Beach set to get to work Monday
by Erin Dentmon
edentmon@cherokeetribune.com
January 13, 2013 12:00 AM | 2633 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, Brandon Beach and then Sen. Chip Rogers, give their opinions about local and state issues during a debate at Cherokee Republican headquarters in Woodstock. Cherokee County’s state senators are signed on to a plan to phase out state income tax. State Sens. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta), Barry Loudermilk (R- Cassville) and John Albers (R-Roswell) are among the co-signers on the resolution proposed by Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus). <br>Cherokee Tribune/Todd Hull
From left, Brandon Beach and then Sen. Chip Rogers, give their opinions about local and state issues during a debate at Cherokee Republican headquarters in Woodstock. Cherokee County’s state senators are signed on to a plan to phase out state income tax. State Sens. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta), Barry Loudermilk (R- Cassville) and John Albers (R-Roswell) are among the co-signers on the resolution proposed by Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus).
Cherokee Tribune/Todd Hull
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The whirlwind continues. Less than a week after being elected to Senate District 21, Brandon Beach will join the Georgia General Assembly on Monday, the first day of the 2013 legislative session.

“It is unbelievable how fast things have gone, but it’s all been good. It’s been a sprint,” Beach said.

Beach can join the Legislature after the results from last week’s election are certified, which he expects to happen before the legislative session begins at 10 a.m. Monday.

And he plans to hit the ground running when it comes to attracting jobs to the district.

“That’s going to be done through having the infrastructure in place so companies want to come here. We have to have good education, good health care, quality of life, public safety. You’ve got to have the total package,” he said, noting that education is at the core of a successful economy.

The government’s role when it comes to jobs, Beach said, is to create an environment conducive to private-sector growth.

“The government’s job is to get out of the way, reduce regulations and have a tax-friendly system,” he said.

Beach said he plans to introduce a bill to create job-friendly tax incentives statewide, though he hasn’t ironed out all the details yet.

“When you grow jobs, you grow the revenue without raising taxes. I don’t want to raise taxes. Like in business, you can’t cut yourself to prosperity. You can cut here and cut there, and it comes to a point you’ve got to grow sales. And I think we need to grow jobs,” he said.

Beach may model his bill after the Opportunity Zone concept that allows employers a tax credit for jobs created, as long as at least two jobs are created.

To improve infrastructure without raising taxes, Beach said legislators need to be smart about spending limited money.

“With transportation, we have to look at innovations, and look at things like the timing of lights, adding turn lanes or improving intersections to take on more traffic. The days of doing $500 million projects, those are going to be fewer and fewer. We just don’t have the funds,” he said. Beach has served on the Department of Transportation’s State Transportation Board, representing Congressional District 6, an area that includes Cherokee County.

Ensuring Georgia gets all federal money the state is entitled to can also help bolster the budget, Beach said.

Beach also said he wants to see education funding spread more fairly, with districts paying in more to the state receiving more in return. The state’s school funding mechanism, Quality Basic Education, needs reform, he added.

“That formula hasn’t been changed since the Joe Frank Harris administration. That’s somewhat antiquated and broken. It definitely needs to be addressed,” he said.

Beach stressed that he will bring results for Cherokee County as a legislator.

“I have represented Cherokee County for over five years on the DOT board,” he said, noting that Cherokee County leaders endorsed him because they had seen what he’d done for the county.

“I’ve done a lot for Cherokee County as a non-elected official. I’ve never really looked at the county lines to do this for Cobb or that for Cherokee. I took care of all the parts of that district, and that’s the way I look at (the district),” he said. “When I talked to the average constituents during the campaign, they talked about leadership, lower taxes and results. They didn’t say ‘Where do you live?’“

Beach and his wife, Shuntel, have been married nearly 29 years and have two children, both students. They reside in Alpharetta.

Beach will continue to work as president and CEO of the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce. He has resigned from his position on the Department of Transportation’s State Transportation Board.

As a legislator, Beach said he plans to vote with the citizens of District 21 in mind.

“I realize it’s not Brandon Beach’s seat. This is the people’s seat. Not mine. I’m going to be very accessible,” he said. “I want people to get in touch with me.”

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