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Forecast focuses on water, roads
Legislators readying for new session next month
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Forsyth County News

It may have been raining outside, but the focus of Wednesday's annual legislative forecast was on the lack of water.

"I saw a survey yesterday and it said that water ... is now the No. 1 topic," said District 27 state Sen. Jack Murphy.

"And that's over transportation, that's over education, it's over health care."

Murphy, along with Forsyth's three state house delegates, all Republicans, spoke to South Forsyth Rotarians and members of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce at Polo Golf & Country Club.

Beyond current drought measures and conservation, Murphy wondered what else can be done to preserve water.

"My problem is what are we going to do after we get the rain and after the lake fills up and how are we going to manage it then," he said.

District 24 state Rep. Tom Knox said he'd like to see the state's attorney general get involved in accessing the Tennessee River.

"That's a whole bunch of water folks and we're putting a lot of it in there, we ought to be able to use it," Knox said.

District 9 state Rep. Amos Amerson talked about higher education. He noted the state has two of the top 20 research universities and affordable secondary education.

Amerson also mentioned the new MBA program offered in Cumming through North Georgia College & State University.

As a member of the House Transportation Committee, District 23 state Rep. Mark Hamilton had much to say.

Only Tennessee spends less on infrastructure and transportation per capita than Georgia, he said. For a fast growing state competing with its neighbors for economic development, "eventually we're going to run into some real challenges."

Hamilton supports a transportation penny tax, dubbed the T-SPLOST or Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, which last session failed to get the two-thirds majority needed for a constitutional amendment.

This upcoming session, Hamilton said, the committee will look at a half-cent T-SPLOST, "unless two or more counties come together."