The 2010 Ballot Amendments: Where I Stand

I have strong beliefs about the silliness on our 2010 ballot.  I urge you to read and consider these.

Amendment #1: – No
“Allows competitive contracts to be enforced in Georgia courts.”
 Amendment #1 is bad law.
     First, intellectual property and proprietary information in a business are governed via non-disclosure agreements. Those are not in dispute here. Non-compete agreements are the wrong place to put non-disclosure language.
     Second, there are many jobs that are “rank and file” in a company that deal with technical or proprietary information. As a software engineer, I have always had non-disclosure and non-compete agreements to sign. In fact, I am working here in metro Atlanta precisely because my non-compete agreement when I worked in Tallahassee was enforceable by stupid laws like Amendment #1. My employer there, as I found out later, regularly sued former employees (software engineers) who went to work elsewhere in Florida, and used the pressure of the suits to keep salaries and benefits low.
     Third, very few workers who would most definitely be covered under this law can afford the cost of a lawyer to defend their leaving one employer for another. What good is having a court to decide this when you can’t afford a lawyer? Or being out of a job for the 2+ years it would take a court to hear the case and decide?
     Fourth, since when is “business” pristine in motive? Just because the Chamber and NFIB are for this doesn’t make it good. Those organizations are too narrowly focused. This law only serves as a way to force employees to stay and work for lower salaries and benefits than are available on the open market.
This law is a direct conflict between business interests and the free market. I, as each of you non-retired people, sell my services for a fee. This law interferes with my freedom to do so.
     Amendment #1 is a Rockefeller Republican “gimme” to business to treat employees as indentured servants and circumvent individual freedom. Unions are highly in favor of this law. Passage of this amendment will ensure executives and high tech workers will avoid Georgia like the plague.
     If you are a business owner, I understand why you want this to pass. You should have more honor than to want to attach your best employees to another object by an inclined plane, wrapped helically around an axis.

Amendment #2 No
“Adds $10 tag fee on private passenger vehicles to fund statewide trauma care expansion.”
     We have a mechanism in place for government funding of essential functions that do not readily lend themselves to the private sector – the State Budget.
     Why not have an amendment for a 3 cents sales tax on groceries to feed the poor?
     Or a 2 cents per gallon tax on fuel to provide bicycles and raincoats for poor people so they can get to work?
     Or a 5 cents per therm tax on heating oil and natural & LP gas to pay for heating for the poor?
     Or that every Georgian is given all the food, water, housing, gas, and electricity they need to live?  

This is not what a Constitution is for.

     If the need is not sufficient to get a majority in both houses of the Legislature to fund it, then let’s not circumvent the established process. Going the amendment route is democracy, and this country and this state have never been, and I hope will never be, a democracy. We have a Constitution to protect the public from voters willing to use the tyranny of the majority to steal from others. 
Amendment #3: No
“To allow the Georgia Department of Transportation to enter into multi-year construction agreements without appropriations in the current fiscal year for the total amount of payments that would be due under the entire agreement so as to reduce long-term construction costs paid by the state.”
Amendment #4: No
“Allow the state to execute multi-year contracts for projects to improve energy efficiency and conservation.”
     For both of these amendments, this ability allows one legislature to encumber another with spending they may not want.  This will put Georgia in the position of being obligated for spending when a time comes we cannot afford it, no longer need it, or a new legislature wants to end it.  These amendments are big government at its worst. 

Amendment #5: No
“Allows owners of industrial-zoned property to choose to remove industrial designation from their property”
     If state rezoning laws do not allow property to be rezoned appropriately, then that should be addressed in the Legislature.  This is not what a Constitution is for.

Referendum A: Yes
“Provides for inventory of businesses to be exempt from state property tax”
Taxing inventory does negatively affect business, and should be stopped.  In reality, no business pays taxes.  You, the consumer, are the ones who pays any business tax.  Inventory tax, like all business taxes, are a scam to get your money and make you think someone else is paying it.


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