Competition is steep for this year’s District 6 State Senate election. and now includes more Republican territory in Sandy Springs and Buckhead. Incumbent State Sen. Doug Stoner (D-Smyrna) has three Republicans vying to be his competitor in the November election.
Smyrna-Vinings Patch sat down with one of the candidates to hear his thoughts on the issues facing District 6. Drew Ellenburg is a fifth generation Atlantan who attended Marietta High School and started his first furniture business in Smyrna. He and his wife Mary Elizabeth live in Buckhead with their two children.
Why He’s Running: "About a year-and-a-half ago, I just got fed up with government and I said I’m going to run for the highest possible position that I can run for and I’m going to put my own money into it. I’m not going to take any money from lobbyists. I’m going to do it the old fashioned way."
The Economy: "Our surrounding states, Tennessee has zero (personal income tax). Florida has zero, so we’re wedged in between two states that are getting a lot of jobs—a lot of corporate jobs. And a lot of the reason is our personal income tax is so high.
"I believe we’ve got to lower our personal income tax and I don’t think you lower it from six (percent) to zero quickly. You do an extended plan. Maybe a five-year plan or maybe an eight-year plan and you drop it a point or maybe half a point. You really work in to getting that personal income tax lowered. Then you have to offset it because you have to get money in to replace that. For me I think the port could be a great way—that’s just an idea I’ve had as a businessman—you could definitely offset it with tariffs there. I’m definitely for consumption tax. You could offset it with that. Whether that be cigarettes or strip clubs or something of that nature."
"Georgia has an ad valorem tax. I’m in the wholesale furniture business and if I sell my product to a retail store and he buys it in November and doesn’t sell the product by December 31, he’s got to pay taxes on it twice. The inventory tax then he has to pay taxes on it the second time when he sells it. I think we’re not competitive especially at a brick and mortar retail store. We’ve got to figure out a way to alleviate the ad valorem, or inventory tax. That would be another way I’d like to promote the economy."
Transportation Investment Act: "I don’t like the idea of giving government almost a blank check. It’s $6.1 billion. I just don’t like the idea of giving government a blank check over a long period of time. We have trouble managing our only toll road. I thought that was going to be given back to us. So I have distrust."
"Frankly I’m not for light rail. You get less than three percent of the population that ride rail. Rail is for big cities. Not saying we’re not a big city, but we’re a sprawled out city. You need more of a dense city like Chicago or Boston or New York.
Atlanta is too sprawled out and I just think it’s too expensive. Look at MARTA. We have to subsidize MARTA to keep it going. For me it’s not the right time. It’s not the right time to add another percent to the taxpayers. Timing is the issue."
Want to learn more about the candidates and the issues facing Buckhead? Check out Buckhead Patch's election coverage.