Political notebook: Everson to greet religious leader

Rep. Melvin Everson has gotten to shake some pretty important hands lately.

He's met the president and was chosen by the governor to greet Vice President Dick Cheney during a trip to Atlanta last month.

Today, the Republican from Snellville will be one of a handful of people to greet the Aga Khan when he arrives for a visit to Georgia.

The Aga Khan is the spiritual leader, or imam, of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.

Everson, a Baptist minister, said many of his constituents practice that faith.

"I think it (the meeting) is an avenue by which we can grow our understanding of various religious beliefs around the world," Everson said. "I want to understand more about other religions. We have a good, friendly relationship."

Johnson votes for tax simplification bill

John Linder supports the FairTax; Hank Johnson supports the Fair Share Act

Johnson, D-Atlanta, who represents part of the Norcross and Lilburn areas of Gwinnett, voted this week to pass the Taxpayer Assistance and Simplification Act. He also supported the Fair Share Act, which closes offshore tax loopholes for federal contractors.

"Right here in America, taxpayers are being hounded by private collection agencies for unpaid taxes because the federal government allows it," Johnson said. "And the tax code requires an expertise in finance just to understand it."

The congressman, a member of the House Small Business Committee, says the new bill stops the practice of using private contractors to collect federal taxes, a practice that has been linked to a rise in identity theft.

In the bill, lawmakers urged the Internal Revenue Service to participate in tax clinics and outreach so that more eligible taxpayers will take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young @gwinnettdailypost.com.