Atlanta Forward: John Monds, Libertarian for governor

Government has hindered marketplace

● Part of that would be looking at tax reform and those industries that have expressed interest in coming here, we need to allow them. I’ve spoken out in favor of casino gambling, horse racing, Sunday [liquor] sales. Those are just examples of government getting in the way of businesses being able to provide services, and also jobs. I don’t believe government should decide winners and losers in the marketplace.

● You have two aspects to the budget problem — you have spending on one side and revenue on the other side. We need to, on the revenue side, encourage businesses to either locate here or expand here in Georgia to raise revenues.

On the spending side, we need to cut nonessential areas, or if there are duplication of services, we need to get rid of some of those.

● As far as the numbers, we’ve already been through cuts over the last several years. That doesn’t mean we’ve eliminated inefficiencies. It’s hard to actually nail down a particular number, but anything that’s considered wasteful or a nonessential service should be looked at.

● I’ve talked about addressing nonviolent offenders and lowering the rate of incarceration here in Georgia. That’s a way in which you can cut back on the spending side.

● There’s room for us to raise the sales tax, but still be competitive with our regional neighbors.

The economy

● We want mom-and-pop businesses. In some areas, instead of having to attract a company to bring in 100 or 200 jobs, if we could just have each business be able to hire one more employee, that in itself would stimulate the economy in rural areas.

● What you find is that, with the funding structure, that it still sees the state in control of the money and how it’s to be spent. Even with raising funding, what we need to look at is the restrictions placed on that funding. What’s a better way to have local control of revenue. We’d hate to have a community’s request for funds for teachers be denied because there’s only funds left for buses. Or vice versa. That’s what you get when you have to route funds through the states.

Federal dollars in education

● Of course [I’d like to see them] smaller. Those aren’t federal dollars; those are actually private dollars that have been taken from us. Let’s return to a limited constitutional government. I think there’s some things the federal government’s supposed to do and it’s laid out in the Constitution — and things that should either be left to the states or the people. We should look at education no differently than that.

Two Georgias

● There’s one Georgia, but the interests aren’t the same. The interests in a rural community aren’t the same as an urban community.

● If we diversify the economy, diversify the state — you know, we don’t run into congestion problems in South Georgia. So many things are centered around metro Atlanta, that if we could diversify the entire state, people wouldn’t have to move from Cairo to find a decent job and move to a suburban area. They would be able to stay in that local economy.

Transportation

● Part of the problems that MARTA was having was that they were restricted on funds they receive and how they could be used. That’s just another aspect of government getting in the way of what’s needed to solve the problem.

● Why isn’t the private marketplace, private companies involved more in transportation? Is it because it’s not sustainable? It’s better to have the marketplace determine that, rather than have it centrally planned.

● I’ve also heard people saying they would be willing to pay to have access to [highway] lanes that would avoid congestion. Is that an area where we can have private businesses be involved? I would think they’d be excited about being able to do that.

Water wars

● First and foremost, I think we need to negotiate from a power of strength. We do have the water, so I think that gives us a very powerful position in negotiating.

● If it wasn’t for the fact that the federal government is involved in these negotiations or court cases ... the states could probably work their way through it.

The John Monds file

Age: 45

Home: Cairo (Grady County)

Education: Graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in finance.

Professional and political experience: Monds ran in 2008 for a seat on the Georgia Public Service Commission, becoming the first Libertarian candidate in state history to garner more than a million votes. Monds is a former finance officer for Lehman Brothers. He also worked for a small airline. Monds is currently a stay-at-home parent and home school teacher for his children.

Family: Monds and his wife, Kathaleena Edward Monds, have four children.

Source: Monds campaign and AJC.com

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