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Oglesby: Voters still want to elect state officers
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Gov. Perdue's idea of letting governors appoint cabinet-type officers has considerable merit, but with the possible exception of one, it would be tough to get all four by the legislature, then doomed in voter ratification.

I've been a longtime advocate of appointing state cabinet-type officials as at the federal level with confirmation by a legislative body. Pragmatism tells me only the school superintendent has a possible chance. I've written why many times, but not recently.

We had some dillies, including perennial candidates, make the runoff for that office, some in nip-and-tuck races. It was telling that often some couldn't carry their own counties where voters knew them best. Before first writing about it, I took a random survey of 100 adults who were registered voters — male, female, young, old, middle-aged, white, black, other — all within the approximate demographic profile of Hall County.

I first asked each whether they favored appointing or electing the state school superintendent. About 75 percent favored electing. I asked why? Most wanted to control their schools. How would they know which candidate was the best qualified? Most said they were smart enough to figure it out.

Then I asked them to name the state superintendent. Less than 25 percent could. Then I asked how they knew whether he was qualified if they didn't even know his name? Putting it politely, the answers I got were weird and unusual, most always hostile.

A governor, perhaps with input from the state school board, could seek out the best qualified person, not necessarily from Georgia. I favor appointment of the state superintendent with legislative ratification but think including the other three offices in a package at this time at worst would doom the superintendent appointment and at best be a waste of time and resources needed elsewhere.

IRS is proposing to require tax preparers to pass tests showing they indeed are qualified to do taxes. Now anybody can be a preparer. Many people have wound up in deep and expensive trouble with the federal and state revenue departments.

Preparers like CPAs, lawyers and me, an enrolled agent, would be exempt. We already are licensed to practice before the IRS representing our clients and must pass annual continuing professional education courses to keep our certification.

The idea actually could help tax collections. Studies and statistics showing billions of dollars of owed federal taxes are not collected, enough to balance the federal budget. Will Rogers once said "The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has."

I am aggressive in keeping my clients' tax bills as low as legally possible in preparing their returns and representing them when IRS challenges, which thankfully is not too often.

Don't bother asking me to do your taxes. I haven't taken on any new clients for several years and continue reducing the number through normal attrition.

I don't like those who don't pay their fair legal share. They just make the rest of us pay more to make up the loss, meaning higher taxes for us. I'm like most people who think we already pay too much.

Ted Oglesby is retired associate and opinion page editor of The Times. You can reach him at P.O. Box 663, Gainesville, GA 30503. His column appears every other Tuesday and on