Brown: HB 240 could have saved the budget

He grabbed the paper with conviction and read the letter from Standard & Poor’s giving a glowing picture of the county government’s finances. There it was with proof and certainty, nothing else need be said.

The error Commissioner Lee Hearn made in his best attempt at dodging accountability for a looming crisis was he forgot the large audience was a group of seasoned, intelligent people not willing to eat the propaganda.

Standard & Poor’s was one of the primary entities responsible for our devastating economic crash, giving high ratings to large financial firms and their worthless collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) that causes millions in our population to go broke. How appropriate that Commissioner Hearn try to pull the wool over our eyes in such similar fashion.

The county’s budget outlook is dreadful. However, let me make it very clear that the county staff and the constitutional officers other than the Board of Commissioners are not to blame.

The decisions and sometimes lack of decisions of the Board of Commissioners, past and present, has put us on a course where the county government closes budget deficits by deferring multimillion dollar charges for maintenance and equipment purchases, borrowing from those line items, adding additional expenses without the revenue to pay for them and attempting to convince the public we have a much better position than what actually exists.

Just like the destruction the major financial institutions brought upon us through a fraudulent derivatives market, a majority of our Board of Commissioners is setting us up for a crash.

The county government, from the previous administration to present, is engaged in deficit budgeting along with the consistent deferral of obligatory expenses.

By obligatory, I mean things like building repair, vehicle and equipment purchases. In FY 2011, as was also the case in FY 2010, there were no vehicles or heavy equipment budgeted as part of our replacement cycle. The sheriff’s deputies require a vehicle, so to ignore the replacement cycle is not in our best interest.

With revenue consistently faltering, expenses growing and maintenance and capital projects deferred, we are plowing deeper into an unsustainable financial crisis. Events are rarely kind to those who keep kicking the can down the road.

The phrases “fiscally conservative” or “fiscally sound” should not be used in relation to the decisions our Board of Commissioners have made over the last several years.

With the financial staff’s clear warning that revenues would continue to decline in FY 2011, the previous Board of Commissioners did not take the necessary steps to prevent the county’s Fire Fund from plunging into red ink. Similarly, the three current members from that previous board made a decision at the last meeting that will introduce the erosion of funding in the EMS Fund.

Now keep in mind that in late 2010 (FY 2011), knowing the Fire Fund was going to crash, knowing our deficit gap would be larger in FY 2012, the previous board decided to award an unbudgeted $645,000 “performance” bonus to the employees. Does this make sense to anyone? This goes on and on.

Chairman Herb Frady did not care for my pointing out the serious flaws in the budgeting process. Neither Frady nor Commissioner Hearn nor Commissioner Robert Horgan contested my factual remarks as they were taken from county documents.

We had an opportunity to greatly improve our budgetary position through a new piece of state legislation dubbed “HB 240.” It was abundantly clear to many that we as taxpayers would be able to dodge a major financial hit and future widening deficits by using the new legislation that allowed us to use SPLOST funds already paid and dedicated to projects not worthy of building to make our future budget whole and produce some tax breaks for the citizens.

My effort to salvage the budget through HB 240 was doomed from the start as Frady, Hearn and Horgan railroaded my presentation, not allowing me to speak at the June 9 meeting.

At the June 29 meeting Frady claimed their prior suppression of my proposal was unavoidable, which is a huge lie because the county attorney clearly told them the decision to allow me to speak was dependent upon whatever they decided to do at the time.

At the recent June 23 meeting, the three-member majority had directed the county attorney to try to derail my proposal by citing possible technicalities.

Our county attorney’s desperate attempts at trying to derail the HB 240 proposal were so farfetched that ordinary citizens sitting in the audience who had read the bill were shaking their heads in disbelief.

I understand how the game is played and that the staff has to follow the lead of the voting majority on the Board of Commissioners, but the effort to placate Frady, Hearn and Horgan was so over the top, literally cherry-picking language from the bill and giving bizarre explanations, that it only strengthened my case.

At one point the county attorney began jabbering on about when the referendum elections could be held, making some absurd claims, and he ultimately admitted he had very little knowledge on the subject.

The county attorney also pointed out the county had no general obligation debt to pay down under part of the requirements of HB 240, but even he knew the blatantly obvious answer was we would simply take the deferred maintenance and capital items and place them in a general obligation bond instrument as part of the required referendum.

As I pointed out during the discussion, the extreme worst case scenario with using HB 240, which neither the county attorney nor the three-member majority could challenge, was the county would give the Fayette County taxpayers the largest tax break in the history of the county in FY 2012 and the Board of Commissioners could raise the millage rate in FY 2013 to recover a portion of that reimbursement to save future budgets, costing the taxpayers not a single penny more in taxes.

Commissioner McCarty suggested that we seek the opinion of the state attorney general on what we could do with the HB 240 proposal and the county attorney, for obvious reasons, pooh-poohed that idea.

The important thing to remember about the June 23 vote to forego HB 240 is we will never get another opportunity like this to move a significant subset of funds into our general budget scheme with such little impact. The ability to take the remaining SPLOST funds and reinforce areas in the budget that were de-funded or significantly underfunded without raising taxes a single penny would have formerly been deemed an impossible dream.

To anyone looking at the numbers, using HB 240 was the closest thing to a “no-brainer” you will ever come across. Why would the three-member majority try so desperately to kill a measure that would cure so many of their past budgetary failings?

They forsook the financial stability of the county so that they could continue funding the construction of the much despised West Fayetteville Bypass. A developer welfare road project takes precedence over the financial well-being our county.

Many of our citizens are inferring corruption, and I will agree that there is no logical warranted reason to build that bypass. The secrecy and the behind the scenes jockeying to construct that bypass, to the point where the three-member majority will not even allow taxpayers to vote on repurposing the SPLOST funds, causes an enormous amount of suspicion .

There will be nothing but difficult choices left for future budgets in the face of the recent rejection of HB 240. In the end, we the taxpayers are the losers.

Steve Brown

County Commissioner, Post 4

CommissionerBrown@fayettecountyga.gov

Peachtree City, Ga.

johenry
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Cow Pie

You keep attacking the people and not the issues. If you are in favor of the positions held by the convicted pot user and the guy who puts his relative on the Board of Elections, just say so.

For most of us, Cowbelle, we oppose the W. F'ville Bypass and the mass transit. If you want to support it like Frady, Hearn and Horgan, go ahead and just say it.

More Cowbelle
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Steve, Don't let the door hit you in the ***

So let’s see, we have Steve “You guys aren’t playing nice so I’m taking my toys and going home now” Brown videotaped by a guy that drives around in a “Jesus Saves” panel van in front of a weeping “Doesn’t my RV for sale really pretty up the drive along Lee’s Mill Road “ Ginga1414.

Yes, I am the crazy one.

MYTMITE
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Boy, Cow, what a snob and snot you are! Or, is it that you are

one of the Three Stooges or a Mrs. Stooge? So, do you live in a gated community where you are not allowed anything less that a BMW or Mercedes, and then it has to be in the garage? I think you have chosen at least half of your name correctly it is just the 'belle' part that seems misplaced. Maybe you need to connect with the guy with the "Jesus Saves" on his vehicle. Sure will take a lot to save you based on the virulent tone of your post.
Just something to consider: Don't know how long you have lived in the area but I think it would be wise for you to be aware of the fact that a lot of people here choose not to flaunt what they have and to live quietly. They have nothing to prove to you or anyone else.

ginga1414
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More Cowbelle

It sounds as though you have been talking to and taking lessons from bad.

Deal with the facts, Cowbelle.

BTW, I don't have an "RV for sale...along Lee's Mill Rd."

Mike King
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Commissioner Brown

Steve, we've beat this dead horse enough. Very few in Fayette County are in favor of the West Fayette Bypass. We know who makes up triumvirate that is keeping it alive, now we ask that you determine factually what the 'carrot' is that make these three risk all their political capital for an unnecessary road.

You and I disagree on many issues, but the WFB is not one of them. There has to be a logical, legal or fiscal reason for these three to go against those that entrusted them with their office. Now is not the time for rhetoric, but for fact finding.

Surely, these three as a group aren't so clever as to keep you in the dark. Should you require help, you know how to reach me.

NUK_1
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Mike: I don't think most people care either way

...whether the WFB is built or not, or if they don't get a referendum on how the SPLOST money might/might not be reallocated.

Because of here and the comments over and over by the same few people and a 100 or so people showing up at commission meetings recently, it might appear like this is a HUGE issue to EVERYONE in FC when I suspect it's way down on most folk's radar. In talking to people, I don't get the sense that they really care one way or the other and assumed the commissioners would do "whatever" when the SPLOST was passed originally and that was that.

I think a referendum would have been good idea and neither the EFB or WFB is needed for the short-term future, but it's game over. This isn't a cheesy Hollywood movie where some startling revelation dug up by an intrepid citizen saves the day for everyone at the very end. It's being built already.

I don't chalk this up to corruption; I see 3 petty people who dug in their heels and put their egos out in front versus a guy who campaigned strongly on promising to stop the WFB(which is ridiculous when one person = only one vote) and doesn't tend to play well with others.

roundabout
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The WBP was shovel ready............

.........I saw a bulldozer working on it TODAY!

We do have a problem during this recession in that contractors are rapidly using up their reserves, piddling around for small bucks, and instead of expanding are gradually scaling back even further.
The banks won't lend them a dime.

As I have said before, we have not seen the worst yet of this WALL street
fiasco. The end has come to the borrowed money economy!
Afraid this is what happens eventually with improperly regulated money manipulators and gambling developers.

Next things:

Further unemployment
Stock market crash
European crash hurting us also
More bank failures from past loans
More and more crooks taking advantage of hard times.

Sad part is that no amount of bloviating by the Congress, The President, or others can avloid most of it---the damage was already done.

Action might help: such as: Full, wide open bond financing of roads, bridges, dams, water supplies, electrical grids, parks, municipal buildings, Children's centers, Special schools for our brightest, etc.

Say: FDR, loudly! If not---live with it.

MYTMITE
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Round, the Three Stooges have had a big shovel available for a

long time. They have needed one to shovel all the manure they are trying to shove down our throats.

Cyclist
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good gawd roundabout!!!
roundabout wrote:

Sad part is that no amount of bloviating by the Congress, The President, or others can avloid most of it---the damage was already done.

Have you finally come to the realization that this "hope" and "change" stuff was nothing but bovine manure after all? What the heck took you so long?

roundabout
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cyclist

Well, since no hope and change much was needed due to Bush doing so well, he didn't need to do very much! Isn't that what you said?

Davids mom
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Bovine manure? A rose by any other name Cy

A lot of voting citizens bought into the 'hope and change' thing without realizing the scent of the bovine manure that had been left by the previous chief in residence . Now we have a group of leaders? left in Congress (both Rep. And Dem.) that are more concerned with keeping their jobs than helping us out of this mess. Sad - and dangerous. Since when do fiscal conservatives contemplate not paying their bills and shirking their responsibilities to those we owe? I hope your vision is correct, and we end up paying our bills. The result is that Americans will have to feel some pain. . .equally.

Cyclist
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Davids mom

I’m going to remain optimistic that the "Guv" will pass a budget bill on the 11th hour and raise the debt limit. However, there better be some discussions occurring and soon. I don't see how, with all the federal programs, a workable budget can be thrown together in just a few days.

Davids mom
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Cyclist-Guv

I think they're going to try - by cutting the summer break and having the necessary 'meetings'. Let's hope. After all, that's why they're getting tax payer money. Enjoy a safe 4th!

Cyclist
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Davids mom,

"Let's hope. After all, that's why they're getting tax payer money."

Yup our tax money at work.

Enjoy the 4th; you betcha I will!! The boss and I went to listen to a small town "pre" 4th celebration. The community band played a medley of patriotic songs including Stars and Stripes Forever. My oldest "nailed" the piccolo part.

BTW, you do the same and give your mom hug.

Observerofu
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Doing the Right-Winged 4th

Going to listen to some bands eat some BBQ and then watch some Fireworks at Iron Park.

God Bless America and God Bless our Troops.

Davids mom
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Cycllist

Thanks! Relatives are visiting to add hugs! Congrats - I know your buttons popped on hearing your son's performance!
Happy 4th to everyone!

roundabout
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cyclist

Here is the way it will be:

Will raise the debt limit enough to pay certain bills for 60 days if the democrats vote in the trillion dollar cuts Biden worked out.

Then in those sixty days, agreement will be made on a four trillion dollar increase in the debt if the two trillion already spent on the "off the books wars" is a part of that four trillion increase.

A net two trillion dollar increase but for paying bills only through 2012!

Then they will have platforms in 2013 as to how to again raise the debt another two trillion (before the elections).

Variables possible:

Economy will get worse by 2013 and a couple more trillion will need to be found!

Economy will get much better by 2013 and maybe we won't need to increase the debt further (I doubt it).

PTC Observer
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Cy - Budget

Here's the bottom line, there isn't any bottom line in government. Money is "free" and there is no limit to it's waste.

As Mom says correctly both parties are guilty, along with the people back home that think they can steal from someone else with government power and largess. We live in some kind of dream in this country but it will be a nightmare in the end. The math doesn't work.

However the pain will not be equal, it is always the poor and the middle class that get hurt the most...always.

roundabout
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cyclist

Didn't say that!

The damage was even worse than I thought it was! Unmanageable.

Obama did stop a DEPRESSION, maybe. Is ending thwe wars (can't do anything that Bush spent off the books (4 Trillion when it is all done--including treating the wounded, etc.)

Do you know what "off the books means?"

Observerofu
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Lives under a rock

obviously.

1.That's to be determined
2. He has got us in two more so I wouldn't claim that one.
3. Obama has increased the debt by $4 Trillion and adding $1.5 Trillion per year. But I guess that's Bush's fault too.

Dude you rally need to crawl out more often.

G35 Dude
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Think about it Mr King.

What if the answer to why is corruption? Mr Brown can not accuse anyone of this without hard core proof. As for risking political capital, well I submit that only one of the 3 has any capital to risk. And he's the one with the most to gain. Frady has said that he does not intend to run again. Horgan probably realizes that after his drug arrest he had little chance of being reelected anyway. That leaves Hearn. You know the one whose family owns much of this land that will be developed. These 3 know that they are on the way out. Why not go with full pockets?

Mike King
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Think about it Dude...

...find the 'carrot' and then the good guys win. No rhetoric, hearsay, or what ever. Just cold hard facts would have each of the three cowering trying to avoid embarrassment, legal action, or their collective skin. If it happens to be corruption, better to air it out now than later.

The citizens of Fayette County want this project halted, and this is what it will take.

G35 Dude
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Where is Columbo when we need him?

I'm not sure that Brown has the investigative skills to find the carrot. He's a politician not Perry Mason. I'm sure that the proof is very well hidden. Maybe we need to hire a private detective before it's too late?

MYTMITE
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Alas, G35 Dude, poor Columbo j went to that great TV show in

the sky last week. Guess we will have to settle for Castle or one of the new guys, even tho' they have not proven the staying power of a Columbo--even his shabby raincoat is older than most of them. Could even use some good investigative reporter from one of our newspapers if they would only get interested enough to do some digging.

johenry
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More Cow Do-Do

That blogger is crazy. Your three buddies are whipping the citizens, not Steve Brown.

Frady, Horgan and Hearn do stupid stuff and you take a bite out of Brown? That's crazy!

More Cowbelle
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Steve Ran a Pretty Good Dog Park

But this is his second foray into politics and the second time he's encountered the Peter Principle. You can't treat your fellow politicians like dogs and get away with it. Dog's don't know any better.

ginga1414
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Cow, Were You There?

Were you there in January, 2011, when Herb Frady started his tenure as Chairman?

I was there.

This entire year has reminded me of when I started high school as a sub-freshman. The lowly sub-freshmen were treated like dirt by the seniors. The 8th graders were teased, mocked, humiliated, and bullied. The seniors would wait for 8th graders at their lockers and taunt them to the point of tears. The seniors stole our books and tossed them out second story windows. They played keep away with our books, homework, jackets, gym clothes and anything else they could get their hands on.

If a sub-freshman found themselves in a restroom with a senior, the senior would stand in front of the door to prevent the 8th grader from leaving. They would detain them to the point where the younger student would be late for class.

When my children were in elementary school in Fayette County, I wouldn't let them ride the school bus because the older kids would throw books, jackets, and lunches out the bus windows. I drove behind many school buses in Fayette County and whenever I saw something go out the window, I stopped, retrieved the item, followed the bus to its destination and gave the item to the bus driver.

It has been the same school prank scenario at the Fayette Commission Meetings since Frady, Horgan, and Hearn became the senior commissioners. I have witnessed it and I have been on the receiving end.

They have played manipulative games with the new commissioners and the public.

They are power hungry bullies with a streak of vengeance thrown in for good measure. Frady, Horgan, and Hearn will very likely wreak vengeance on Fayette citizens during the upcoming July 6th Workshop Meeting.

Cow, please attend the commission meetings before you ridicule the people who are brave enough to stand-up for your rights.

bad_ptc
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MY GOD gigna1414! How do you survive each day?

"The seniors stole our books and tossed them out second story windows. They played keep away with our books, homework, jackets, gym clothes and anything else they could get their hands on."

"If a sub-freshman found themselves in a restroom with a senior, the senior would stand in front of the door to prevent the 8th grader from leaving. They would detain them to the point where the younger student would be late for class."

What a sniffleling little wet dog you must have been in high school. I imagine that the "bullies" would tape a "KICK ME" on your back too.

After you whined about it to the school principle and your parents, did they both tell you to grow a backbone?

"When my children were in elementary school in Fayette County, I wouldn't let them ride the school bus because the older kids would throw books, jackets, and lunches out the bus windows. I drove behind many school buses in Fayette County and whenever I saw something go out the window, I stopped, retrieved the item, followed the bus to its destination and gave the item to the bus driver."

ginga, you’ve got some real issues. There are professionals that can possibly help you learn to get thru the day if you let them.

Please tell us your kids aren’t afraid of their shadows any longer or do they hear voices too?

I now see why "Steve the wonder dog park manager" is your hero.

Do you still have the wall in your closet covered with his pictures and newspaper clippings with candles and a little alter?

P.S.
Steve, be careful who your followers really are; this one needs their shots.

MYTMITE
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Evidently, bptc, when you were little, no one ever told you to

have a pretty mouth. I feel so sorry for you--you seem to be filled with so much anger--it must physically hurt. It is one thing to joke back and forth and poke one another occasionally to get a rise out of the other guy--but not deep down hurtful meanness. We know you are a big, tough, hard shelled guy, you promote that here with every post. Not everyone is like that--and just as we have accepted you, warts and all, you should have the graciousness to reciprocate.

By the way, over the years I have learned it is smarter to put your money on the ones who have a soft side--they really come through when needed. The toughness is there, they just don't have to flaunt it--but they can bring it out when needed and it is least expected. So much more effective, don't you agree?

ginga1414
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bad, I'm Still Standing!

Whether it was from childhood or the Fayette County Commission, we've all known folks like you.

It will take a whole lot more than you and the three amigos to make me go away.

Do you even know the definition of the word "analogy?"

suggarfoot
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that is quite enough bad ptc

remember when you were on here bragging about killing a poodle with your glock? You haven't changed a bit. The difference is where everyone thought you were nuts...some are now afraid.

Please don't put anymore Marine quotes..real Marines don't like that. Hanger ons are never supported by the real ones that did the dirty. You are frightening people who don't know you kill poodles.

You are a real mental case.

bad_ptc
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suggarfoot, please get your facts correct before

you type.

I never said I shot a poodle, you did.

BTW, I don't own a Glock.

It's apparent your 'facts' are on par with BSS's. So far you seem to be a good little Steve worshipper as well. Do you stalk school busses too?

Steve should keep a close eye on his idol/hero worshippers for they are not all 'right in the head'.

P.S. As the phrase is credited, by some, to a Christian Monk in the 13th century all I can say is that the U.S. Marines chose wisely.

BHH
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bad boy, watch your mouth

butt wipe.

I have pictures of guns too but I don't flash them around for intimidation.

Everything here doesn't have to be based in fact.

Opinions and innuendos fly at the drop of a hat.

What "facts" of mine do you have a problem with?

Most of my posts are intended as thought provoking leads.

Any fool can just sit around quoting "facts".

suggarfoot
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Steve Brown treated them very well

The 3 Stooges made a mockery of him as well as the taxpayers. I'm still in shock we elected 3 cold hearted buffoons who turned their backs on the needs of the taxpayers. Nor have they shown a hint of intelligence.

I don't think being the mayor of Peachtree city could be equated with running a dog park.

Maybe I'm confused as to what you mean.

MYTMITE
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So, Cow, you are saying if Steve Brown had been nicer The

Three Stooges would have gone along with using the money for other than the West Bypass. If you believe that I have some wonderful swamp land I would love to show you. And, just how did Steve treat fellow politicians like dogs?
Ah, are you sure you mean the Peter Principle??

suggarfoot
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Steve summed the meeting in this statement

"I understand how the game is played and that the staff has to follow the lead of the voting majority on the Board of Commissioners, but the effort to placate Frady, Hearn and Horgan was so over the top, literally cherry-picking language from the bill and giving bizarre explanations, that it only strengthened my case."

suggarfoot
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Steve summed the meeting in this statement

"I understand how the game is played and that the staff has to follow the lead of the voting majority on the Board of Commissioners, but the effort to placate Frady, Hearn and Horgan was so over the top, literally cherry-picking language from the bill and giving bizarre explanations, that it only strengthened my case."

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