News 12 at 11 o'clock, January 13, 2008
Augusta, GA---It's back to work for the Georgia legislature. Only on 12, we head to Atlanta for a preview of what's on the agenda. Georgia lawmakers will head to Capital Avenue Monday. Representative Quincy Murphy was in place early Sunday taking a sneak peek at the agenda. The top local issue...water. With last year's record drought talks of a statewide water plan are surfacing. Rep. Murphy says it's smooth sailing in Augusta. "We have the number 1 resource that's needed for any developing community and that's water."
But for how long? Georgia is the fastest growing state in the southeast with most of the people heading to Atlanta. Atlanta is now looking to neighboring cities to stay afloat. The biggest concern here is Plant Vogtle. 2 new reactors are intended for the area, but that's only if the water measures up. Local lawmakers want to make sure cities like Augusta aren't drained dry. "Economic development should follow the resources and not the resources following economic development," said Rep. Murphy.
The Georgia state capital building is where all the decisions are made. Monday is the first day of an up to 40 day long legislative session. "Life is like a box of chocolates...you open it up...you never know what you're gonna get...same thing with the Georgia general assembly," said Rep. Murphy.
One thing is certain...the boxed-in Medical College of Georgia needs to expand, and with the state's growing population medical care is also an issue. Augusta lawmakers are hoping to find a way to pay for the college's expansion, and a way to keep Augusta on the radar for future expansion. "There are a lot of eyes and a lot of minds set on Georgia...so because of that we've got to be prepared to meet the medical needs of our community," said Murphy.
There is also a proposal to increase the state sales tax in exchange for eliminating certain property taxes. Rep. Murphy says, "To see a significant increase in sales tax very well could encourage our citizens to travel to South Carolina to make purchases, and that would have a negative impact on a lot of our merchants."
This year promises to be a busy session, but...Rep. Murphy says he's ready. "With each opportunity to serve the people of Augusta-Richmond County and the state of Georgia... it's an exciting thing."