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Our Thoughts...The speaker's visit
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 Glenn Richardson speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives stopped by the Covington Rotary Tuesday to give an update of upcoming activities during the next term of the Georgia Assembly, which starts in January.
 Richardson informed the group there would be no increase in state taxes during the next term; he said that if economic concerns cause the state to struggle to pay its bills, state-funded programs would be cut. We agree with that measure, but any cuts need to be made across the board and affect all state-funded projects.
 It is right that the state be required to tighten its fiscal belt the same as every average citizen of Georgia is having to do.
 Richardson also said out of all Georgia students who attend college only 14 percent actually graduate. On the surface this seems disgraceful. The truth of the matter is this figure is higher than what we should expect because over the last 30 years we have pushed students and told students that in order to succeed in life you have to go to college. That philosophy is wrong and has been wrong for the past 30 years.
 There are many essential jobs in need of employees because we have not taught our students the proper skills needed to do those jobs.
 Years ago in the ‘dark ages' high schools not only had strong academic programs but equally strong technical programs. Students who were clearly not going to college learned career skills that would sustain them later in life as well as learned basic reading, writing, arithmetic and civics skills.
 When students graduated, they received either an academic or a general diploma. There was no shame because to graduate from high school with either diploma was a proud accomplishment
 The speaker believes more money should be earmarked for technical programs, and we agree.
 The speaker said House Republicans planned to introduce a constitutional amendment to stem the rising tax assessment value of real property, capping them at the rate of inflation or 3 percent.
 We applaud this action. County assessors across this state have continued to sock Georgia homeowners with increased assessed values on property to fill county coffers on property whose value has spiraled downwards during the last few years.
 We believe if this amendment was put in front of Georgia voters, it would pass by an overwhelming majority.
 Finally, even though the speaker said he had his differences with Gov. Sonny Perdue, he still praised his good management of the fiscal affairs of the state.
 That one we disagree with - Perdue, in our opinion, has not been a good manager of state resources.