time we have heard all kinds of speculation, conjecture and opinions as to what happened to it. The only certainties to emerge are that the Malaysians fumbled the ball early on and there are some understandably distressed loved ones left to deal with their losses.

    July 21, 2014