Beth Beskin

Beth Beskin

Occupation: Attorney, member of the law firm Chalmers Burch & Adams, LLC.

Previously elected offices held: I’ve represented House District 54 in the General Assembly since 2015. I was first elected in 2014 and was re-elected in 2016.

Other community service experience: Currently, I am a member of the Board of Directors of Brandon Neighborhood Association, a sustaining member of The Junior League of Atlanta and an active member of First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. I previously served for several years as a Board member, including Vice President, of the Region 3 Planning Board of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

What is motivating you to run for this office?

I want to continue the work I’ve done over the last four years to improve educational outcomes for all Georgia’s public school children; to continue to strenuously advocate for property tax relief for Atlanta homeowners (passed the city of Atlanta 2.6 percent tax cap bill this year, which is on the ballot in November); by legislating for improved public safety; by supporting improved transportation and transit; by continuing to advocate for the best interests of Atlanta taxpayers as Atlanta considers future annexations and large-scale economic development projects; and to make sure that Georgia continues to have a competitive business climate.

What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it?

I think the biggest issue facing our district is the potential cost and impact on Atlanta taxpayers of legislation that also affects the metro Atlanta region or entire state. I will address this by remaining vigilant about the ramifications of not just state legislation, but also of municipal ordinances. For example, when Atlanta planned to annex Emory and the CDC last year, I advocated strongly to the mayor and City Council that the annexation area must come into Atlanta Public Schools, although the annexation ordinance initially provided otherwise. As finally enacted, the ordinance required the Emory annexation area to come into APS.

After the new regional “ATL” authority forms, what local transit priorities would you advocate, if any?

I will advocate for distance-based fares (common in other transit systems) and for reduced fares for delayed transit/transportation rides. Such reduced fares could be issued as a credit to the rider’s transit card upon exit from the transit system. Because of the “More MARTA” list of priorities adopted by the MARTA Board this month, I think the local transit priorities affecting our district have been established going forward for many years.

What is your position on reducing or eliminating the state income tax and why?

I voted in support of HB 918 this year, which will reduce the top state income tax from 6 percent to 5.75 percent in 2019 and possibly to 5.5 percent in 2020. I support all efforts to reduce our state income tax, with the understanding that Georgia must work to maintain our exemplary bond rating and must have sufficient revenue to meet our annual budgets, as Georgia is constitutionally-required to have a balanced budget.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.