Georgia hit by company’s failure—Taxpayers on hook for over $61 million

March 22, 2017

But wait, we are told repeatedly that the taxpayers never, ever, ever have to pay when companies go under.  It seems as if it is Economic Development projects or other businesses, the State always comes to bail them out on the taxpayers’ back.

As usual, taxpayers are on the hook for a business failure. Do taxpayers ever get dividends when a business succeeds? Nope.

“Georgia law allows those insurance companies to receive state tax credits for the amount of the assessments, writing off 20 percent of the costs each year for five years from the tax on their premiums.  That write-off shifts the burden of liquidation to state taxpayers, some insurance experts note.”

Read the entire article from AJC:

http://investigations.blog.ajc.com/2017/03/21/insurance-company-failure-could-cost-georgia-61-million/

Georgia hit by company’s failure

State joins others that may be on hook for millions; many could be unable to pay nursing home bills.

By Lois Norder lois.norder@ajc.com

A massive insurance company failure is likely to cost Georgia millions of dollars and eventually could leave many who bought long-term coverage without enough money to pay nursing home bills.

Penn Treaty Network Insurance Company and its subsidiary American Network Insurance Company are short nearly $4 billion needed to pay out long-term care insurance benefits to policyholders nationwide, including 1,800 in Georgia. Earlier this month, a court ordered the liquidation of the Pennsylvania-based companies after years of legal battles failed to produce a plan to save them.

Now, the shortfall will have to be covered by insurance guaranty associations in states where the insolvent companies sold policies. Georgia is on the hook for about $61.2 million.

“This is clearly the largest health insurance insolvency ever,” said Mike Marchman, executive director of the Georgia Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association.

Penn Treaty policyholders must continue to pay their premiums to maintain coverage. Then, as they make claims in coming years, the association will have to cover them up to the limit set by state law. In Georgia, that cap is $300,000 per policyholder.

“When you surpass the $300,000, that would be up to the individual (to pay),” Marchman said. “We can only pay what the Legislature told us to pay.”

Other Georgia health insurance companies will be assessed amounts to cover the obligations of the Georgia guaranty association. The companies cannot apply a surcharge to policyholders. The association’s board hasn’t yet decided whether to collect at once all the funds needed or to impose the assessments over a period of years, Marchman said.

Georgia law allows those insurance companies to receive state tax credits for the amount of the assessments, writing off 20 percent of the costs each year for five years.

That write-off shifts the burden of liquidation to state taxpayers, some insurance experts note.

Georgia is not the hardest hit state from the company’s failure. California’s guaranty association faces a $382 million liability; Florida’s, about $354 million; Virginia’s, about $189 million; and Texas’, about $117 million, according to estimates issued last summer.

Rates for long-term care insurance have soared in recent years as the cost of nursing home care has spiked and people are living longer. But Penn Treaty would have needed to raise rates an average of 300 percent to cover its shortfall, and state regulators wouldn’t approve that increase. No other company would agree to take over Penn Treaty’s long-term care line of business, Marchman said.

Penn Treaty has about 73,000 policies still in force nationwide, Marchman said.

The average policyholders is in his or her late 70s, but many are still in their 40s, he said. That means some will make claims on their policies for decades to come.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has committees examining long-term care insurance and regulatory changes that may be needed to address the issues in the marketplace, a member of the NAIC staff told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution in an email.

Many insurers are struggling with losses; among them is Genworth Financial, the largest seller of long-term care policies. To help deal with its massive debt, Genworth agreed to be acquired by a Chinese investor, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Some other insurers have stopped writing long-term care policies.

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TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

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Posted in Economic Development, State Legislation | Tagged , | Leave a comment

DISTRICT 3 COMMISSIONER—THE WINNER IS

March 21, 2017

 

                                             HAYS                    JERIGAN

Early voting                       57                            80

Absentee                             1                              9

Today:

Courthouse                       41                             21

Turtle Cove                        24                            68

                                         ______                  ______

Total                                    123                       177       

 

Congratulation to the winner is Don Jerigan!

300 people out of 2000+ registered voters decided this election, about 15%.  

 

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

www.taxdogs.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/taxdogs

Posted in Elections/voting | Tagged , | 7 Comments

TIME IS RUNNING OUT TO VOTE—DISTRICT 3 COMMISSIONER ELECTION TUESDAY MARCH 21, 2017

 March 20, 2017

Time is running out.  Election day is Tuesday March 21.  Polls are open 7AM to 7PM to elect the next District 3 Commissioner.

As of Friday, poll workers said only about 150 people had voted. There are approximately 2,000 registered voters in District 3.

Apathy is a huge problem! 

 

Posted in Elections/voting | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

DUMPING AT THE LANDFILL IS FREE DURING APRIL FOR JASPER COUNTY RESIDENTS

March 19, 2017

If you have junk to take to the landfill, hold off until April 1st.

The BOC is allowing all Jasper County residents to bring in their junk, including tires, to the landfill free of charge for the month of April.

The Jasper County Landfill HOURS OF OPERATION

Thursday and Friday – 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Saturday – 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

 If you are not sure of the location, it is behind the Recreation fields on Ted Sauls Rd. off of Hwy 212 W. (Don’t look at Google Maps because it shows the landfill down by Smithboro Rd. on Hwy 212 E.)

 TWG

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Posted in County, Landfill, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

THE MONTICELLO NEWS CHANGES ITS POLICY JUST IN TIME TO INFLUENCE THE DISTRICT 3 ELECTION

 

March 16, 2017

 Up until today, the Monticello News and editor Kathy Mudd, has had a policy that no letters endorsing or degrading individuals, political candidates, or religious dogma would be accepted.  Today was different, when she allowed a letter supporting a candidate for the District 3 Commissioner position. Shame on her!!

Why today?  Because there is no way anyone, including the other candidate, could refute the letter before the election on Tuesday.

Today a long letter endorsing Don Jernigan was submitted by Skip Davis who serves on the Monticello-Jasper County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.  The Chamber of Commerce receives taxpayer funds and should not be in the business of endorsing any candidate; in fact, it is unethical. 

Skip Davis was the President of the Chamber last year.  He lives in Turtle Cove, and like his candidate Don Jernigan, only attends BOC meetings when he is hoping to get taxpayer money for the Chamber or to be appointed to some board.

 Obviously, Ms. Mudd has no qualms about taking any candidate’s money for ads while showing bias to one particular candidate. 

Here is a copy of the original letter as it was printed in the Monticello News.  TWG comments are in RED, and we hope you will add your comments on the blog or on Facebook.

 

There is an important election in this month for the Board of Commissioners District 3 post which will decide the potential future of our county for the next decade or longer.  One individual will be selected to complete the remaining tenure of Commissioner Gene Trammell’s term.  Appropriately, the contest includes two individuals with two different visions of the future of our county.   This is how we do things in this country.  We make choices.

Recently a blog posting suggested some questions for District 3 voters to address to assist in their choice of which candidate to support.   Examples (not the actual questions posed by the blog) of the questions which the author(s) of the blog suggested were:

Should Jasper County remain a quiet, isolated rural community or should we follow in Commissioner Trammel’s vision of progressive, smart growth directed by rational and intelligent strategic planning?  Trammell’s vision included raising taxes over 20% in 3 years and doubling the county debt, which is what progressive visions do.

The blog’s inference is for the former direction which could lead to our roads, schools, emergency services, and law enforcement continuing the erosion and decline we have seen in the past.  The latter could make possible a future here in which our community which institutes smart infrastructure improvements, establishes safe and secure neighborhoods and provides jobs for our high school graduates so families do not have to be separated to find good quality employment.  Bringing in more growth causes less safe schools, more crime, and higher taxes.  The exact reason people have moved from Rockdale, Dekalb, and Gwinnett counties to Jasper County. 

The blog in effect asks:

Should the County be divided by an “age” qualifier that states “old and retired” may not be as qualified as “young and employed?”  Really?  We are now supposedly advised to vote for someone based on his or her age, the age of their children and whether they are employed locally or retired?

Both candidates should be applauded for their interest and desire to serve.

One is young, the parent of young children and works hard at providing for his family as it should be.

The other candidate worked his entire life to provide for his family, served his nation as a veteran of the Vietnam War, gained valuable experience in dealing with life’s travails and continues his involvement in our community even after a well-earning retirement.

“Age” should not be a qualifier for public office!  However, life’s experience usually makes for a more discerning candidate.

Should the county be asked to decide which candidate to support based on the size, cost or taxes paid on their residence?

We did away with the property ownership requirements for voting in the 19th Century.  The amount of taxes an individual pays on their home has little to do with his or her qualifications to run for office.  Any individual that serves on the BOC should also feel the pain of property taxes every time the BOC votes to increase them—which has been yearly under the vision Skip Davis asks us to emulate.  Don Jernigan pays $169 a year in property taxes on his personal residence.  A 20% increase would cost him a mere $34, while others paying $1000 a year and more would feel the $200 increase. 

Where an individual lives is an intensely personal decision and not a qualification, or lack thereof, to be a commissioner.  If we start using this sort of qualifications to run for office more than half of Jasper County voters would not be qualified to run.  Not a great idea.

One candidate has attended Board of Commissioners’ meetings since April 2015.  The other has not attended any meetings in the last four years.

Seems an easy answer to that question, no?  Well, not quite.

The regular attendee started going to BOC meetings at the same time frame he decided he wanted to be considered an alternative to Mr. Trammell in the 2016 election cycle.  He lost that bid.  This is blatantly false.  Ross Hays started regularly attending meetings in April 2015 when the Solid Waste Authority was formed illegally and the BOC planned to bring in outside waste to our landfill.  Hays served on the landfill committee and attended BOC meetings from then on, a year before he ever planned to run for commissioner.  Where was Don Jernigan during this time?

The non-attendee, Mr. Jernigan?  Well, he was not exactly sitting on his haunches watching time go by.  Since at least 2010 he has been at the Jackson Lake Volunteer Fire Station as a Poll Worker for every election.  He has served as a direction of the Turtle Cove Homeowners Association Board of Directors for the last six years helping to manage that 1,700 person strong corporation.  Don Jernigan has indeed served on the TC board and voted to raise the minimum water rate by 48% after the board’s proposed dues increase did not pass.

He has been a long time member of the Jasper County Recreations Department Board.  He is a leading member and Veterans Supporter of the Jasper County American Legion, Post 110.  He is a strong member and active participant of the Turtle Cove Men’s Golf Association which works diligently to raise money for the local community.

Maybe the “retiree” still has some productive years ahead of him with his extensive experience in managing his time.  Oh, and by the way, he has attended BOC meetings.  When?  It is easy to say something and act as if it is fact, but just when has Don attended meetings—before he announced his candidacy?

We have serious problems in Jasper County and we need serious, experienced and capable individuals to work to solve them.   Problems such as no job market for our graduating students.  Lack of after school activities for our children.  Hindered Law Enforcement and Emergency Services due to underfunding.  The Sheriff’s budget has increased dramatically—approximately $1,000,000 in the last 4 year and comprises 33% of the county budget.

 Lack of services for the elderly.  Needed School  improvements.  All of these problems are caused by a low tax base.  A low tax base- that the value of Don Jernigan’s property is a contributing factor.

 Infrastructure upgrades and replacements such as roads, utilities, and environment.  We need serious candidates who can and will address these problems, develop strategies to confront them, and find avenues to move forward for all citizens of our County. 

Regardless of which candidate you favor, get out and vote.  Please.  Jasper needs your participation.  A none vote is the same as a vote for the other side.  Make your voice heard.  And this is one thing we can agree with!

Skip Davis
Summer J. Davis

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Tomorrow is the last day for early voting.  Only 107 people have voted so far out of almost 2,000 registered voters.  Tuesday, March 21 is voting day! 

What are your comments?  Post them on the blog or on our Facebook page.

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

www.taxdogs.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/taxdogs

Posted in Chamber of Commerce, County, Elections/voting, Property taxes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

THE PERFECT ANSWER TO WHY CODE ENFORCEMENT IS IMPORTANT—IF IT IS ACTUALLY DONE FAIRLY

March 15, 2017

 

Last night’s blog solicited many comments.  If you haven’t read them, take the time to do so.
https://taxdogs.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/permit-a-shed-build-a-house-codes-enforced-unequally-and-sometimes-not-at-all/#comments

 Everyone thinks they should be able to do anything they want on their own property, and that is true to a point.  The following comment makes excellent points, many of them most of us do not think about.

 an ex jasper resident says:

March 15, 2017 at 11:31 am (Edit)

You are correct it is your property. But when your life style effects the safety and health of people who also have paid for their property and taken all of their extra time to clear driveways and prepare it for building then it no longer is your business alone. When your feces is being delivered to the soil onto someone else’s property it is their business. Not to mention the devaluing of the surrounding property. There are a lot of laws that are in place that may seem to be intrusive on your personal rights; but they are put in place to protect others. Some may think that it is their business to use, manufacture and sell meth but when the drug addicts come to my land to buy and use said meth it then becomes my business and my right to protect my child. It is a person’s private business to fight with their wife and chase her through the yard with a gun but when that private business puts others child in danger of getting shot during a domestic fight for simply playing in the yard then it is no longer a private matter. So yes you are correct, it is your land and your business until your disgusting, pathetic lifestyle effects others health, safety and peace of mind. Keep your sewage and your drugs and dope head thieving friends on your property and then the laws that you find so intrusive won’t apply to you. Until then it is my right to use the laws that are in place to protect me and mine.

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Also this comment is relevant to the post TWG made last night:

an ex jasper resident says:

March 14, 2017 at 10:20 pm (Edit)

In September of 2016 I purchased the adjoining lot to the property listed in this article. I purchased the land from Hurdle Land and Realty in Loganville. After becoming aware of the illegal sewage underground on our property line I made contact with Brad Cherry and Shane Sealy. I was concerned about the safety of my property due to contamination. I was assured that it would be handled. It was not. I then contacted Hurdle and made my concerns known to them as well. After realizing that nothing was going to be done I demanded that my land deposit to Hurdle be transferred to another piece of property down the road. Being much wiser the second time around I hired a company to test the new property before I signed the papers. I was shocked to learn that the second property, which totaled two adjoining lots equaling over ten acres did not pass a perk test and that there was no way to build on the whole lot. It was useless and unbuildable land. I again made Hurdle aware of this situation. I could have done what others in the county are getting away with I guess and built the place illegally but for those of us who choose to follow the law and live decently, there was no option. In January I was shocked to receive a call out of the blue from the office of Shane and Brad after not hearing from anyone from September till January. In that call I was told that the problem had been taken care of and that the landowner of the above property had been made to remove the illegal , man-made septic system and bring the house up to code or it would be condemned. That was not true. It sits now as it did when I first made contact in September and is still being lived in. Right now we have chosen not to reside in Jasper county at all as we have no trust in the officials in charge to make sure that the laws are upheld by everyone for the safety of the landowners. we are out a lot of money as Hurdle never returned our deposit or payments despite the saved emails, phone call records and the Findings of the company regarding the perk test. A company that was referred to me by Jasper county. At this time Hurdle has hundreds of properties in Jasper county and it seems like a great deal for people who are in need of land but otherwise can not buy it do to credit or large down payments. IT IS NOT. If you are thinking of using Hurdle Land and Realty or building in Jasper County please beware. The laws seem to be enforced for some and not for others.

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Code Enforcement is important and there are several agencies that should be working together to make sure there is actually enforcement—Code Enforcement, Health Department, and Sheriff’s Department.  By working together, they could make a difference.

 

TWG

 Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

www.taxdogs.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/taxdogs

Posted in Code Enforcement, County, Planning & Zoning | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

PERMIT A SHED & BUILD A HOUSE–CODES ENFORCED UNEQUALLY AND SOMETIMES NOT AT ALL

March 14, 2017

The lack of code enforcement and/or the partiality in enforcing the codes of Jasper County has gotten out of control.  Many times it appears if you know the right people, you can get away with doing things that others can not.

When a permit is applied for and received to build a utility building approximately 8’x10’, that doesn’t allow you to add on and make a house out of it without other permits.  However, this is what happens more often than you would think.

Here is picture of what was permitted:

Here is picture of what is there now:

The “house” violates all sorts of codes, including no electric, no water, and square footage requirements, among others, including a citation as “unsafe to occupy.”  A generator is used for electric at night and can be heard by the neighbors. 

This picture shows the water source for the house.

Reportedly there were meetings with Brad Cherry, Shane Sealy, David Mercer (health inspector), and Mike Benton; a citation was finally served.  However, the owner continues to live in the house despite violations.  Others with legitimate permits building a house or other structure, are given stop work orders, told they can’t go on the property, etc. 

The owner did have to go to Magistrate Court and swore in court that he did not live there, yet this is the address where he was served papers to appear in court.  Instead of having a hearing and doing something about the many violations, the Solicitor (who is supposed to represent the county) made a deal for a $350 fine and 6 months probation.  Acts like this do nothing but undermine the codes of Jasper County and encourage others to break the law. 

Approximately 2 years ago, another property owner built a storage shed, and eventually added water and sewerage to it and stayed there occasionally.  Code Enforcement made them pay all permit fees and impact fees, then doubled the fees as a penalty.  The cost was over $2800.   The electric was also turned off without notice.  There was no time and effort wasted on court because the laws are clear and code enforcement should be doing their job—for ALL violators.  If they can’t be enforced equally, then do away with the laws.

What makes people angry is the favoritism and partiality in enforcing all the laws—whether they are zoning violations, noise violations, other illegal acts, or code enforcement.  Commissioners have been informed of several problems.  Their job is to make sure county manager Mike Benton does his job in overseeing Shane Sealy, who is over Code Enforcement, P&Z, and Animal Control. 

We do not want code enforcement to be only for those that don’t have the benefit of friends in the right places or don’t have political pull.

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

www.taxdogs.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/taxdogs

Posted in Code Enforcement, County, Planning & Zoning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments