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MCCULLOUGH: The state's golden opportunity

Nate McCullough

Nate McCullough

As we head into another legislative session, everyone’s mind is on the budget.

The Great Recession, allegedly over, seems to be lingering, or at least its aftereffects are. Our new governor has already proclaimed more belt-tightening is on the way. People thought his personal financial problems made him somehow unqualified to have a hand on the state’s purse strings. I say who better than a guy who has gone bust at something and learned his lesson.

In addition to the cuts the state must make, it also needs to bring in additional revenue, but raising taxes on an electorate already stretched to its thinnest seems at the least stupid and at the worst just plain mean.

So I’ve been thinking, how else could the state bring in revenue? What could we do to put some more money into the coffers under the gold dome?

And then it hit me: The answer is not under the dome, it’s on it.

Gold. It closed Thursday at $1,371 an ounce. And the dome is covered in it, straight from the north Georgia mountains.

Why not sell it?

I am, of course, only partially joking. On the one hand, it wouldn’t net all that much. According to the Secretary of State’s website, the dome is covered in 103 ounces of gold, which translates to a little over $141,000. Not sure what state service that would cover.

But on the other hand, it would pay for something — say, three or four state troopers for a year — and as pretty as it is to look at, do we really need a gold-covered dome? Is it not a monument to excess in an environment of austerity?

Let’s say you just moved here from a third-world country, one of those dirt-poor places with little food or water, much less money. But your introduction to your new home via local news gives you second thoughts. Everyone is broke, there’s no money for anything, the future is bleak. What have I done, you ask yourself.

Then one day you’re passing by the Capitol and you look up. Wouldn’t you be perplexed by all the doom and gloom then? Wouldn’t you think, “the streets of America may not be paved with gold, but they have no problem gilding their buildings in it.” What problems can a people who cover their capitol in gold possibly have?

Selling it is an idea whose time has come. How fast can we get a guy up there with a putty knife and a bucket? I guarantee you they’d give us more at the pawn shop than they would for old class rings.

In fact, I’m kind of surprised that at nearly $1,400 an ounce some meth head hasn’t already climbed up there and scraped off some of the precious metal. It’s got to be more profitable than clipping catalytic converters or stealing copper out of air conditioners.

As long as you’re not afraid of heights, of course. Or looking stupid.

E-mail Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.