Governor Deal Highlights Recent Legislative Session at Valdosta State University

Staff Report From Valdosta CEO

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal visited Valdosta State University to commemorate the $32 million bond package that will create the new Health Sciences and Business Administration building. 

Interim President of Valdosta State University Dr. Louis H. Levy praised the support from Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, South Georgia Medical Center, the Chamber of Commerce, city and county officials and local business leaders.

In his speech, Deal recapped the recent legislative session thanking the legislature for working together so well. “We had almost unanimous support for all the legislation during this short session.”

The Governor emphasized criminal justice reform. “One in fifteen Georgians are under supervised care costing Georgia over a billion dollars a year.” Deal said more resources are needed in mental health care to restore those charged in crimes.  

Deal also spoke about tax reform and his administration’s Competitiveness Initiative. Among the highlights: 

  • Phasing out of sales tax on energy usage by manufacturers. 
  • Eliminating the birthday tax. Now Georgians only have to buy their tag. 
  • Marriage tax penalty reform, up to $7000 in tax credits for married couples. 
  • Increased sales tax incentives for farmers. 

During Deal’s tenure, there have been 467 new or expanding businesses creating over 30,000 new jobs and representing over $5 billion in capital investments. Companies like Starbucks, Caterpillar, Baxter international, Home Depot and Lowes have all announced major expansions into Georgia. 

In terms of the size of government, Georgia is spending the same per capita as in 1994 when adjusted for inflation. “With our improvements to our budget we added days back to the pre-k program. We are investing in craft skill education and implementing a reading mentor program. We have also maintained the low interest loan program for students.”

Deal stated that the size of the state’s workforce is at its lowest level in 14 years. “We are using the savings for the rainy day fund.”

Finally, he spoke about the $32 million bond. Deal said one of the first things he did as Governor was to visit the three bond rating agencies in New York. Georgia is one of only eight states with a AAA bond rating. Deal said that dropping one level to AA would have cost the state $11 million in interest in the previous year. “It is important to be responsible in our spending and to keep bonds within reason to maintain our rating.”