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07 October 2010

Democrats Shoulder The Same Blame For SB31 As Republicans

With citizens angry at Georgia Power for requesting a $1.2 billion rate increase during these slow economic times, Senate Democratic Leader Robert Brown is seeing an opportunity to capitalize politically by blaming Republicans for the proposed hike in Georgians' electric bills.

In an op-ed sent to the media Wednesday, Senator Brown (D - Macon) said that Georgia Power "employs Republicans to force small businesses and residential customers to pay for electricity before they can use it."

The legislation (SB-31) that allows Georgia Power to charge small businesses and residential customers for electricity in advance provides exhibits A to Z of Republican core economic and political values; family values are exhibited in the Speaker suite on the right wing at Motel 6.

The rate/tax increase legislation was written by Georgia Power and carried by Republican leaders. The company hired every available bleached blonde-other colors were noticeably absent from every other lobbying firm under the gold dome. Every known and unknown legislative maneuver was employed to pass the rate/tax increase. Exempting large rate payers and leaving the burden entirely on small businesses and residential payers was the major key to passing this onerous bill. This bought off the large companies with their highly paid lobbyists, leaving small businesses and residential customers virtually unarmed against a powerful corporation.

It is not surprising that Georgia Republicans would place this unnecessary burden on small businesses and residential customers.

While I share Senator Brown's indignation at Georgia Power's proposed rate increase, I disagree with his claim that Republicans are solely to blame.

The bill referenced in the Macon Democrat's op-ed piece, Senate Bill 31, was introduced January 26, 2009. Listed among the chief co-sponsors of S.B. 31 are two high-profile Democrats: state Senator J.B. Powell, the Democratic nominee for Agriculture Commissioner; and former state Senator Ed Tarver, the Obama-appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

When S.B. 31 came to the Georgia Senate floor for a vote, Democratic Caucus Chairman Tim Golden and five other Senate Democrats voted for the legislation [SOURCE: Senate Vote #35].

In the Georgia House, Democratic Caucus Chairman Calvin Smyre, Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Nikki Randall and 21 other Democrats voted for S.B. 31 too [SOURCE: House Vote #87].

Those Georgia Power-employed "bleached blonde" lobbyists Senator Brown is decrying in his op-ed column seem to work on Democrats and Republicans alike. And the blame for Senate Bill 31 becoming law belongs to both the Democrats and Republicans who voted for the measure.