Things are finally looking up for the Albany Civic Center.
As of this week, the mortgage on the huge, 10,200-seat arena is paid off and the facility has a new director.
Timothy Mabe of Valdosta is taking the helm of the struggling facility, and his arrival brings renewed hope that the Civic Center can be restored to the active venue of the Irwin Ellis days … back in the 1980s, when Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, Foreigner, Kenny Rogers and lots of other top-name acts performed right here in Albany.
Mabe was most recently executive director of the Valdosta Lowndes County Conference Center and Tourism Authority and has experience in convention center operation. We are optimistic that he will be able to wheel and deal with concert promoters and attract quality entertainment to Albany.
We call on city leaders to support him and provide financial backing to land big-name acts and help the civic center become a viable part of Albany rather than a continued drain on tax money.
Tax reform still Isn’t happening
One of the loudest debates at the state capital this year was supposed to be over tax reform. We’re listening, but we’ve barely heard a word.
Lawmakers promised a long-overdue overhaul of Georgia’s tax code. An independent commission spent a year studying the issue. They made recommendations about how to make Georgia’s tax system more equitable while increasing revenue.
Those recommendations included re-instating the state sales tax on groceries and raising the cigarette tax. The General Assembly was under no mandate to do either of those things, but the proposals were apparently enough to scare lawmakers into silence.
The governor and lieutenant governor have both already backed off tax reform, saying it doesn’t need to be done this year. But if lawmakers don’t have the guts to tackle it this year, right after they all got elected, why should we believe they’ll take it on next year when they’re all running for re-election again?
The fact is, they won’t do it then, either, and Georgia will continue to operate under an outdated system that gives too many tax breaks to too many special interest groups.
We elect our leaders to MAKE tough decisions, but too many of them spend their time and energy AVOIDING tough decisions, even when it ends up hurting the state.
Written by Jim Wilcox, general manager of WALB.