Name: Chuck Hufstetler
Office sought: State Senate District 52
Occupation: Anesthetist at Redmond HCA Hospital
What specific issues would you like to focus on in the Georgia General Assembly next year and why do they resonate with you?
I will work on a fiscal transition to more consumption taxes and less income driven taxes. Georgia’s revenue structure is not sustainable. We will also aim to eliminate tax credits that no longer make sense and create a broader tax with less exemptions. This will be a 2-year process. I will continue to work on improved data analytics, consistency and ensure accessibility to all our web services and protect consumers from bad actor data brokers. I will continue to push for a national average tobacco tax where the additional health costs are less subsidized by other taxes and will also improve our overall health.
Our community is a leader in training our officers to de-escalate situations. Areas that do not, such as Glynn County, I have gone after. We need to insist all areas of the state meet a new standard of training and help eliminate situations from getting out of hand. We must also insist in there being consequences to breaking the law and deal severely with those who destroy property and/or put our law enforcement at risk. It goes both ways.
Is there anything the state should do to help students, parents and educators deal more effectively with COVID-19 restrictions?
First, we need to listen to the health experts and follow their guidelines. We are also in the midst of getting broadband access to all areas and that is probably where the state can help out. Medicine (telemedicine), industry (remote work schedule), and education (remote learning) will all be using much more technology in the future. The only positive from this is it has accelerated the use of technology which will also make for a more flexible education schedule and allow rural areas to get better access.
Do you wear a mask or face covering when you go out in public? Why or why not?
I wear a mask at work in the hospital and I wear one outside the hospital. Seat belts reduce injuries and deaths in automobiles. Masks, social distancing, and hand washing are proven to reduce risks in our lives from COVID-19. Every time I have been with our governor, he is wearing a mask except when he is speaking at a proper social distance. Just like seat belts, there is no 100% guarantee by following these measures, but the risk is greatly reduced.
Wearing a mask is also an unselfish way of showing respect for everyone else.
State revenue is holding steady but unemployment claims remain high. How will that play into your budget priorities?
As Finance Chair it is my committee’s responsibility to bring in the revenue to the state. The marketplace facilitator bill I sponsored in the Senate is bringing in over half a billion in new revenue to the state this year and additional money to our local governments. After projections of $3-4 billion in annual losses we are actually up for the year. We must continue to be cautious though until we are past this and not leverage the state past what we can pay for. We balance our budget.