HIAWASSEE, Ga. – District 8 House Representative Matt Gurtler returned to Atlanta last week to serve his second-term as a state legislator, continuing to push for House Bill 2, also known as Constitutional Carry, an edict which would make the Georgia Weapons License (GWL) optional for law-abiding Georgia residents.
Gurtler believes that with the help of newly-elected Governor Brian Kemp, a Second Amendment proponent who has shown support for Constitutional Carry in the past, that Georgia can join the list of numerous states who have passed bills in favor of the measure.
“If you would still like to get your GWL you can still do so and have reciprocity with other states. This bill, in effect, will keep Georgians from having to pay a tax on a right that is given to them by the Second Amendment,” Gurtler explained, “On Thursday morning, I, along with Colton Moore from District 1, spoke about our continued need for support and signatures from fellow House members to help push this bill along.”
Furthermore, Gurtler plans to meet with Governor Kemp in coming weeks to discuss House Bill 4, a plan to itemize divisions within the state budget. “This bill would divide our budgeting process into 49 separate departments, making both the House and the Senate responsible for voting on each individual department in order to make any changes,” Gurtler stated.
Representative Gurtler affirms that he will continue to relay information to District 8 residents.
“I want to continue to be as accessible and transparent with (the citizens) as I possibly can. This includes access to myself, information regarding each of my votes, and an explanation of why I voted Yes or No on any particular bill,” Gurtler confirmed.
Legislative Day 5 convenes at 10:00 am, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – District 8 House Represenative Matt Gurtler traveled to the Gold Dome in Atlanta last week, voting on three separate issues during a special state session. The second-term representative rejected the amended 2019 Georgia budget, along with a tax credit bill for timber producers, while approving a tax exemption for jet fuel sales.
Concerning the budget, while Gurtler expressed that he supports affected individuals residing in the counties impacted by Hurricane Michael, the state representative explained that the manner that allocated funds were not in sync with his conservative principles, prompting Gurtler to vote against the measure.
Gurtler additionally disapproved of the amended budget due to what he considers wasteful spending.
“Out of the $270 million allocated, $40 million of those taxpayers dollars went to departments that directly interfere in the free market by subsidizing private businesses through the One Georgia Authority and REBA (Regional Economic Business Assistance), ” Gurtler explained, “This shouldn’t have been part of the discussion during the special session and these departments actually hurt Georgians and the Georgia economy. But nonetheless, subsidies and handouts always seem to find their way back on our desks.
“On top of that, we could have used our rainy day fund ($2.5 Billion) to allocate funds OR the fiscal affairs committee could have simply voted to approve these funds without calling a special session, which costs you, the taxpayers, $40,000 a day. Not only do we waste tax dollars on bureaucracy with every action, but we also waste tax dollars on the debate on how much of those tax dollars we can spend. This should not be happening and I believe would be worse if there was not a small contingency pushing back.”
Likewise, Gurtler voted against House Bill (HB) 4EX, which would provide tax credits for timber producers.
“I voted NO to this measure because this is a subsidy for a portion of the industry, for a limited area, under specific circumstances, and with a whole lot of expensive bureaucracy,” Gurtler stated, “While it was brought to us with the greatest of intentions, subsidies given to individuals and businesses are simply not the proper role of government, and they harm Georgians and the Georgia economy in the long run. For those reasons, I voted NO.”
Although Gurtler stated that while he does not believe that the jet fuel tax exemption measure is without flaw, the representative voted in favor of the bill.
“I voted YES to this measure because this fundamentally decreases the size of government through the lowering of tax thus reducing the size of government, burden, and power of government through revenue. This is not just for Delta as you would hear from the Atlanta media, but a lowering of taxes across the board for an entire industry on a specific commodity used in that industry,” Gurtler concluded.
HIAWASSEE, Ga. – A month has passed since Georgia State House Representative Matt Gurtler was reelected to serve a second term, and Gurtler says a “no nonsense, limited government, conservative message” was heard “loud and clear.”
State House District 8 – which is composed of Towns, Rabuns, Union, and White Counties – received the highest voter turnout in Georgia during the 2018 General Primary, with nearly ten thousand ballots cast. The 29-year-old contractor from Tiger, Georgia, retained his seat under the Gold Dome, earning 60 percent of the vote on May 22, 2018.
In what the Republican representative referred to as an “historic election,” Gurtler reiterated that prior to this year’s primary, it was unprecedented for a sitting governor or state speaker to actively campaign against an incumbent within their own party. Gurtler’s challenger was heavily funded, and rally-endorsed by state-level GOP leadership.
“The entrenched, big government, establishment politicians showed their true colors, and opposition to real conservatives,” Gurtler expressed, “They don’t want limited conservative conservatives at the State Capitol, and will oust dissenters who question the process and their crony capitalist agendas.”
Gurtler went on to say that by exercising independent legislative judgement, and adhering to what he considers the true principles of the Republican Party, political opposition outside of the district ensued. “There is a swamp in Atlanta too, and they are afraid of losing their power, and of anyone who says no,” Gurtler claims, “Because I stand for limited government, less taxes, fiscal responsibility, individual liberty, and free markets, I threaten the establishment.
“For the last two years, I’ve stood up to the establishment, even when it had a political cost, or public perception was counter-intuitive,” Gurtler continued, “Our no nonsense, limited government, conservative message has been heard loud and clear in this election, and I will continue to lead by example, and be the conscience of the party.”
The representative says that in the coming months, he will draft and perfect previously-introduced legislation, and continue to push forth House Bill 156, Constitutional Carry, which was initially introduced by Gurtler in early 2017. “Fifteen states have passed Constitutional Carry, and I will be working hard to ensure it passes this coming session, and with the new governor’s help, we have a real chance to have Constitutional Carry in Georgia next year,” Gurtler explained, “Constitutional Carry will make the Georgia Licence Permit optional for law-abiding citizens. We shouldn’t have to pay the government, or be treated like a criminal in order to exercise a natural right.”
Gurtler states he plans to hold a series of local town hall meetings prior to the commencement of the 2019 legislative session.
“The people simply want honest politicians, and government to get out of their lives,” Gurtler asserted, “They want people to call out the establishment, call out the corruption, the waste, and the handouts. For far too long, politicians have been counting on you to not pay attention, but as Thomas Jefferson said, ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.’ We must always be fighting, and that is the charge I will continue to take at the Capitol these next two years.”
Senate Gets Down to Business
By: Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega)
Although the Senate was in session for only two days this week, my colleagues and I were very busy under the Gold Dome addressing budget proposals and a key piece of legislation on the Senate Floor.
The week started with Joint Senate and House Appropriations hearings on the Amended FY18 and General FY19 budgets. Governor Deal kicked off the hearings which included several different agencies presenting their budget proposals. I am happy to say that the state’s budget continues to be in good shape, with the General FY19 budget topping $26 billion for the first time. The General FY19 budget proposals were drafted with an estimated 2.9 percent state fund growth and around 3.8 percent tax revenue growth over the Amended FY18 revenue estimates. Included in the General FY19 budget are increases in funding for education and transportation.
The General FY19 budget addresses the needs for the state to meet determined employer contributions within the Teachers Retirement System with a proposed increase of around $364 million. Additionally, around $120 million would be appropriated for enrollment growth and training. Along with these positive changes in the General FY19 budget, an important proposal in the Amended FY18 budget is adding $15 million to purchase 194 school buses statewide. This will positively impact our students by ensuring that buses are not overcrowded.
The state’s growing need to address transportation infrastructure is also addressed in the General FY19 budget. An additional $31.6 million in projected revenues resulting from House Bill 170 – passed during the 2015 Legislation Session – will be added to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) budget. I am very happy to see that a piece of legislation we passed a couple of years ago is still making positive impacts for GDOT.
Along with attending the budget hearings and carefully reviewing the proposals for the Amended FY18 and General FY19 budgets, my colleagues and I took up a very important piece of legislation in Senate Chamber. On Thursday, the Senate passed the Supporting and Strengthening Families Act, also known as the Adoption Bill, or HB 159. This bill passed with bipartisan support and is now headed over to the House of Representatives for their review. Final passage of this legislation and a signature into law by the Governor would allow our state to update our adoption system which has been the same for nearly 30 years.
The Senate’s version of HB 159 clarifies many of the laws regarding who can adopt, who can act as a legal guardian and the rights held by the biological parents before and after giving their child up for adoption. Additionally, the version the Senate passed on Thursday states that if an agency is not involved in a private adoptive process, living expenses cannot be paid. The only expenses that can be paid in a private adoption are medical and counseling. These are just some of the highlights of the Senate version of HB 159. As this legislation moves through the legislative process, my colleagues and I will work with the Governor and House of Representatives to ensure there is cooperation to address concerns anyone may have. It is imperative that we pass this legislation so that we can assist the large number of children who are in foster care and need a loving and stable home.
The pace of the session is going to pick up quickly with standing committees beginning to hold meetings next week to vet legislation pending from last year along with new bills introduced this year. As we move forward in the session, please do not hesitate to reach out with questions, concerns and feedback. It is always great to hear from my constituents and our door is always open.