Patch caught up with Hunter Hill, one of the hopeful Republican nominees for the District 6 State Senate seat, and asked him about some of this election's important issues.
What are the most important issues facing District 6?
I think that the top issues on everyone's mind are the economy and jobs. From the beginning, I have run a campaign with this as the mantra — to make Georgia the most economically competitive state in the country. There are a lot of things that go into that — education, our tax structure, our transportation infrastructure, how we treat capital and business friendliness. The platform that I've had from the beginning is to eliminate burdensome regulations on small businesses, which are our job creators and innovators.
You are for the elimination of the income tax in Georgia. How can such a drastic change be implemented?
We need fighters in there that are willing to articulate the benefits of the elimination of the income tax and work with everyone in the State Senate and the State House to come up with ways, in a business friendly manner, to replace that income. I am for a consumption tax in that regard.
Secondly, I think that we need to understand that there is going to be organic growth in our economy by getting rid of the income tax that we are not going to be able to calculate with numbers.
We can't do it over night. What I propose is a six year plan to eliminate the income tax one point at a time, at one point per year, and off-set it with a half point rise in state sales tax.
Why a consumption tax?
We have a very transient group of people in Georgia. Everyone in the Southeastern United States has to come through Atlanta whenever they travel. They do so via vehicle and through the air. We also have one of the busiest ports in the country in Savannah. People are driving through our state and spending money on food and other things and they are not adding into our economy at the degree that they could be.
Secondly, we are ranked sixth in the country in illegal immigrant population and those folks aren't paying income taxes. Yet, they are using many of our services —namely our educational system.
There is a lot we can do to capture some of that income and revenue while relieving the burden on our most innovative and able-bodied people that are going to be job creators. The sixth district houses many of these people. I'm the only candidate in the race vowing to work toward the elimination of the income tax.
What’s your position on TSPLOST?
I'm looking at this issue from two perspectives. One is as a taxpayer, because this is an issue that will confront all of us and we all get to decide whether or not to vote on it. Then, I look at it as a State Senate candidate. Whether this thing passes or fails, I need to have a plan for whichever scenario occurs.
If it passes, I'm going to be watching the money like a hawk and I'm going to make sure that the letter of the law is adhered to. If it doesn't pass, I'm going to be working with the other legislators to come up with a plan B that is more palatable. I would want to focus not on transit rail as much as rubber tire. We are a sparsely developed community and we need to focus money where people are at and that is in their cars.
What made you want to run for office?
Having served overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq, I got to see America from an overseas perspective. The way I looked at it, we've gotten rid of a lot of the values and principals that made us great — limited government, low taxation, individual responsibility and free enterprise. I want to get involved in government to make sure we are supporting and defending these founding principals and using them as a guide — as a litmus test for the kinds of state policies we support here in Georgia.
I believe that if we keep in mind limited government, low taxation, individual responsibility and free enterprise from a 30,000 foot view into our state policy that we will become the most economically successful state in the country. My plan to get us there incorporates those founding values and principals, which motivated me to want to run for State Senate.
People want leaders that aren't just going to say something to get elected but have a history of moving a diverse group of people towards a common goal. That is what I've been able to do in the military and in business and I want to use this leadership experience to make Georgia more economically competitive. I think we need leaders in government and that is the kind of background that I want to bring to the table.