Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tom Baxter

TOM BAXTER is editor of the Southern Political Report and senior vice-president of its parent company, InsiderAdvantage, a media and polling firm. Over more than 40 years, he has worked for newspapers in Montgomery, Ala., Columbia, Md., Charleston, S.C. and Atlanta, Ga. At the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he was a reporter, editor of the Sunday Perspective section, national editor, and for 20 years, chief political correspondent.

Editor's note: Hello, Georgia! You've likely heard by now that the Georgia Assembly is planning on splitting the current session. Georgia Online News Service (GONSO) political editor Tom Baxter explains some of the issues behind the split session in today's lead story.

Meanwhile, GONSO reporter Maggie Lee looks at a bill that would grant immunity from lawsuits to Big Pharmaceutical companies whose drugs are approved by the Food and Drug Administration but later turn out to have harmful and lethal side effects.

And, for today's Soapbox, Alan Essig and Sarah Beth Gehl of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute have a suggestion for legislators during the budget crisis: Stop giving sweet tax breaks to special interest groups.

As always, we'd like to hear from you. Send your comments and any story ideas to executive editor John Sugg at john.sugg@georgiaonlinenews.org. You can also call us at 800-891-3459.

Today's GONSO

The New Federalism is Old News

by Tom Baxter
Even as the Republicans in Atlanta were announcing a split legislative session to handle anticipated federal stimulus revenue, Republicans in the US Senate were successfully paring down the very parts of the package that would help the state most directly.
Full Story

Governor's Allies Propose Legal Immunity for Drug Makers

by Maggie Lee
Four state senators are proposing civil immunity for drug and medical device companies that have a major presence in Georgia.
Full Story


Tax breaks: The state should quit playing favorites

by Alan Essig and Sarah Beth Gehl
In this time of crisis, with our most vulnerable Georgians at risk, itís time that the General Assembly stop giving out tax breaks as if they were candy, and begin to take a cold, hard look at the existing special interest tax breaks. What Georgia needs is zero-based taxation.
Full Story

Tomorrow's Budget
Senate OKs Georgia Power Nuke Financing Plan
by Maggie Lee
What do we call two legislators who have started a witch-hunt in academia? Dumb and Dumber
by John Sugg
Per-student school funding soars as graduation rates fall
by Ben Scafidi

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