Tuesday, January 10, 2012

State of State 2012

Governor Nathan Deal used his second State of the State address to remind Georgians that explorers faced great danger and uncertainty in founding this country, and the least we can do is sit tight and ride this economy thing out.
Looking in our rear view mirror, Deal said we maintained a balanced budget, added six more day's walking around money to the rainy day fund and kept the state's Triple A bond rating, which will help keep the debt service low on the conservative spending Deal will do to pave Georgia's future.

On the vision side of things, Deal continued to stress education, criminal justice and transportation as he did in his major addresses last year.

The Governor applauded the Board of Regents for their decision to consolidate eight state colleges and said Georgia must abandon the ivory tower model of higher education and increase return on investment by building skill sets that meet the need of business. He proposed programs to increase curriculums that teach skilled trades (James Crawford told GPB audiences that the Governor is basing his program on the Go Build Alabama program) and increasing the medical sector of the state's economy.

On transportation, Deal applauded the legislature for making the regional transportation sales tax referendums, but wouldn't get behind any of the vague proposals that might we might be asked to vote on this year. But the Governor will continue to put the state's money behind the efforts to deepen the Port of Savannah.

Even if Georgia does decide not to build and fill more prisons in the future, it will never not be tough on the Seven Deadly Sins--although I'm not sure all of these things are illegal, or even un-encouraged, in the state of Georgia.

Deal did spend some time talking about the things the General Assembly will probably spend its time not accomplishing this session, including zero-based budgeting (I imagine behavioral health and developmental disabilities would be a very selectable program to try this out on) and achieving meaningful tax reform (read some of the proposals Deal made to the Chamber of Commerce here.

The Governor's budget documents can be found here.

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