Part One of Gov. Nathan Deal’s legislative priorities are out, and I’m giving him a generous “incomplete.”
Deal, speaking at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s annual Eggs and Issues event, revealed elements of the recommendations from his Competitiveness Initiative. More is to come tonight in his State of the State speech. So far, this is what we have in detail:
1. Bonds totaling $46.7 million for the expansion of the Savannah port.
2. Another $45.7 million for reservoirs, the second leg of a four-year, $300 million pledge from last year.
3. A commitment to support the T-SPLOST referendums across the state.
4. A proposal, as expected, to eliminate the sales tax on energy used in manufacturing.
5. A proposal to allow local authorities to waive the sales tax for “construction materials used in projects of regional significance.” More details to come. (Deal seemed to acknowledge this wouldn’t be the biggest deal in the world, but said, “This is one field goal Georgia cannot afford to miss,” which I and apparently much of the rest of the crowd took as a reference to the missed field goal in overtime that cost UGA the Outback Bowl eight days ago.)
6. Restructuring a couple of job-creation tax credits in as-yet unspecified ways.
That’s it. Deal specifically said he’ll touch on education tonight, and there were other elements of the Competitiveness Initiative (e.g., efficient government) that went unmentioned and presumably will be addressed sometime. But it would seem there will be no comprehensive approach to tax reform, to name one item on the agenda of many other folks at the Capitol.
– By Kyle Wingfield