Georgia Says

Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal on Braves deal a good one and deserves support:

Here's the deal: a nationally known business wants to relocate to Cobb, bringing with it thousands of jobs, regular favorable coverage in the national media and generating millions of dollars in new tax revenue for Cobb's schools (and generated in large part by non-Cobb residents). The cost to Cobb residents? For the owner of a home valued at $200,000, it would cost about $26 in taxes, the rough equivalent of a half tank of gas — but it's a revenue-neutral tax "tank" that the owner has already been buying for years, not an additional "tank" he has to buy or tax he has to pay.

The "business" in question is, of course, the Atlanta Braves. The recent approval by the board of commissioners paves the way for construction of a $672 million stadium just off I-75 at I-285. The move would mean thousands of new jobs and also has the clear potential to generate several million dollars in additional sales tax revenue for Cobb's schools each year from the mixed-use development to be built around it.

It's a project that would pump $1 billion into the Cobb economy over the next three years, of which Cobb would be on the hook for roughly $300 million. The stadium and its plaza have the potential to grow the county tax base by more than $400 million very quickly, with our schools among the biggest beneficiaries.

Critics complain the stadium would add to local traffic woes. But they're ignoring the fact even prior to the Braves' announcement Cobb had $1 billion in transportation projects already approved and funded for that area for the next five years. In addition, the Braves envision fans "coming early and staying late" at the shops and eateries in the surrounding development. In other words, they won't all be coming and going at the same time, unlike at Turner Field and at the Georgia Dome. Those stadiums stand like oases in deserts of blight. Cobb's stadium and surroundings will have the opposite effect, and traffic will benefit as a result.

Unfortunately, the Braves move has run into mounting criticism in Cobb.

The pending deal is a good one for the Braves, but an even better one for Cobb County. It deserves the public's enthusiastic support.

Albany (Ga.) Herald on nuclear option on filibuster:

It was probably inevitable, this thing the U.S. Senate did last week.

One thing is for sure. It is a sign that the Senate, the legislative body designed to be the deliberative one is edging away from that ideal.

Also called America's most exclusive club, the U.S. Senate was designed to be stable (six-year terms with no more than a third of its members are up for election in a given year) and civil. Without the pressure that U.S. representatives face with their two-year elections, the Senate was created to be more deliberate in its actions and, many would argue, more thoughtful. Even as politics have gotten meaner and louder in recent years, senators have had a way of working out solutions to ticklish problems.

Lately, those solutions have been harder and harder to reach. When the button was pressed on the nuclear option for filibusters by the Senate Democrats last week, cooperation on some critical upcoming issues may well have been caught up in the blast.

On Thursday along a partisan vote, the Senate weakened its filibuster rules so that senators can approve executive branch nominees and any judicial nominees except Supreme Court justices with a simple majority. Before that vote, a senator could hold up a nomination if 40 other senators agreed through use of the filibuster.

Years ago when the Republicans were in charge, GOP leadership in the Senate was moving toward doing the same thing. That effort was stopped, however, when 14 senators — evenly split between Republicans and Democrats — got together and worked out a compromise. This time, a deal wasn't reached and the threat was enacted. That means Democrats, with 53 senators and two independents who caucus with them, can now approve virtually anyone Democratic President Barack Obama nominates and Republicans are powerless to stop it.

And now that it has happened, it will be easier to argue for changing other long-held rules. What's to say that even Supreme Court justice appointments will — or even should — always be subject to filibusters?

More immediate, however, are the federal budget, the borrowing limit and another round of sequestration are all fast approaching. The House and Senate are far apart on a Farm Bill.

It will be difficult for the Senate majority leadership to get cooperation out of Republicans who will be angry over this rule change. The potential for another partial federal government shutdown just got bigger.

By silencing the minority voice in the Senate, the Upper Chamber has headed in a different direction. Rather than cooling the House's hot tea, it may start turning up the heat even more.



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