Gov.-elect Nathan Deal on Monday was invited to address House Republicans who gathered at the state Capitol to celebrate last week’s thumping of Democrats and to elect a few new officers.
“I’m looking not only to be brave and bold but to also be cautious, be careful,” Deal told them.
The intrepid-but-wary Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1 FM) collared the governor-elect afterwards to ask him to elaborate – first on the subject of taxes. Listen to Deal’s full remarks here.
”I know there’s always a discussion of whether or not tax cuts translate into an immediate loss of revenue. And in some cases, they do. And obviously, the benefit of additional revenue that comes in from those tax cuts is sometimes a little delayed in the process.
“But that’s what we have to decide – how the formula works and how we can do it. Whether it has to be phased in or simply can take some of those bold steps early on.
“I do believe there are businesses all across this country that are looking to relocate out of high tax states. California, of course, comes to mind. I believe we have an opportunity to recruit many of those businesses….. “
O’Hayer: So are you saying you’d phase those tax cuts in if you had to?
Deal: It’s too early to say that. I want to see what the tax reform council recommends and we’ll go from there.
O’Hayer: You said to be bold but cautious. Bold where? And cautious where?
Deal: I think we have to be bold, to be willing to embrace new ideas. Sometimes when you have difficult economic times, the tendency is to just stay where you are, and not be willing to reach out….
The governor-elect was not invited to address Senate Republicans last week, who – rather than celebrating GOP gains – were enmeshed in a well-planned insurgency against Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, stripping him of the best of his powers. Let’s pick up the conversation:
O’Hayer: Will it be difficult to work with the Senate under the new power sharing arrangement?
Deal: I don’t think so. I think all of those individuals who are in positions of responsibility are good people, and I have a good relationship with all of them. And I think we can all work together.
O’Hayer: Are you disappointed that they had a power struggle so soon after an election?
Deal: Well, those are the kinds of things that come with politics, you know. I’ll let them settle their disputes, and I don’t intervene in theirs. I just look forward with all of them, and I think we’re going to do that.
As a matter of fact, one of Deal’s first decisions as governor-elect – after naming his transition team – was apparently to stay out of the contest between Cagle and GOP senators. So much for North Georgia solidarity – although we don’t know whether Cagle asked for his Gainesville neighbor’s help.
Then again, we can’t remember the lieutenant governor endorsing Nathan Deal in his August primary runoff against Karen Handel, who had condemned the good ol’ boy practices of the General Assembly. And this was after the Senate favorite, Eric Johnson, had been eliminated.
The other part of that equation: Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams of Lyons, the most obvious beneficiary of the Senate coup, was a strong Deal supporter. They went to grade school together.
So you might have to say that Deal’s neutrality is a bold but cautious move.
Often, when an office-holder switches loyalties, the spurned political party issues a good-riddance message to rush the bum out the door. But not in the case of state Rep. Alan Powell, who on Monday donned his vestments as a Republican. Noted by Blake Aued of the Athens Banner-Herald:
Democratic Party of Georgia Chairwoman Jane Kidd released a conciliatory statement on Powell’s decision.
“Alan Powell has been my State Representative, my colleague in the House and my friend for many years,” Kidd, a Lavonia native and former state representative from Athens, said in a written statement. “I’m disappointed that he has chosen to caucus with the Republicans in the Georgia House of Representatives. I’m sure he’ll represent his constituents with the same honesty and independence that has characterized his political career.
“He may have given his vote to the Republicans, but in his heart, Alan will always be a good Georgia Democrat.”
With the election over, it’s clear that many Georgia Republicans like their tea with a little salt, including a Georgia congressman who keeps a copy of the U.S. Constitution in his suit pocket. From Politico:
Conservative Georgia Rep. Paul Broun is backing Rep. Jeb Hensarling over Rep. Michele Bachmann for House Republican Conference chairman.
The endorsement is another sign of the conservative support Hensarling is garnering — Reps. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Spencer Bachus of Alabama have all thrown their support behind the Texan.
“Jeb has been an outspoken advocate for constitutionally limited government and fiscal restraint long before it was popular in Washington,” Broun said in a statement. “As a principled conservative and articulate communicator, Jeb has the energy, will and ability to effectively communicate House Republicans’ policies with the American people.”
It’s a direct brushback against Bachmann, who is running a campaign based on being a “constitutional conservative.”