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FRONT PAGE - JANUARY 12, 2000 - HOMER, GA

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LINDER SPEAKS AT BCMS

Jimmy Bryant, Alex Williams and Haley Banks talked with U.S. Congressman John Linder when he visited Banks County Middle School on Monday.
Photo by Sherry Lewis


EDUCATION

Linder speaks to BCMS students
Seeks abolishment of income tax
BY SHERRY LEWIS
United States congressman John Linder is looking for support of his bill to abolish income tax and use a sales tax instead.
Linder outlined his plans Tuesday when he spoke to Susan McMullan's American History Class at Banks Coutny Middle School.
He told the students that workers are now paying 22 percent of their income in taxes. He projects that under the new system, the sales tax would cost 23 percent. One of the greatest advantages to the average American is that it would increase their take-home pay by 56 percent.
"If the money comes from sales tax, every American will become a voluntary tax payer," he said. "You would pay based on what you spend."
Linder said the change would be an advantage to the citizens.
"This will give everybody more purchasing power and more freedom," he said. "It will eliminate a system that I think is counterproductive."
He said the change would also level the playing field in foreign markets.
"You would see international corporations start to build here," he said. "You would see international corporations start to invest here."
While Linder realizes it will be tough to get this bill passed in congress in the near future, he said that it will pass eventually.
"Ultimately, this will pass," he said. "When it does, it will be the largest shift of power out of Washington and back to you. If the American people want it, they (congress) will move it."
Students were also interested in who Linder will support for president.
"I support George W. Bush," he said. "I think his experience as a successful governor is important. He reached out and got the vote of minorites and women."
Another student wanted to know about important bills Linder has worked on in the past.
As part of the rules committee, he helped to shape the Telecommunications Reform Bill in 1996. Linder compared this change to the change created in 1984 when a judge broke up the monopoly to sell long distance by AT&T.
"Since the breakup of AT&T, long distance rates have decreased 81 percent," he said.
Linder said the Telecommunica-tions Reform Bill will also have long-term effects.
"This created a huge change in telecommunications, he said. "By the time you get out of high school, it will be astonishing the telecommunications you can get into your home."
He also pointed out that the Time Warner-America Online merger would not be possible without this bill.
Another student asked Linder if he had met President Bill Clinton and he said he had. He called Clinton both "charming and bright," then said there were two problems with the president.
"There are two problems with the president," he said. "One, he never follows through, and two, he always lies."
Linder was born in Minnesota, attended dental school and served in the United States Air Force before "choosing to live in Georgia."
He was elected to congress in 1992 and served in the state legislature before that.
"I try to represent you and your parents," he said. "I listen, debate and vote. I try to reflect the views of our district the best I can on issues of a governmental nature. On moral issues, I vote my conscience. I make it clear where I stand and your parents can vote me out anytime they want.
"

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Baldwin to expand police force
BY SHERRY LEWIS
Baldwin will soon have two deputies on duty at all times.
In a meeting on Monday, the town council approved a request by police chief Frank Andrews to hire three officers and lease a new patrol car. This action is contingent on the approval of city auditor Beth Grimes.
The salary and benefits of the officers will be approximately $27,000 each and the new car will cost $788 per month for 60 months, according to Andrews.
He told the council that the department has generated additional revenues in background checks, fines and forfeitures to pay for the new officers and the car.
"It will come at no additional cost," he said. "I can work it out with what I've got coming in."
He said the main reason for the additional personnel is safety.
"This has become a safety issue," he said. "Lately, I've had officers fighting people by themselves."
The entire council supported Andrews' decision vocally. Councilman Kevin Gaddis was once employed with the Baldwin Police Department and now works in Gainesville. He responded to the request.
"In the early 90s there was one officer per shift and now it is 2000 and there is still one officer," he said. "With the drugs, drunks and belligerence, it is nice to have someone to back you up."
Councilman Robert Bohannon pointed out that the department must deal with the travelers on Hwy. 365 and Hwy. 441, plus the local people.
"You've got to deal with the travelers, deal with drugs and look after the city," he said. "One is taking away from the other. The extra officers should take care of both."
The Baldwin Police Department can call the city of Cornelia or Habersham or Banks County for assistance but that can take time if the officers are busy in their own jurisdictions, said Andrews.


Shubert elected BOE chairman
BY MARY ANN ROBINSON
The Banks County Board of Education unanimously voted Tuesday for Don Shubert to again serve as chairman of the BOE for the 2000-2001 session. Shubert had previously indicated his desire to continue as chairman so he could sign his daughter Brooke's diploma.
"Signing my daughter's diploma and her classmates' diplomas would mean a lot," he said. "These kids are really special to me."
Len Dalton, who was not present at the meeting, was voted vice chairman.
The board voted for the meeting date and time to remain the second Monday of the month at 7 p.m. A work session is held at 7 p.m. on the Thursday prior to this.



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