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05 September 2008

GA V.A. Honors Our Vets With An Eviction Notice

Last week, Georgia's children faced the budgetary chopping block as the Dept. of Community Health (DCH) announced they were proposing a $91 million cut to the popular PeachCare for Kids health care program. Ultimately, the DCH backed off from their proposal, but the idea of cutting tens of millions of dollars from kids' health care had folks like me questioning the priorities of this state government led by Gov. Perdue and the Republicans.

Now, just a short week later, we learn that 81 veterans living at the Georgia War Veterans Home in Milledgeville have been told that they have until November 30th to find a place to stay or else they'll be homeless.

Why?

Because the Georgia Dept. of Veterans Affairs is cutting almost $3 million from its budget by closing the Millegdeville veterans home.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Len Glass, assistant commissioner for the state V.A., said, "Those 81 veterans represent .0001 percent of the total [Georgia] veteran population." [Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Veterans must find new place to live", September 4, 2008]

With all due respect to Assistant Commissioner Glass, veterans are not statistics.

I'm not sure how one justifies making that comment; the 81 vets we're kicking out represeent only .0001% of the state's total veteran population. What does that have to do with anything? They still served our country. I mean one has to wonder if the vets down in Milledgeville represented .0025 of Georgia's veteran population, would they still have a home?

State Senator Robert Brown, the Democratic leader in the Georgia Senate, rightly expressed disappointment after learning of the Georgia War Veterans Home closure.

"The sound of Republican patriotic rhetoric praising our veterans rings hollow in Georgia," Brown said in a written statement. "Georgia Republicans add insult to injury by ordering some of our most vulnerable veterans to celebrate Veteran’s Day this November [11] by packing their bags and joining the homeless…. It’s shameful for Georgia to cast aside veterans, especially at [a] time the United States is at war." [Source: Ibid]

As I asked last week, with millions of dollars in tax breaks that can be rolled back; with millions of dollars in pork projects that can be cut, why is the state of Georgia A.) even considering cuts in kids' health care; and B.) throwing Georgia's veterans out on the street?

That says something about the priorities of the Georgia Republican leadership.