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House Appropriations chair Terry England
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Leaders in the public sector have plenty of public resources to promote their political views, accomplishments and experience. Often the public record holds much more: personal and campaign finance disclosures, expense reports, and business, tax and court filings. Here’s what they show:
Terry Lamar England (R-Auburn)
District 116 (Barrow County)
Terry England, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, had to close his Winder-based farm supply business in 2012 but still owed the Georgia Development Authority the better part of $575,000 borrowed to consolidate debts in 2009. The property was rezoned in February 2013 to allow a church to operate there under a lease-purchase arrangement that will cover payments on the debt.
Farmers and agribusinesses are not required to pay off loans from the authority if they’re no longer in business.
“The way [the authority's] charter is set up, they can do that,” England said. “As long as they’re getting paid from that point forward, they’re happy with that.”
The authority, a quasi-governmental agency chaired by the state agriculture commissioner, makes loans from a revolving fund to help expand farming and agribusiness in Georgia. It is self-supporting and receives no state appropriations.
England has achieved the enviable goal of paying virtually no property taxes on his Barrow County residence. He and his wife live in a 14- by 80-foot mobile home next door to his parents’ three-bedroom home. That qualifies him for a homestead exemption that, combined with a conservation use assessment, reduced the 2013 tax bill on the 11-acre parcel to $1.25. (England also paid an $18 stormwater fee last year but, as any Georgia legislator can tell you, a fee isn’t a tax.)
He said he and his wife put off building a home, focusing on building the Homeport Farm Mart instead. “We’ve been working for years investing in our business, getting it up and going,” he said. England said he hopes to begin cultivating potted nursery plants there this year.
In November 2012, Gov. Nathan Deal named England’s long-time campaign treasurer, Wayne D. McLocklin, to fill a new Superior Court judgeship in the Piedmont Judicial Circuit. England co-sponsored a bill to create the position, needed because the circuit had the second-highest caseload per judge in the state. The language was later tacked on to a Senate bill that was passed and signed by Deal.
- Elected 2004 to the House, winning the Republican primary with 52.6 percent of the vote over Mike Pentecost, who had been campaign manager for his predecessor, Warren Massey.
- Re-elected four times since then with no opposition.
- England was an early backer of Rep. David Ralston in his losing 2008 bid to replace Glenn Richardson as speaker of the House. Ralston, who became speaker in January 2010, appointed England to be Appropriations chairman a year later.
- Elected in 2007 and 2009 as chairman of the House Rural Caucus.
- Agriculture & Consumer Affairs (2005 – present)
- Appropriations (2007 – present; vice chairman for education, – 2010; chairman, 2011 – present)
- Economic Development & Tourism (2005 – 2006)
- Education (2011 – present)
- Industry & Labor (2005 – present)
- Intragovernmental Coordination (2007)
- Natural Resources and Environment (2008 – present)
- England’s most recent disclosure listed him as an agribusinessman and farmer. The business, Homeport Farm Mart, closed in 2012 due to declining sales and competition from national chains.
Business ownership interests
- President & and CEO, Pete’s Enterprises Inc., doing business as Homeport Farm Mart.
Other fiduciary positions
- Board member, Barrow County Farm Bureau
- Board member, YMCA of Georgia’s Piedmont
- Council member, Georgia Future Farmers of America Alumni Association
Real estate holdings
- Personal residence on 11.4 acres, valued at $69,000 under a conservation use assessment
- Co-owner (with his parents) of a 4.1-acre commercial tract in Winder, formerly the site of the Homeport Farm Mart, valued at $388,000
- England’s wife, Cindy, owns one-third interest in a house and 22.6 acres of timberland in Barrow County, valued at $180,000.
- None disclosed.
Payments from state agencies
- The Georgia Department of Transportation reported purchasing $761 in supplies from the Homeport Farm Mart in 2006. The same year, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources purchased $1,582 in supplies from Homeport.
Friends and Family
- England’s wife, Betty Cynthia “Cindy” Casper England, works as an accountant for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service.
- Wayne D. McLocklin, England’s campaign manager since his first legislative campaign in 2004, was named a Superior Court judge by Gov. Nathan Deal in November 2012. England said he did not nominate McLocklin for the position but wrote a letter of support for the appointment.
England hasn’t run in a contested election since July 2004, but he’s collected more than $423,000 in campaign contributions in that time. More than half of those donations came in since he became Appropriations chairman in 2011. The breakdown by election cycle:
- 2004: $21,884
- 2005-06: $17,788
- 2007-08: $43,399
- 2009-10: $82,154
- 2011-12: $228,742
- 2013-14: $139,269
- Reported cash on hand (July 2014): $73,274
- $10,000 United Health Services of Georgia, nursing homes
- $9,500 WellCare of Georgia
- $8,500 Georgia Hospital Association
- $7,500 Corrections Corporation of America, private-prison operator
- $7,500 Philip Morris and its parent company Altria
- $6,900 Georgia Health Care Association, nursing homes
- $6,900 Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, lobbying firm
- $6,500 Centene Management Co.
- $6,000 Medical Association of Georgia
- $5,750 Georgia Industrial Loan Association
- $5,505 ARD Logistics LLC, auto parts supplier & government contracting
$5,500 Georgia Dental Association
- $5,000 Georgia Bankers Association
- $5,000 TitleMax, title pawn lender
- $4,950 Georgia Veterinary Medical Association
- $4,750 Republic Services & manager Brad Martin
- $4,750 Troutman Sanders LLP & chairman Pete Robinson
- $4,750 United Health Care Services Inc.
- $4,500 BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia
- $4,500 Georgia Association of Realtors
- $4,500 Georgia Pharmacy Association
In 2010 and 2011, England’s campaign bought $1,719 in knives from his personal business, the Homeport Farm Mart, as gifts at his political fund-raisers. England said Homeport provided them, at cost, since they could not be purchased directly from the manufacturer. In 2012, it bought a used laptop from Homeport for $199.
England’s campaign has paid Ed Cates, a member of England’s church, $19,374 since 2009 for work as a legislative aide and campaign worker.
Candidates may make political donations with campaign funds, allowing prolific fund-raisers to share their contributions with other legislators or candidates. Some advocacy groups believe such transfers should be limited to an aggregate of $10,000 per election cycle. England’s committee made these political donations:
- 2003-04: $0
- 2005-06: $8,000
- 2007-08: $7,250
- 2009-10: $21,800
- 2011-12: $49,050
- 2013-14: $57,900
Lobbyists have reported paying for meals and other gifts for England valued at more than $26,000 since 2006. The big spenders: the University System of Georgia ($3,071), Georgia Automobile Dealers Association ($1,555), Georgia Dental Association ($1,405), Georgia Power Co. ($1,373). BFF lobbyist: the auto dealers’ Bill Morie ($1,438).
- 2006: $1,062
- 2007: $1,418
- 2008: $1,812
- 2009: $1,592
- 2010: $2,585
- 2011: $7,658
- 2012: $6,151
- 2013: $3,650
- 2014: $369 through June 30
Committee days & travel expenses
When the Legislature is out of session, members may collect $173 per diem, plus mileage, for attending a committee meeting or conducting other official business. (Per diem was $127 prior to 2007.) Lawmakers living within 50 miles of the Capitol are taxed on these payments, which were originally intended to cover out-of-town members’ food and lodging. England more or less doubled his committee days with the extra work that came with his assignment to a leadership position on Appropriations in 2010. Here’s the annual breakdown, based on the year in which the expenses were paid:
- 2005: $5,301 (16 days)
- 2006: $7,955 (24 days)
- 2007: $12,143 (38 days)
- 2008: $11,080 (32 days)
- 2009: $8,007 (36 days)
- 2010: $13,799 (64 days) #5 in House
- 2011: $14,748 (68 days) #4 in House
- 2012: $13,428 (64 days) #3 in House
- 2013: $16,444 (73 days) #2 in House
– Reported by Chelsea Cariker and Jim Walls
Chelsea Cariker is a student reporter with The News Enterprise, an investigative reporting initiative of the Emory University Journalism Program.
Posted Feb. 25, 2013; updated July 13, 2014