Deal offers limited preview of 2012 legislative agenda

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

14 comments Add your comment

Jefferson

January 10th, 2012
10:19 am

Why not start an ethenol plant ? The tax cut on energy for manufacturing is basically the same thing. Corporate give away. It will not add good paying jobs, just hurts the state’s ability to provide the services they are obligated to do.

carlosgvv

January 10th, 2012
10:29 am

Does Deal have any priorities on the following:

1. Doing something substantial to bring more jobs to Georgia
2. Doing as much as possible to make sure all Georgians have access to affordable health insurance
3. Working to help all the homeless in Atlanta and other Georgia cities
4. Doing everything possible to reduce Georgia’s crime rate
5. Working with the Banks to help those about to lose their homes thur foreclosure

scrappy

January 10th, 2012
10:29 am

Port, reservoirs, and 4 tax issues… gee, what a focus….

ragnar danneskjold

January 10th, 2012
10:31 am

Sounds like (1) spend, (2) spend, (3) spend, (4) minimal tax cut, (5) minimal tax cut, and (6) minimal tax cut. So much for constraining government. Too bad we did not elect a conservative.

Question Man

January 10th, 2012
10:33 am

Kyle: Considering your 1/6/12 Poll Position article, aren’t you being overly generous giving Governor Deal an “incomplete?” Since he didn’t mention many of your (and our) key issues, why not a grade of “D” (or worse)?

Kyle Wingfield

January 10th, 2012
10:38 am

To be fair, scrappy, he was addressing the business community. Those are top issues for those folks. So is education, which Deal said he will address tonight.

Mary Elizabeth

January 10th, 2012
10:38 am

Kyle, thank you for highlighting that Gov. Deal’s State of the State address will be given tonight. If the governor’s speech is broadcast before the joint session of the House and Senate tonight at 7 p.m. – and I am assuming that it will be – I will be watching. It may be broadcast on the public television channel where highlights of lawmakers’ activities are broadcast regularly, but I do not know that for certain.

From today’s AJC: “The governor said his budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, which he will release Wednesday, will reflect a commitment to providing k-12 education the resources available in a budget that continues to be strained.” I am so very glad to have read this. Placing priority on education will serve Georgians well, especially into the future.

Kyle Wingfield

January 10th, 2012
10:40 am

Question Man: Because I still need to hear what he says tonight and what he presents in his budget. But like I said, it’s a generous incomplete because there’s not a ton of meat to the proposals he did unveil. We’ll see if the rest of the agenda makes up for that.

Kyle Wingfield

January 10th, 2012
10:41 am

Mary Elizabeth: Yes, it will be on GPB at 7.

Don't Tread

January 10th, 2012
11:09 am

There seems to be a lot of sales tax waiving. Any ideas how the lost revenue will be compensated for? Restoration of the grocery tax, perhaps?

Tax cuts for certain businesses, paid for by the average Joe?

Kyle Wingfield

January 10th, 2012
11:29 am

Don’t Tread: Probably not groceries. Maybe used cars…

Mary Elizabeth

January 10th, 2012
2:51 pm

Kyle@10:41 a.m.

Thanks!

Hillbilly D

January 10th, 2012
3:46 pm

Probably not groceries. Maybe used cars…

Maybe he should ask Zell what happened last time somebody poked that hornet’s nest.

Denise Caldon

January 10th, 2012
4:35 pm

Interesting that Gov. Deal’s “preview” does not mention HB 206 – the re-introduction by Rep. Ralph Long for stronger Whistleblower laws. As the Plaintiff in a Whistleblower case that confirms serious violations by top officials at the Board of Regents of the USG and sealed by their attorney, our State’s Attorney General Sam Olens, this is not surprising. Gov. Deal just appointed Sam Olens the attorney for the State’s Ethics Commission Director – a serious “conflict of interest.” Olens mandates more “government transparency” and “Open Records” of others, but seals the facts in the cases he and his office defend. Our State’s Judicial System is on record that they allow the “At Will” termination of dedicated and ethical USG employees. One BOR violation disclosed and in place for years affects USG employees and students negatively statewide: the BOR’s Committee for Organization and Law never even reads the USG appeals submitted by employees and students as they are made to believe (Open Record excerpt – much more sealed). Support HB 206 for all Georgians. See: http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wabe/news.newsmain/article/0/0/1880792/Top.Stories/Atlanta.Lawmaker.Hopes.to.Re-ignite.Drive.for.Whistleblower.Protection.Bill