Doss, Hufstetler Dispute Tax Claims
Two candidates for State Senate District 52 claimed to have the lowest tax rates when in office in Floyd County.
Two candidates running for State Senate District 52 both claim that Floyd County had its lowest tax rates under their respective terms on the Floyd County Board of Commissioners.
Chuck Hufstetler, who mentioned that several times during a debate Tuesday night at The Grand Theatre, came under fire from fellow candidate and Floyd County resident David Doss. Doss said that the tax rate was 7 mills when he was in office, during Hufstetler's time in office the rate was 12.8 percent higher at an average of 10.94 over Hufstetler's entire term.
"Chuck, get your facts right, and let's talk about the issues that the citizens of this state deserve to hear about," Doss said.
Doss also questioned a post on Hufstetler's website that states the candidate will "fight the trial lawyers efforts to destroy quality healthcare" and a statement that Hufstetler will judge every piece of legislation by the U.S. and Georgia Constitutions.
"If you're willing to do away with trial by jury or violate the state's Constitution, are there any other parts of the Georgia Constitution that you will ignore?" Doss said.
Hufstetler said he's aware of the Constitution and tort reform.
"This is not anything to do with a fair trial, but it has to do with unreasonable rules," Hufstetler said. "I do think we have to have checks and balances, and that's what tort reform does, and I will continue to support it."
Hufstetler said there were times when the Department of Transportation, of which Doss was a board member, was "wined and dined" to the tune of $5,000-$10,000 and asked why Doss thinks ethics reform is important now when it wasn't for the last 10 years.
"Ethics reforms has always been first and foremost," Doss said. "I don't know where Chuck's coming with this information. There has never been an ethics complaint filed against me, ever. Not during my 10 years on the county commission, not during my 10 years on the state transportation board and certainly not during this campaign."
Hufstetler responded by saying that the issues of the thousands of dollars that were spent were bought about by the Governor, Attorney General and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which said that ethics reform was needed.
"The Atlanta paper said it's not just David Doss. It's most of the DOT board," Hufstetler said. "All those entities said it was wrong and it was buying access. Why is that $100 cap important this year and not any of the other years?"
A $100 cap has never applied to the DOT, Doss said.
"I don't know what he's talking about, meals or trips or whatever," Doss said.
There was a GBI investigation relating to a letter that was sent to people who were invited to a conference. Doss said he was asked only to write a welcome letter.
"That's all I did, was write, 'Welcome to Georgia. Hope to see you in September," he said. "The GBI did an investigation at the request of Sonny Perdue. I was found to be completely faultless. No blame whatsoever. Eighteen months later, Sonny Perdue called me into his office and apologized."
The three candidates were asked what they see as the most important issue facing the legislature aside from the economy and education. Hayden Collins, the only Bartow County candidate, said that emergency preparedness in the wake of tornadoes that have hit the area in the last few years is at the top of his list.
"We as citizens can step forward and set the example," Collins said.
Ideas that he mentioned to the five candidates running for Bartow County Commissioner during his radio program on AM 1270 WYXC include a Citizens Emergency Response Team and local emergency planning committees, which would bring communities together and plan for emergencies.
"Where they won’t be drawing on the state if an emergency hits," Collins said. "They can take care of themselves. (With) that kind of a scenario where a community can stand up for itself, train itself and move forward, we move ahead as a group. We move ahead setting an example for (the rest) of the state. And, we can attract businesses that way. We can attract businesses showing them that we’re coordinated."
Hufstetler said his priority would be to look at the budget and determine how funding could be alloted for various areas.
"If we don’t do this, those areas (like) education will continue to suffer," he said.
Hufstetler said he also wants to focus on the $300 million shortfall in healthcare costs.
"We’ve got to adjust our policies so that we are not just treating symptoms," he said. "We’ve got to get more into preventative care and push that or else our healthcare costs will continue to take a bigger part of our budget."
For Doss, the biggest issue is restoring public trust, which he said is low. He said that, if elected, he has promised on day one to introduce an ethics reform bill and live by it until it becomes law.
"I think the most important thing after education and getting the budget in order is restoring public confidence, Doss said. "This state deserves better. You the citizens deserve better. You need representatives who will go down there and will fight for you."