Thursday, September 18, 2008

PRESS RELEASE - John Oxendine Calls For Extraordinary Georgia Leadership Summit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:      FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: September 18, 2008                    Kathryn Ballou,  (404) 558-4905

      Georgia Cries Out For Help
Oxendine Calls for Extraordinary Georgia Leadership Summit   

A statement from Commissioner John Oxendine:

School Test Scores Fall, Gas Prices Highest in Nation, Gas Gouging, Unemployment at Historic High, and another Scandal at GDOT - the time for action is now.  

Georgians are calling out for help - it is time our state government listened to them.  Governor Perdue is doing a good job, but he cannot do it all by himself.  

There is nothing more important than helping working class Georgians through this time of multiple crises facing Georgia.  Georgia faces a perfect storm:  

26 August - Georgia SAT scores fall for the second consecutive year; Georgia is now 47th in nation.  

13 September - Media reports declare Georgia has the highest gas prices in the nation.  Multiple reports in Georgia of prices of $4.79 a gallon or higher. In Smithville, Georgia, the price of regular unleaded at the city's on ly two stations rose a full dollar above the price posted in one night. The town, which is located on U.S. Highway 1920 North on the Lee County/Sumter County line, could fill up for $3.77 per gallon on Friday, but Saturday morning, the price had changed to $4.77.  

17 September - Georgia's unemployment rate reaches a 15 year high. The Georgia Department of Labor reported Wednesday that the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 6.3 percent in August. The jobless rate was up 1.9 percentage points from 4.4 percent at this same time last year. During the same period, the number of payroll jobs decreased 37,700 or nine-tenths of one percentage point.  

18 September - Problems at GDOT continue to harm Georgia taxpayers, yet another audit finds misuse and abuse of tax dollars. An audit conducted by the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts reveals that GDOT overspent its 2008 budget by about $456 million. The 2008 fiscal year ended July 31st. GDOT will have to take that amount of money from the current fiscal year, 2009, in order to balance its budget.

I call on Governor Perdue to convene an Extraordinary Georgia Leadership Summit of all the statewide Constitutional officers, the leadership of the Georgia General Assembly, the leadership of the Georgia Association of County Commissioners, the leadership of the Georgia Municipal Association, and representatives from the Georgia business community the Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.  

Let's meet for as long as it takes - at our personal expense, not the taxpayer's expense - and focus on these issues in a non-partisan, united way.

Georgia faces unprecedented, multiple crises - we must go beyond traditional efforts at leadership and think creatively, outside the box, and we must all work together.  

Now is the time.  Georgians are calling on their state government by the thousands, and we must listen and lead.  I offer Governor Perdue my support and ask him to take innovative action to unite all of us to help Georgia during these crises.

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