• Matt Gurtler

Week 8: Crossover

Things have gotten extremely busy at the Capitol! This week was “Crossover”, so basically if you really want to get a bill passed this session, this was your week to do it. I dropped a new bill, HB 1009, entitled “The Taxpayer Bill of Rights Modernization Act”. HB 1009 allows for more transparency and accountability when it comes to property taxes and local budgets. It also gives more protection to property owners. I’m excited about this piece of legislation! I have been getting lots of correspondence from the district calling for action after the recent tragic events in Florida. Steeming from those concerns I have written a House Resolution that simply encourages our local school districts to utilize current law, authorized in HB 60, to protect our children. HB 60 was passed in 2014 and gives local school boards the authority to vote to allow staff and teachers who would like, to arm themselves. Like you, I feel our local schools should decide what's best for our children's safety and they should begin taking those steps. Last year we also passed campus carry to allow students the right to protect themselves. Along with that, $8 million was allocated into the 2019 budget to equip local schools with metal detectors this year. Over the last 40 years, firearms per capita have fallen, while school shootings have risen. That is why I say we have a cultural and societal problem; it’s a heart problem, not a gun problem. Leading by example by instilling good values into our children and teaching them that all life is precious in the first place. Because it really starts with the individual, if we want to change things for the better. As Ronald Reagan once said; “It’s a nasty truth, but those who seek to inflict harm are not fazed by gun control laws”. Only a good guy with a guy will stop an individual who wishes to harm others. Metal detectors might help, but what will really help, in addition to the cultural and societal aspect is making sure that our schools aren’t gun free zones. We should call them what they really are, criminal safe zones. The fact is that it’s no coincidence that the vast majority of mass shootings happen in places where guns aren’t allowed. Crossover day was crazy and intense. The house was in session until 1:15 am. However, lots of good work was done, and a lot of controversial bills came to the floor and were debated and voted on. I can ensure you that I stuck to my principles the whole way through, protecting life, liberty, and property.

HB 918 which I mentioned in last weeks column was sent back over to the House with a Senate substitution. HB 918 reduces the income tax rate for individuals and businesses from 6 percent to 5.75 percent in 2019, and from 5.75 to 5.5 perfect in 2020 and also included was an industry-wide tax exemption for jet fuel. In recent years this sales tax exemption was solely for Delta, which was something I did not support. However, the Senate substitute took out all the jet fuel sales tax exemptions. This decision arose from Delta's decision to stop giving NRA members their discounts. Regardless of my position on guns, which is very clear, I don’t think we should be interfering in the free market. The only long-term solution is to fix the broken tax policy we have is to implement a single consumption-based tax across the board, for all Georgians Lastly, I have been receiving a lot of opportunities to share our values and principles through panels, speeches & interviews. Most recently we have gained a lot of national attention with offers from YAL - Young Americans of Liberty! Last year you may remember I was a panelist at their national convention in Washington D.C. This year YAL wants me back to speak at several summits across the country and at their national convention again! I’m highly excited, to say the least, to be able to share our values and principles to tens of thousands! My next panel will take place March 24, 2018, in Charlotte, NC. I have also been invited to speak in Cleveland, Ohio, and Northern California. All great ways to grow our movement and especially get the younger generation involved. More info to come in the following months! As always thank you for all your support it is truly an honor to serve.

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