December 7-- A 44-year-old conservative State Senator wants to be Georgia's next governor.
Michael Williams, a CPA from Forsyth County, represents the 27th Senatorial District in north Georgia and was the first Georgia politician to endorse President Trump in 2015, "We're ruffling some feathers. We're out there calling a spade and spade and not kowtowing to what they want us to say, but saying what we're really seeing and what the people of Georgia really want to hear," Williams said during a visit to a meeting of the Toombs County Republican Party.
Williams says he was shocked at what he found during his first term at the Capitol. "Down at the Capitol, we the people of Georgia are not represented down there. It's the lobbyists, the special interests, the wealthy elite and the big corporations," and says his first job will be to take on the process, "President Trump calls it the swamp, I call it the process."
According to Williams, the state budget is out of control and he will freeze spending, "It's gone from $15 billion to $25 billion in the past seven years, a 66% increase. I ask people around the state if they've had a 66% increase in their household income and the answer I get is no, they haven't, but yet the state of Georgia has. That means they're taking more of our money as a percent of our earnings and we haven't seen a 66% increase in services. What are we doing with all of that money? I believe we are wasting over $1 billion a year and we need to put constraints on our government to reduce its size instead of expanding it. The best way to do that is to stop the inflow of money," he said.
Williams owned a chain of 18 barber shops before running for office and says his experience makes him want to level the playing field for small business owners, "For five years in a row, Georgia has been identified as the number one state in the country to do business, but I believe it's the number one state for "big" business because of the billions of dollars in tax credits which we give out each year. We need to focus on growing the small business, the guy and lady who are out there trying to grow their small business and provide for their families.
Also, we've seen our earning per capita here in Georgia go down from 27th in the nation to 41st in the nation. All these job that we're paying for to come to Georgia, they are less than the average job that is being created in other parts of the country. We want to do more to helping develop and encourage hardworking Georgians who want to improve their lives," he said.
As an accountant, Williams has examined the financials of state agencies and claims there is little accountability for tax money. For example, he understands the frustration of city and county managers who can't get information from the Department of Revenue on monthly sales tax distribution, "The counties and the cities don't know what they're collecting sales taxes on. All they know is they get a check from the state and the state says this is your allotment for sales tax. There's no remittance advice and there's no itemization from where it came from. There's no oversight. One of the things I'd like to do with the Department of Revenue is to submit a remittance to the counties and cities so they can see where their sales tax is coming from so when it's up or down, they can see what's causing it. Right now, they are completely blind to it," Williams says.
After getting an endorsement for Roger Stone, one of the advisers who helped President Trump win in 2016, Williams says he is undaunted by his lack of name recognition at this point. He says more than 25,000 people have joined his campaign via social media in the past month and his goal is to be in a runoff following next summer's primary election.