Dear Editor: Georgia Senator John Douglas, who represents our district, is one of the co-sponsors of SB 67 — also known by many as "Kia Go Home." Unfortunately the ramifications of this legislation have not been well thought out.
Kia has already located in Georgia, but no doubt many of those who would be impacted by this legislation will cross over and choose Alabama. So will businesses that grow from the economic surge. Western Georgia will not be the only area of the state impacted by this legislation.
We live in a multi-cultured world. Atlanta is an international city. Covington and Newton County need business and manufacturing entities to increase our tax base and grow our shopping, recreational and job opportunities. We need well paying jobs with good benefits. Something international companies tend to provide. Newton County needed these things before this economic turn down; now the need is much greater.
Requiring all drivers read and write English is bad for business. Bad for the economy. And very short sighted. Other than street names, there is very little reading required when driving. Even street names are not exclusively English.
Safety is not the reason behind this legislation. People all over the world drive — they just need to know the Rules of the Road. Look at Canada.
Licensed drivers shop, visit entertainment venues and restaurants. Drivers add revenue to our economy. Assuming these drivers purchase vehicles, that would add to the revenue stream of sales tax, car dealerships, mechanics and related industries. And they would be required to have vehicle insurance, adding to the revenue stream and income of insurance agents and their companies.
Newton County property values have plummeted with so many homes on the market following foreclosure. These homes need to be sold and occupied to revitalize neighborhoods and stimulate revenue streams. This bill chases away those who might buy or rent homes.
Business and industry, particularly international companies — are frequently providers of good benefit packages and, therefore, entities we should want to locate in our district.
International company managers, engineers and technical people frequently bring their families when transferred. Why would they want to relocate to a place where their spouses would be stuck at home 24/7. Remember, we have no public transportation.
This legislation puts a giant sign on Georgia telling international investors and others to stay away. It is a huge embarrassment for the state of Georgia and will have long lasting adverse consequences for our district.