The state Capitol may be about to see its first piece of Trump-era legislation – a bill that advocates say could raise as much as $100 million annually by slapping a tax on the cash that foreigners, including illegal immigrants, send home.
David North of the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative, low-immigration think-tank, points to legislation that has not yet been filed, but already has a sponsor: State Rep. Jeff Jones, R-Brunswick. From the CIS website:
The bill would bring to Georgia a system that has worked well in Oklahoma for years. It would place a 2 percent fee on all personal (not corporate) wire transfers of money sent out of state. The 2 percent would be returned to the payers when they filed their income tax returns, either as a credit toward their tax or a refund if the sender's income is low enough….
My advice to Rep. Jones would be to modify his fee structure. Currently the bill calls for a 2 percent fee plus $10; this would cost, for a $200 check $14, or 7 percent; for $1,000 it would cost $30, or 3 percent. Tilting the formula against the little guy is, sadly, one of the things we do these days, and this could be a source of opposition. On the other hand, there has to be a minimum fee to cover the cost of the paperwork.
President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Breitbart publisher Steve Bannon as a senior counselor has prompted protests from the Anti-Defamation League, which notes his publication’s support for white nationalist causes. But other Jewish groups have remained silent. From the Washington Post:
The differing responses to the Trump presidency have highlighted tensions among Jewish Americans, who find themselves faced with what is perhaps a no-win decision. On the one hand, they fear that if Jews complain too shrilly now, they could be shut out of the decision-making process in the White House for four years. On the other, they fear assenting quietly as the terrifying anti-Semitism of the alt-right bubbles up from the depths of the Internet all the way into the highest seat of power.
Then there’s a local voice speaking loudly on the same topic. From Politico.com:
“I know what the alt-right is all about,” said Deborah Lipstadt, a Jewish historian based at Emory University who was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton. “It’s a bastion of white supremacists, white nationalists, anti-Semitic, racist, Islamophobic expression, and that a man who has been so closely connected with the alt-right, who has helped propel it into the mainstream, should have the ear of the president, I’m flabbergasted. I’m almost at a loss for words. So far, I find that the most depressing of almost anything I’ve heard thus far.”
The interesting report that flowed from the White House pool reporter at Trump Towers late Monday:
A transition official came down to the lobby and spoke to us on background about reports that Mr. Trump's transition team has asked the White House to look into getting his adult children security clearances.
He said the President-elect did not request that this step be taken and the Trump children have not started filling out paperwork for such clearances.
Lastly, he said "that's not something I'm expecting right now."
State House Republicans had their internal elections on Monday with only one contested spot: Sam Teasley of Marietta held off a challenge from Mandi Ballinger of Canton for vice-chair of the majority caucus by a mere five votes, we're told. (The margins were not made public.)
Teasley, a Marietta real estate agent, promised openness and transparency if he elected to serve another two-year term. "The theme I kept hearing throughout the meeting today was unity and being committed to serving each other," he said. "And we are united."
House Republicans also named Christian Coomer of Cartersville as the new majority whip, replacing Matt Ramsey of Peachtree City, who did not seek re-election.
Others re-elected to their posts: Jon Burns of Newington as majority leader; Matt Hatchett of Dublin as caucus chairman; Bruce Williamson of Monroe as caucus secretary and treasurer.
For you close observers, yes, that is an all-male cast, offset only by Speaker pro tem Jan Jones of Johns Creek, who is expected to have an easy re-election when the entire House gathers in January.
We're picking up word that House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams of Atlanta will face a challenge to her leadership role at the party's caucus meeting on Tuesday.
State Rep. Winfred Dukes of Albany, is said to be weighing a challenge to Abrams. It would be the first significant challenge to her spot as the House's top Democrat since her election to the role in 2010.
Abrams is likely to point to the six Democratic seats the caucus has netted since she took the job, expanding the party's take from 56 seats to 62. This cycle, Democrats flipped two GOP-held seats but lost one held by a Democrat and another held by an independent.
Dukes, we're told, will make the case that a half-dozen or so target districts were left on the table, including one belonging to Tom Taylor, R-Dunwoody, who had a tougher-than-expected primary after his arrest on a DUI charge.
Add another potential candidate for Georgia governor to the growing list. Bruce LeVell, a Dunwoody jeweler who was Donald Trump's go-to defender in Georgia, is weighing a run for the state's top job.
"It's going to be exciting to prove to America what I've been saying for over a year - Trump is a true unifier," said LeVell.
LeVell headed Trump's National Diversity Coalition and would be one of several potential candidates for governor, including state Sen. Michael Williams and former Rep. Jack Kingston, with potential claims on Trump's endorsement. On Monday, we told you that Atlanta attorney Joe Whitley, a former federal prosecutor, was also considering jumping into the race.
The Democratic Party of Georgia found a couple of silver linings in last week's election defeat. From a note party chair DuBose Porter sent to supporters late Monday:
Every single county where the DPG opened a field office went blue this year. That's no small fete, and speaks to the power of local grassroots activists actively working for the change they sought in their communities.
Along with sending most of our Democratic incumbents back to the state legislature, we picked up some seats as well. Take the time to get to know Georgia's newest Democratic state senator, Tonya Anderson, and state house representatives-elect Sam Park and Bill McGowan. There's still more news to come. Once the Secretary of State certifies the elections and shares the data file with us, we'll have a full accounting of the gains we made this year.
Here's what we do know: Since early Wednesday morning, there has been an outpouring of support from Democrats across the state who refuse to sit on the sidelines any longer and wish to become more active within our Party. We welcome this surge of enthusiasm with open arms and look forward to matching each individual's talent to the multitude of tasks ahead. If the results of last week's elections prove anything, it is that the Democratic Party is the true big tent party. We've built a broad, ever-expanding coalition of Georgians where every single person has a seat at the table.
On the flip side, this has since been removed but the Newton County Democratic Party found little to cheer about Donald Trump's win:
Donald Trump's White House ascent has many Republicans on Capitol Hill more optimistic about pet issues that have floundered under Barack Obama's tenure.
Sen. Johnny Isakson says his relationship with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a close ally of president-elect Donald Trump, will help him push through Washington a major overhaul of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
“I know Speaker Gingrich has been involved a lot with me in the last couple of years working on it, and now that he's a close friend of [Trump’s] I'm sure he'll help us out,” Isakson said at a Veterans Day event in Cobb County.
Isakson's Senate bill has also faced hurdles in the House, which is pursuing its own course of action. Jeff Miller, Isakson's House counterpart who has criticized the Georgian's approach, is reportedly on Trump's short list for VA secretary.