The end of the year is often a time of reflection. We look back and think about the past year. At GFFT, as an all-volunteer organization, we spend so much time scrambling to get things done that we often lose sight of what we have accomplished. At this year’s November Board of Directors meeting, Chairman Bill Fogarty opened the meeting with a reminder of our accomplishments this past year:
- People and legislators are more aware of us than ever before. Through forceful advocacy for the FairTax®, we have had an impact on the recent elections and gained increased recognition in the state. That’s creating political momentum to replace the current income tax system with the FairTax. That rising momentum is not lost on our legislators or candidates for office.
- During the year, GFFT leadership reached out to the political candidates in the November elections to make them aware of the need for and the benefits of the FairTax. David Perdue, in particular, had extensive meetings with our leadership. After learning the details about the FairTax and studying the issue carefully, he made passing the FairTax a major component of his campaign. His major opponent in the general election was against the FairTax and would not respond to our efforts to meet with her. We believe that Perdue’s strong advocacy for the FairTax likely made a difference in his election success in the primary, the run-off, and the general election.
- Americans for Fair Taxation (AFFT) is the national organization that supports the FairTax across the country and manages the website fairtax.org. GFFT leadership played a significant role in the reorganization of AFFT into a true grassroots organization. AFFT is now operated by 32 board members who come from the various state FairTax organizations. This reorganization will enable increased coordination of efforts on a nationwide basis. Three of our leaders are members of the AFFT board of directors: Jim Duffie, Phil Hinson, and Tom Brown. In addition, Phil Hinson heads up the Strategic Planning Committee and Tom Brown heads up the Database Committee.
- GFFT has mounted a significant effort toward our goal of having a State FairTax bill in the 2015 session of the Georgia General Assembly. This bill targets elimination of the Georgia state income tax and its replacement by a modified sales and use tax. We have established solid contact with a number of key legislators who are prepared to voice support in the coming session.
- Communications with our FairTax supporters is much stronger as a result of having a periodic newsletter and a more active website. GFFT has an editor for the newsletter and website, with several people providing content for both. We’d like to grow our base of content contributors as well.
- Two candidates for Federal office, David Perdue and Jody Hice, asked for and signed pledges to advocate for the FairTax. Both won their elections.
- GFFT prepared professional-looking binders containing extensive detailed information and research materials about the FairTax. These binders were given to political candidates who were interested in thoroughly understanding the FairTax and how it works.
- We expanded the use of the Trail Blazer Campaign Management System. Our online communications expanded and were directed more precisely at those in our audience for whom each message was most relevant.
- GFFT initiated a program to create FairTax Clubs throughout the state. The Athens Club became a model for how this concept can be implemented. With over 30 active supporters and 150 people on their mailing list, the Athens Club is an outstanding success. We believe that the potential exists to create three or four more clubs in a similar manner in the coming months in other areas of the state. To succeed in this endeavor, GFFT is seeking a statewide leader to volunteer to assist in the organization and mentoring of these new clubs.
- The Candidate Grading Project helped to inform voters throughout the state how their candidates stood on the issues of tax reform and specifically the FairTax. Hundreds of volunteer man-hours went into setting the criteria for evaluation and researching all of our U.S. Congressional and Senate candidates, and for the candidates for Governor. Numerous face-to-face meetings were held around the state to assess the knowledge and commitment level of the candidates, both democrat and republican. The results were posted on the website and updated as needed throughout the election cycle.
- Our organization leadership continues to grow. We added a new Treasurer, Al Abrash, and our new Board Secretary, Lisa Thurston. Both were also elected as members of the Board of Directors at our November meeting.
That is quite a list of accomplishments for a group of unpaid volunteers. And those accomplishments should be celebrated – at least for a few moments! The FairTax is closer to becoming a reality than it has ever been before. All of us should be proud of that fact and thankful that we have the power and opportunity to make it happen.
Of course, a lot more work needs to be done. There is tremendous resistant inertia among those with special interests in the current corrupt, dysfunctional tax system. Bureaucracies have expanded; special interests are always seeking favors. We need help from people willing to devote some time and effort to our citizens’ cause. We need more leaders to drive our efforts into high gear. Are you able to help? If so, click here to volunteer.
We also need more financial assistance. Your support goes to operate our website, pay for registration at various public events, create hand out materials, press kits, and materials for legislators. Nothing goes to salaries, offices, or travel expenses. We are a true grass roots organization. If you are able to help, please click the Donate button below.
AFFT, the national FairTax organization, is also seeking new members. For a small fee, you can become a member of this national organization. Legislators are more likely to listen to organizations with large memberships. AFFT will be sharing your membership fee with our organization, so you will be supporting two organizations at the same time! Click here to join AFFT.
Let us be thankful for all that we have accomplished this year. Let us be thankful for the volunteers who help propel the FairTax forward step by step. Let us be thankful for the legislators who champion the cause of the FairTax. And, let us be especially thankful for each and every one of you, our supporters. You are the energy that drives us every day. You are building the momentum that the politicians eventually must heed. You are the people who can make the FairTax happen! There’s much to be done, but with your continued support, we will succeed!
Georgians for Fair Taxation, Inc.