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Before I make my point, let me qualify my statement by saying I did not vote for Nathan Deal in the primary election last year. I voted for my friend and strict constitutionalist, Ray McBerry. However, after the primary and into the runoff and general election, I was an active supporter of Mr. Deal. Having said that, I have some misgivings about his leadership thus far.
No. 1, I thought Mr. Deal was a committed Christian who opposes the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages. His own words would lead one to believe so. I am disappointed he chose to sign the Sunday sales bill. In my learning, his words and his actions are inconsistent, which would qualify him as hypocritical. You either think alcoholic beverages are a danger to the community or they are not.
The assumption that local communities can decide this matter is false. The matter will be decided by the liquor lobby and the chambers of commerce in off-cycle elections, and pretty soon we'll have Sunday sales all over the state.
Alcohol is closely linked to virtually every negative aspect of society: suicide, violent crime, birth defects, industrial accidents and the list goes on. About 350 people die daily from alcohol-related problems while about 15 to 30 die daily from illegal drug use. The economic impact of alcohol sales is not what is reported by the liquor lobby, but for every $1 collected in revenue, $8 is spent on alcohol-related problems. Does Gov. Deal not know this?
Secondly, allowing the gas tax to rise is a loser. Deal should have taken the lead and took the pressure off working Georgians who contend with the high price of fuel. The state of Georgia is awash in money, if it was being spent in a constitutionally correct manner, and the gas tax increase could have been stopped with little to no impact on the state.
I felt sure Gov. Deal would have taken different directions in these two matters, but I have been wrong before and I'm wrong again.
Fred N. Chitwood