Editorial Roundup: Georgia

Valdosta Daily Times. December 5, 2023.

Editorial: Domestic disputes mar holidays

Sadly, during the holidays law enforcement typically responds to the most incidents of domestic violence.

This should be a joyous time, when people spend special days and create memories with family and friends.

In many cases, however, the memories will not be pleasant ones.

Domestic violence is a problem everywhere, including Valdosta, Lowndes County and South Georgia.

During this time of year, a large percentage of 911 calls and law-enforcement responses are the result of domestic violence.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline:

— An average of 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a single year.

— Nearly 3 in 10 women (29%) and 1 in 10 men (10%) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by a partner and reported it having a related impact on their functioning.

— 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the US have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

— Almost half of all women and men in the US have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively).

— Women ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experience the highest rates of intimate partner violence.

— 1 in 6 women (16.2%) and 1 in 19 men (5.2%) in the US have been a victim of stalking at some point during their lifetime in which they felt fearful or believed that they (or someone close to them) would be harmed or killed.

— Two-thirds (66.2%) of female stalking victims were stalked by current or former intimate partners. Men who were stalked were primarily stalked by partners (41.4%) or acquaintances (40%).

— The most common stalking tactic experienced by both female (78.8%) and male (75.9%) victims of stalking was repeated unwanted phone calls, voice, or text messages.

— Children witnessed violence in nearly 1 in 4 (22%) intimate partner violence cases filed in state courts.

— 30% to 60% of intimate partner violence perpetrators also abuse children in the household. One study found that children exposed to violence in the home were 15 times more likely to be physically and/or sexually assaulted than the national average.

— 9.4% of high school students reported being hit, slapped, or physically hurt intentionally by their partner in the previous 12 months.

— 1 in 10 high school students has experienced physical violence from a dating partner in the past year.

— Nearly 1 in 3 college women (29%) say they’ve been in an abusive dating relationship. 52% of college women report knowing a friend who’s experienced violent and abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, digital, verbal, or other controlling abuse.

— 57% of college students who report experiencing dating violence and abuse said it occurred in college.

The Haven provides services to area women who have suffered from domestic violence along with offering educational programs available to individuals and community groups throughout the year.

Schools in the Valdosta, Lowndes County and adjoining school districts have trained counseling professionals on staff to help young people address issues associated with violence in the home.

Our law-enforcement agencies have trained professionals who are often called upon to diffuse dangerous situations and to deal with victims in caring and sensitive ways.

Domestic violence knows no socio-economic, racial or geographical boundaries. It exists among all social groups and in every community.

Recurring domestic violence within families is something no one wants to discuss but it is a conversation that must take place. The culture needs to be changed and the cycle must be broken.

We encourage more public dialogue and more conversations among families, especially children, to make it clear that violence is not a solution to problems in relationships and is never the right way to express frustrations or anger.

Finally, we urge all of our readers to protect women and children and err on the side of caution by reporting suspected violence and abuse to law enforcement.

If you see something, say something.

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Brunswick News. December 5, 2023.

Editorial: State can afford to cut its income tax

It is high time the state cut its income tax. With a $16 billion surplus, a six-month “rainy day” piggy bank fund, the government of Georgia can certainly afford it.

With the cost of living going up, up, up, Georgians can use every cent of their paycheck they can manage to hold onto. Everything is rising, including the costs of all basic needs.

Energy is not getting any cheaper either. In fact, Georgia Power customers should brace themselves for another rate increase. The cost of electricity is expected to climb even more when the Public Service Commission passes the cost of the additional nuclear power generators onto already money-tight consumers.

And with Georgia’s economy expected to continue to grow, outpacing once again even the national economy, the Peach State can well afford to allow its workforce to keep a larger chunk of their earnings. For some, it may even be a matter of putting food on the table.

In theory, $16 billion would cover the cost of state government for six months. Just how much financial security does the government think is needed before it feels comfortable about leaving more in the pockets of consumers, the ones who earn it?

State officials have done an excellent job building a strong economy. While other states stood nervously on shaking legs and adopted policies that weakened their ability to generate sufficient revenue to sustain the cost of government during the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia faced the virus on steady feet and did what was necessary to preserve lives and save jobs.

The government, reflective of the Georgians they serve, is to be congratulated for its handling of the virus and its management of the economy. It was the wise decision-making of the state’s leadership that got us through the storm and back on firm ground.

Now it is time to return part of the harvest. It is time to give back to the men and women who did all the risk-taking and sacrificing: the worker. They are the real heroes here and are well deserving of a generous tax cit.

The men and women we elect to the General Assembly, Democrats and Republicans, will hopefully see to it.

END