ERICKSON: Easy choices made tough

June 20, 2014 

My wife and I howled with laughter reading The Telegraph the other day. It was gallows humor laughter. After all the work to consolidate Macon and Bibb County, we have come to these choices and made easy ones tough.

Before we get to the punch line, everyone should say prayers of thanks on behalf of state Rep. Allen Peake and state Sen. Cecil Staton who both insisted that consolidation save us money. Thank state Reps. Nikki Randall, James Beverly and former state Sen. Miriam Paris for standing up and pushing it through. Thank Calder Pinkston for coming up with the idea.

It has restrained our county commission, which would no doubt otherwise make the easy choice of raising taxes to pay for all their pet projects, wants and desires. So now we arrive at the punch line. Reading The Telegraph the other day, my wife ran across this paragraph:

“Mayor Robert Reichert’s initial budget (proposed) eliminating funding for several local groups such as the Tubman African American Museum and the Museum of Arts and Sciences, but those cuts were restored by the Operations & Finance Committee at the price of eliminating funding to The Medical Center of Central Georgia for indigent care, cutting some funding to Macon Transit Authority and its Paratransit service and not filling several open jobs.”

It should be an easy choice for government to fund indigent care, public transit for the poor and paratransit services. But our illustrious commissioners would rather fund museums than take care of the poor. There are, believe it or not, enough rich people in Bibb County to write checks for both museums. They just don’t bother because they know the county commission will take all our tax dollars instead.

Mayor Reichert did the right thing. Our state Legislature structured our consolidation to keep the county commission from immediately jacking up taxes. Unfortunately, they could not restrain our commissioners from choosing insanity over sanity and making easy choices tough.

Now, switching gears entirely, some in the area must deal with a congressional runoff. Mike Collins and Jody Hice are running in the 10th Congressional District. The 10th District covers Milledgeville and Baldwin County, Putnam County, Washington County, Butts, Jasper and other parts to the northeast of Macon.

I spoke this past weekend at a fundraiser for Hice. I am supporting Jody and, luckily, the largest part of population in his district lies within my listening audience’s reach in Atlanta. I am happy to encourage people to support him.

Look no further than the present leadership contest of House Republicans in Washington, D.C., to find out why. Rep. Eric Cantor, the Republican leader in the House, got beaten by a man who spent less on his entire campaign than Eric Cantor spent on steak house meals from his campaign budget. House Republicans, within 24 hours, decided to pretend the results were an anomaly. They have now rallied to an even more liberal member of Congress to take Cantor’s position in leadership.

Republicans need someone who will tell their own leadership “no.” Republicans excel at telling President Barack Obama “no,” but never want to hold themselves accountable. Cantor, on Election Day, was in Washington meeting with lobbyists. Conservatives are struggling to rein in the crony capitalist impulses of the GOP right now.

Between Hice and Collins, I have a hard time believing Collins, the son of a former congressman, who name drops his Washington connections on the campaign trail, will tell Republican leaders “no” to much of anything. Jody Hice will tell them “no” and I am proud to support him.

Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.

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