COVINGTON -- Newton County resident Doug Holt has announced this week he will seek a third term to the state House of Representatives.
"There are still things I would like to attend to, so I'd like to try for another term," Holt said Friday.
He said he believes the state budget and tax reform will be the predominant issues in this year's legislative session, which begins Monday.
Holt said he expects the state budget to be tight again this year, but perhaps not as much as in recent years.
"I know we will have somewhat of a hole in budget, but I do not believe it will be as gaping as the last several sessions, which in itself is somewhat of a relief," he said. "We will still have to do some things to cut the budget, I suspect."
Holt said he is optimistic that Gov. Nathan Deal will continue to look for ways to cut the budget without affecting education.
Holt, a Republican from Social Circle, said he has also been pleased with Deal's stance on taxation.
"I also understand the governor may bring a (tax) proposal of his own, and I'm very interested in seeing that," Holt said. "He hit a home run with his legislative package on the HOPE initiative last year."
Overall, Holt said he favors moving away from taxation based on income and moving toward a consumption tax.
"I came to this opinion about 25 years ago, when I was in college and I majored in economics," he said. "I have always felt income-focused taxation is really hurting our nation's economy, which puts us at a ferocious disadvantage to other countries with regards to the export market."
Holt said many other countries either already have a consumption tax base or are moving toward that end.
"As long as we are in an open trade arena, we need to play the same game as they are," he said.
While trade is a federal issue, Holt said he believes it is important that the state does its part "to move toward a consumption tax and move away from taxing income and investment."
In his statement announcing his bid for re-election, Hold said, "Georgia continues to be one of the most fiscally responsible states in the union, the result of hard work and difficult decisions. So even though revenues are finally growing again, and perhaps for that very reason, we must remain committed to the kind of discipline that has led the Tax Foundation to rank Georgia as the second lowest among the states in revenue extracted per capita, and third lowest in debt per capita."
Locally, Holt said he and state Sen. Rick Jeffares (R-Locust Grove) are working together to introduce legislation that would give small towns some protection against utility companies that seek to construct power lines or other infrastructure in populated areas.
He said he was prompted to craft this legislation as a result of the ongoing struggle between the residents of Mansfield and Georgia Transmission Corporation, which plans to construct 3.2 miles of 115 kilovolt electrical transmission lines in Newton County from Alcovy Road to Ga. Highway 11, through the back streets of Mansfield.
A group of concerned residents has formed a coalition to try to keep GTC from constructing the lines there. According to the Mansfield Ga. Neighbors Facebook page, the group is now seeking to hire an attorney to help them in their fight.
"We are now at a point in the process that I feel we need to shift gears dramatically," the group stated. "We have, up until now, been reactive and on the defense. That has accomplished a slowing down of the process, but they (GTC) still are moving forward. I am asking now for permission to transition to offense, and make the necessary proactive moves."
Holt said he supports the group's efforts.
"I'm behind them 110 percent," Holt said. "GTC has not convinced me why that line has to run through the city limits, and we will be pursuing legislation this session to deal with that topic."
Holt lives in Social Circle with his wife, Julie, and son, Ray. He is founder and president of Newton Computing Corporation, a software and consulting firm. He is a member of First United Methodist Church of Covington, The Brick Store Club, Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, Madison-Morgan Conservancy, Newton County Arts Association and Smart Growth Newton County.
To contact Holt, visit his website www.dougholt.org or call 770-596-0781.