Back in Session
This week kicked off the 2012 Legislative Session in Georgia. Both the House and Senate convened at 10 a.m. Monday to great fanfare.
Tuesday the Governor addressed the Georgia Chamber of Commerce's annual Eggs and Issues Breakfast and gave his State of the State Speech.
The State of the State speech signals the start of the 2012 supplemental and 2013 big budgets. Next week lawmakers on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will return for joint budget discussions with state leaders. With our budget situation stabilized and revenues up look for some new spending in the areas of education and economic development.
2013 Governor's Proposed Budget, State of the State
In his State of the State speech, Governor Nathan Deal outlined his spending and policy priorities for this year. He stated that the state of our state was strong, and he is encouraged by recent economic development success stories.
In his 2013 budget the Governor proposed increased spending for more than a dozen programs:
- adding 10 class days to Pre-K program
- $20 million to loan-interest college loans
- $147 million to k-12 education
- $111.3 million to universities and technical colleges
- $3.7 million for school nurses
- $1.6 million for reading tutors
- $1.4 million for new parole officers
- $35.2 million for added prison beds
He also announced that money will be made available for new flex shoulders and additional lanes on Georgia 400. The Governor worked with Brandon Beach and GDOT throughout the fall on the details of this proposal.
When it came to economic development Governor Deal announced two new proposals. One initiative would exempt large developments from sales tax on construction materials. The Governor also plans to work with legislative leaders to change the tax incentive tier structure. He also wants to expand these incentives to companies that create 15 jobs, instead of the 50 currently required.
Voter Registration Training
January 11th GNFCC hosted over 90 city staff, county officials and community leaders for "Deputy Voter Registrar" training in conjunction with the Fulton County Department of Elections. Local mayors, and other elected officials attended a program and luncheon to kickoff the new voter education outreach program.
Since it was determined after the 2010 census that 40,000 citizens in North Fulton are not registered to vote, the Department of Registration and Elections with Sam Westmoreland and JB Reed at the helm designed an initiative to register and update contact information for thousands in North Fulton County.
During the training session volunteers were deputized to provide registration services in accordance with new state laws.
Barbara Pugh, Executive Assistant and Lisa Ethridge, Membership Assistant were deputized. During normal business hours eligible voters can come and register at the Chamber offices.
Chamber Staff Visit Port of Savannah with Secretary of State Brian Kemp
Right before the Christmas holidays, Bernie Tokarz joined Secretary of State Brian Kemp on a tour of the Savannah Port, an important economic development engine not only for Fulton County but the entire state and region.In his recent budget proposal Governor Deal also announced he will recommend another $47 million in bond borrowing for the deepening of the shipping channel in the Savannah River while continuing to lobby Washington for federal funding. The new money would bring to $136 million in state funding toward the $600 million project.
The leadership of the Georgia Ports Authority are looking forward to partnering with GNFCC to showcase their services to companies in North Fulton.
- Join us Wednesday January 25, 7:30 for our Eggs and Enterprise Breakfast. It will be held this month at the Atlanta Athletic Club. The keynote speaker is Dave Ridley, Chief Marketing Officer for Southwest Airlines. Members can register online here.