Week Two: Spotlight on the Budget
Updated: Mar 5, 2019
As week two has come and gone at the Capitol, there's one very important thing on my mind; money.
After Monday’s holiday, Tuesday through Thursday consisted of the 2019 Fiscal Year joint budget hearings.
The budget is something very important to me as a conservative member of the House. I believe every dollar spent must be carefully considered as it is directly affecting taxpayers. As our State grows and changes, the desire to expand the budget continues to grow as well, however, this should not be the case. If we do not stick to a budget, what is the point in having it?
This year’s budget is a record $27.5 billion, while our amended budget comes in at roughly $240 million. This constant increase can only become troublesome for our State in the long run and instead of expanding our budget, we should be constantly looking for ways to be responsible in regards to spending taxpayer dollars.
This is where I believe HB 4, the Spotlight Bill, I introduced would play a major role. By breaking the budget into 49 separate departments, we'd change the way the House and Senate go about voting. This would eliminate the all or nothing voting process in which Georgia currently operates. No longer would major changes be made without careful consideration.
Passing HB 4 would be just another step in making our State more conservative and making sure our tax dollars are being used as effectively and efficiently as possible.
As I’ve mentioned before, it is important to me that I remain as transparent as possible. This includes transparency with my voting behaviors and making sure I give an explanation as to why I vote the way I do.
The election for Speaker of the House occurred last week and I, along with very few of my colleagues, voted against Rep. Ralston for another term as Speaker of the House. This is an important position that holds a lot of power and unfortunately, this power is not always used as it should be.
The Speakers role is that of a facilitator - to ensure the legislative process is respected. While I understand the power dynamic that is politics, to say we need to raise our standards would be an understatement. If one individual controls the entire process, does that not undo the framework our government was founded upon? A representative government with limited, delegated powers, derived from the people. This applies within the legislative bodies and between the legislative bodies (separation of powers).
The Speakers role is not to intimidate or take retribution upon legislators for representing and voting their district, their conscience, and their principles. How can a duly elected representative represent their constituents if their ideas cannot be heard, voted on, and debated?
Simply voting against the status quo, or even questioning the status quo warrants the wrath of the establishment, something we’ve experienced firsthand here in Georgia.
As always, my votes are based on principle, merit, and policy, and I simply can not approve of this type of dictatorial rule. I’ve seen it and experienced it firsthand. This isn’t surprising, it’s the reality and product of big government, and it’s a big reason why people hate politics. For those reasons, we must take a stand, and that’s is why I voted against Rep. Ralston as I enter my second term, even though I gave him the benefit of the doubt the first time.
Last week I also had the pleasure of meeting with the Young Republicans of Northeast Georgia in White County, and conversing with some of the bright young men and women in and around our district.
One great aspect of my position allows me the opportunity to speak to, and engage with, so many young adults who aspire to enter the world of politics one day. It is important that we continue to encourage these students. Many of them are graduating college students who may soon run for seats in our state government.
Giving them the knowledge to know the system and understand the challenges we face is always a pleasure to share. Each week will become busier than the last, and in the coming weeks, we will begin voting on bills.
Please be on the lookout for me to post my voting record on my website www.mattgurtler.com. Feel free to contact me with anything you may need.
As always, it is an honor to serve,