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When I was young, I had a habit of using a poor reasoning tactic with my mother that always seemed to fail me. Any time my friends were allowed to do something that I was not, I would tell my mother that other kids get to do it. This statement always had the same rebuttal: "If they jumped off a cliff, it doesn't mean you should."
The legislature and Gov. Sonny Perdue have increased court filing fees in Georgia by substantial amounts. By substantial, I mean more than double and some up to 10 times the original amount. One soothing explanation was that we are still lower than states around us. Are we to take this to mean we jumped off the cliff because Alabama did?
These increases will have some effect on those seeking justice through civil cases filed in the courts. However, it will not have as much impact as some may believe. The civil justice system was already too far out of reach for most citizens in Georgia before these fee increases.
With the cost of legal representation well into thousands and tens of thousands of dollars, most Georgia citizens cannot afford to take a civil case to court anyway. These fee increases just pushed it a little bit further.
The real concern in this money-grabbing scheme is where the money goes and what it is for. The fee increase is nothing more than another way to try and solve the problems created by poor fiscal responsibility of the state of Georgia.
When the Georgia Lottery was created, funds were dedicated to education and could not be used for anything else. Nothing stopped the legislature from cutting education funding that came from the general fund.
Again this brings to mind more words of wisdom from long forgotten days: Don't rob Peter to pay Paul.
By increasing revenues in one area, the decreases from elsewhere are hidden from public view. These fee increases are just another tax to fix what they broke in the first place. What is next? What about increasing the fees to qualify to run for a political office? Maybe increase that fee tenfold and see what good comes from that.
If I many be so bold as to make a suggestion to our esteemed legislative and executive branches, both state and federal: Stop spending. Make the cuts you are afraid of losing campaign contributions over.
Yes, the arts are important. Improving our parks is a noble move. Researching the great scientific mysteries of the world is something that should be done. At the moment, however, we are in an economic position that we can not do these things.
The answer is not to increase taxes and fees for anything that moves. Stop wasting our money. Be the good stewards you claimed to be before you were elected.