Four GOP candidates for State House talk Macon’s deficit, future

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – There isn’t any confusion which party will fill State House Seat 141 – it’s going to be a Republican. Four of them are squaring off in the May 22 primary to represent the northern part of Macon-Bibb and much of Monroe County at the state capital.

Realtor Dale Washburn, healthcare provider Shane Mobley, former Macon-Bibb Commissioner Gary Bechtel and financial planner Todd Tolbert are the men vying for Allen Peake’s vacated seat.

Several of the candidates are trying to tap into Macon residents’ frustration with the county commission, which is projecting somewhere between a $10-$16 million deficit.

“I do oppose increased taxes in Bibb county in particular, they have to cut spending and they have to reduce the size of government,” Washburn, who opposes the OLOST said. “I believe less government is always best and less taxation is always best.”

Mobley, an outspoken critic of new taxes is also less optimistic of Macon’s future because of its spending problem.

“We have a problem here, and I don’t think raising taxes and burdening the tax payers who are already paying more than their fair share we should continue to do that,” Mobley said. “The perfect representative is someone who says no, we’re seeing the effects of too much yes, that’s one of the reasons I’m running, because I’m not a yes man.”

Bechtel and Tolbert see Macon’s future differently.

“We are going to come out of this and we’re going to come out of it better and poised for more growth and more opportunity for young people,” Bechtel said.

“I’m a firm believer Macon is on the upswing,” Tolbert said, adding he believes in five or ten years that we’ll be wondering why we questioned Macon’s future.

41NBC also questioned the candidates’ opinion on the state of the Republican party. Mobley, who described his campaign as “Trump like,” isn’t fond of the status-quo Republican.

“I don’t want to assimilate in the current GOP as it is now in the state, I think we need a new approach, fresh blood,” Mobley said.

“That’s some of the things I’ll agree with anyone who comes up and says the GOP is supposed to be the conservative party which means less government and we have not gotten there yet,” Tolbert said, even encouraging the party to embrace Libertarians whose free market principles align with most fiscal conservatives.

Bechtel, if elected, talked about the party rallying behind eliminating, or lowering the state income tax.

“I think we can get a lot of Republicans to unite around that and a lot of Democrats whose constituents would benefit from that as well,” Bechtel said.

“Government if left alone will grow, public officials have to be diligent to keep it from growing,” Washburn said. “When does it end? If you say yes to another penny with the OLOST, then what is next, when does it end?” Washburn said, mimicking the concerns of a local businessman.

Election day is May 22. If there is a runoff it’ll be July 24.

Categories: Bibb County, Local News, Monroe County

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