Political Notes – Where are those numbers coming from?

[private]Public Service Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald got a little carried away earlier this week in a PSC hearing on the Plant Vogtle nuclear project and cited some numbers that appeared to be somewhat fanciful.

It happened when an anti-nuclear activist questioned Georgia Power executives about the financial justification for proceeding with the Vogtle project when economic forecasts show a softening demand for electricity.

“Georgia Power is basing the plant on 4.5 percent demand growth and that hasn’t happened. So what is the justification for the plant now?” asked Glenn Carroll of Nuclear Watch South.

“Let me suggest something,” McDonald interjected. “We’re bumping 10 million people in Georgia now, and under the governor’s economic development program and their forecasting, there will be another four million people within the next five or six years in the state of Georgia.”

“The problem is that you can’t wait until you get there and see that you’ve short-sheeted it and be without, because John Q. Consumer wants that light to come on when they flip that switch,” McDonald said. “They’re not interested in that forecasting. We are, but they’re not.”

As ESPN football analyst Lee Corso often says, “No so fast, my friend!”

Georgia’s population was indeed 10,097,343 as of 2014, according to Census Bureau estimates. But even the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget isn’t predicting that the population will increase to 14 million by 2020.

OPB has projected that the state population won’t hit 14 million until 2030 – which is 15 years from now.

Where, McDonald was asked, did he get the numbers to support a projection of four million more people in just five years?

“It was based on what the governor’s economic development people said,” McDonald said. “I may have cut it a little earlier. There’s no indication it (growth) is going to cease.”

He acknowledged: “I’m subject to being confused sometimes myself.”

Deal suspends coroner

Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order this week suspending indicted Lumpkin County Coroner Ronald Fortner from office until the legal case against him is resolved.

Fortner was indicted in August on charges of theft by deception and violation of his oath of office.

As reported by WDUN:

Fortner allegedly violated his oath of office by deceitful means by submitting cases unnecessarily by filing invoices with the Lumpkin County Finance Office for payment, according to the indictment.

Each count alleges Fortner received $175 in payment for a total of $3,150. The counts alleged instances between August of 2013 and September of last year. . . .

Fortner said the $175 payments are what his office receives for each coroner call. He said investigators looked at several coroner cases from his office, including 53 he said related to a convalescent center in Dahlonega.

“They (investigators) chose to say that 18 (calls) were not justified. Instead of sitting down and talking with us about it, they turned it over to the GBI. They came up and said that we overbilled the county for 18 cases, and so that’s what the indictments are,” Fortner said.

Kudos for NGE

The New Georgia Encyclopedia (NGE), which is maintained online by Georgia Humanities, has been recognized as one of the “50 projects of special significance that have enriched and shaped American lives” by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

NGE was one of the first state encyclopedias designed for publication on the internet and has served as a model for other state encyclopedia projects that sought NEH funding.

“As Georgia continues to grow and thrive, collecting our history and making it available to future generations becomes increasingly important,” Gov. Nathan Deal said.

“The encyclopedia was designed to be authoritative and accessible, and this recognition from the National Endowment for the Humanities cements the New Georgia Encyclopedia as a leader for the preservation of state history,” Deal said.

© 2015 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Bubba McDonald , Georgia Humanities , Lumpkin County coroner , Nathan Deal , New Georgia Encyclopedia , Plant Vogtle , PSC