With just under 9% unemployment, we must do more to retain and attract jobs to the Sixth District and to Georgia. For several years, Josh worked with the Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce to make Georgia a business friendly state. Josh has a plan to make Georgia the best place in the nation to start, expand and locate a business.
Sunset State Regulations
As an attorney representing individuals and businesses regulated by the State, Josh also knows first hand the burden that State regulations can impose on businesses. He has a specific plan to address it by forcing a comprehensive review of all State regulations:
1. Require all existing regulations to sunset within six years if the agency decides not to reaffirm it through the open and legal process.
2. Require all new regulations expire every six years unless reaffirmed.
3. Focus to make sure that laws passed minimize regulatory burdens.
Make Georgia's Tax Credit for Small Business Investment Permanent
In 2010, Governor Perdue signed the Angel Investor Tax Credit into law. The legislation allows for tax credits for investing in small and growing Georgia companies. It has been a great success in enhancing small businesses' access to capital, but it is set to expire in 2013. Josh wants to make it permanent so small businesses and investors know Georgia is the place to grow, build and invest in business.
Provide Income Tax Relief
Josh supports lowering Georgia's corporate and personal income as suggested by the Blue Ribbon Commission studying Georgia's competitiveness.
Support the Department of Economic Development
Everyday, other states are looking to lure businesses away from Georgia. Competition is also fierce between the states to bring home jobs from companies like Baxter Healthcare and Caterpillar. Josh's work with the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce makes him keenly aware of the benefits a strong Department can bring to the table, and he will be sure that the Department has the tools it needs to keep and bring jobs to Georgia.
Healthcare is going to be one of the top legislative issues of the 2013 session, and no one is more ready than Josh. The Atlanta Business Chronicle recently described Josh as "the 'go-to guy' on health care policy and legislation." He served as Governor Perdue's Chief Counsel and Healthcare Policy Advisor, and as one of the attorneys who represented the State of Georgia in its challenge to Obamacare. Only Josh has the background, the knowledge, and the experience to make sure that Georgia taxpayers do not become subject to $40.8 billion in new spending based on a proposed Medicaid expansion.
Moreover, as the son, husband, brother and son-in-law of physicians and dentists, Josh believes that the doctor-patient relationship is the bedrock of our health system, and he will work to make sure that government does not dictate our choice of physician, insurance or health care.
Josh's Plan for Free-Market Healthcare Reform includes:
1. Saying "no" to a Medicaid expansion that will cost Georgia taxpayers $40.8 billion. Josh believes that no matter how well intentioned, our children should not be saddled with this additional debt, particularly when there are other ways to lower the cost of health insurance and expand coverage.
2. Removing regulatory burdens that drive up the cost of healthcare and are duplicative of required federal standards.
3. Repealing Georgia's state sales tax on Medical devices, because Obamacare levies a 2.3% tax on such innovative materials beginning in 2013.
4. Making Georgia Medicaid more user-friendly for patients and their physicians.
Josh has already proven he knows healthcare policy. During his time for Governor Perdue, Josh worked to pass legislation that:
1. Made Health Insurance More Affordable and Provided Incentives for Consumer Choice Plans (HB 977)
2. Allowed Georgians to Purchase Health Insurance Across State Lines (HB 1184, HB 47)
3. Reformed Medicaid (HB 1234); and
4. Reformed Georgia's Certificate of Need Laws (SB 433).
Josh also advised on the behavioral health and health appropriations, which currently make up about 22% of Georgia's budget. He will put that experience to work for the patients, healthcare professionals, and hospitals in Georgia’s Sixth District.
Josh has been a reformer throughout his career. Whether it was updating Georgia’s burdensome healthcare laws for Governor Perdue, improving the State Ethics Commission, making our laws friendlier to property owners with Chairman Willard, or suggesting changes to the Sandy Springs City Charter, Josh has a track record of effective changes that made government less burdensome and more transparent. He hopes to continue reforming State Government and bring his experience to the efforts of reforming Fulton County to make it more responsive and limited.
Reforming Fulton County
As a longtime proponent and activist in the battle to reform Fulton County, Josh announced his reform plan in February of 2012, the first candidate to do so. Others have now agreed with Josh's plan to lower taxes and reform the County government, but only Josh has the experience to make it happen. 95% of Fulton County residents receive most services from a city government, yet Fulton County's millage rate is much higher than Cobb County's, where only about one-third of the population receives most services from the County government. The need for reform is evident, and Josh supports:
1. Existing Legislation That Would Limit Fulton County To Providing Only Those Services Required By Law;
2. Freezing and Capping the Millage Rate While Maintaining the 3% Cap on Assessments;
3. Expanding the Homestead Exemption for Residents of the City of Atlanta and Fulton County who are Over 62 Years of Age.
As the former Vice-Chairman of the State Ethics Commission, Josh set forth a specific ethics reform proposal in January 2012. To date, he is the only candidate in the race to do so. The reform proposal includes:
1. Not Accepting Gifts from any Registered Lobbyist in Excess of $100, and Supporting Legislation to do the Same.
2. Restoring the Ethics Commission's Rulemaking Authority.
3. Funding the Ethics Commission's Need for New Technology and Hardware.
4. Returning the name "State Ethics Commission" to the Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.
Keeping State Spending Low
Josh was part of the team that cut Georgia's state spending by 15.5%. As Governor Perdue's Counsel, he helped review the budget line-by-line and learned where there is value and where state government can do without. Georgia now spends less per capita than any state in the nation, and it is one of only 8 states with a AAA bond rating, the highest achievable. Josh will use this experience to keep government spending in check and let you keep more of your hard-earned dollars.
Josh is the only former educator in the race, and based on his experiences teaching high school students, Josh believes that the best education decisions are made close to home: empowering parents and educators are the keys to a successful education. This means providng parents with options, freeing educators and administrators from burdensome one-size-fits-all regulations, and making sure parents and students know about all the options available for their education. Josh also believes educators and administrators should be accountable to parents and students alike, and he would support legislation to increase transparency in Georgia’s schools. He is an ardent supporter of charter schools, and he wrote briefs on behalf of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce in support of charter school legislation.
Georgia needs more transportation options. Josh supports systemic reform that better coordinates our State resources to address traffic flows from the Port of Savannah through the Atlanta metropolitan area. Josh also believes that transportation policy should be decided on a cost-benefit basis and by using innovative public-private partnerships as often as possible. He will continue his work to reform the Georgia Department of Transportation and make it more transparent and efficient.
Building on experiences of assisting with the creation of a new police department in the City of Sandy Springs, Josh believes that public safety is most available when police have a visible presence in our communities. To foster that relationship, Josh supports tax policies that incentivize police officers to live in the neighborhoods they patrol. This approach has worked in other states, and it can work right here in Georgia.
Josh has also earned the support and trust of many of Georgia's elected District Attorneys and Solicitors General for his work on criminal justice issues with Governor Perdue.