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Georgia Viewpoints: Let’s lean on churches, charities, corporations and citizens to solve Georgia’s 21st century challenges

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One of the most inspiring movements emerging in the private sector – whether corporate America or local churches – is a growing awareness of the need to give back to our communities.

Cognizant that there will never be enough tax revenue or efficient government programs to solve our state’s needs, it is heartwarming to see CEOs and pastors urging their flock to look to others in need.

I like to call it the “4Cs” – churches, charities, corporations and citizens. With this renewed awareness in the private sector, the next generation of political leaders in Georgia should embrace those “4Cs” – as the experts that can have much better success at challenges ranging from illiteracy to drug addiction and homelessness.

Over the next six months, Georgians will examine the direction this state is moving and if it wants to continue to rely on state government for so many services or harken to the days of Gov. Zell Miller and President Reagan when outsiders were called in to provide government services.

For example, we could contract with non-profits that successfully treat the mentally ill or treat those addicted to opioids. There a host of citizen groups willing to tutor students struggling in school so they can graduate or move on to the next grade. All of this would be more cost-effective than expanding or creating another state program.

The “4 Cs” offer the talents and resources a government program will never have. Whether a faith-based organization or a for-profit company, these people are able to innovate without government restraints. They have great talent and resources, and they approach an issue seeking a solution and an exit strategy—not how to prolong their state-government career.

Most of all, they have a better success rate than any government program.
For example, when a private organization works with the homeless living on the streets they find innovative ways to get the troubled citizens healthcare, housing and eventually mental health services which can lead to a normal life and employment. When a government program is in charge, too much focus is on research and staffing than solving the problem.

There are so many services that Georgia government provides or funds where a partnership with one or multiple members of the “4 Cs” would create a greater route to success.

For example:
• Our state could grow its commitment to charitable care clinics. Many of these were founded by churches or not-for-profits and are staffed with volunteer medical personnel.
• We should permit faith-based organizations, charities, corporations and non-profits to have a greater role in educating children in grades K-12 – as when our nation was founded.
• Adoption, foster care, mental health, homelessness, autism and illiteracy are just one piece of legislation away from being positively impacted by a faith-based organization, a non-profit or even a for-profit company with legislative encouragement by the General Assembly and leadership at the State Capitol. So too are a host of other state services ranging from hunting and fishing licenses to transportation services for the disabled and students.

Stay Informed

As we have witnessed for decades on the federal, state and local level, government spending isn’t always the solution to society’s challenges. Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute found that the federal government spent $1 trillion on 126 different anti-poverty programs in 2013 without making a dent in any key metrics concerning poverty.

When serving in the Georgia House, I convinced my colleagues to pass legislation that now permits businesses and individuals in rural Georgia to support local hospitals with donations that apply as a tax credit to their state income taxes. Instead of adopting a statewide tax increase or budget appropriation, local communities are supporting their own healthcare providers.

There will always be a role for government, but it doesn’t have to be a growing one. The “4Cs” should be the governing principles we use to move forward or else any opportunity to further reduce state income taxes will remain out of reach.

This article was submitted by Geoff Duncan, a candidate for Lieutenant Governor. If you’d like to send us your own views for consideration and publication, please click here.

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