Governor Perdue Focuses on Children, Jobs and Ethics During the State of the State Address
|Wednesday, January 12, 2005||
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Governor vows not to return to careless spending
ATLANTA, GA – Before a joint session of the Georgia legislature, Governor Sonny Perdue outlined his vision for the state of Georgia during the annual State of the State Address in the House Chamber of the Capitol. The Governor formally submitted his Amended FY05 and FY06 budget focusing on educating and protecting children, creating jobs for Georgia citizens and governing ethically, efficiently and effectively. The Governor’s theme conveyed his plan to limit the growth of government and focus the fruits of the recovering economy on Georgia’s priorities.
“The path to reaching greatness may surprise you. It is not a path of growing government. It is not a path of more programs, more spending and more rules and regulations. No, our greatness does not come from our government. It comes from nearly nine million people who call Georgia home,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.
Education and Protecting our Children
During the speech, Governor Perdue announced that the state will invest more than half its total budget in education, including a two-percent pay raise for all teachers and full funding for enrollment growth. The Governor announced his ‘Master Teacher’ program, which will recognize educators for gains in student achievement. Teachers who earn the master teacher certification will also be able to serve as an academic coach to further the development of other public school teachers.
The Governor also announced his Georgia Virtual High School initiative, an internet-based public high school that will give students in any region of the state access to Advanced-Placement (AP) courses, summer school courses, and other advanced science and math courses. “Mere geography shouldn’t prevent our brightest students from doing their very best work,” said Governor Perdue.
The Governor reiterated his recent budget announcement to fund 500 new caseworkers for the Division of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) to reduce caseloads and enable workers to better protect children in the custody of the state.
Creating Jobs and Increasing Tourism for Georgians
In the last twelve months, Georgia has added more than 39,000 jobs. In his speech, the Governor pledged to continue job growth in Georgia by helping small business owners with a tax deduction for those headquartered in the state. He also announced a plan for Georgia Small Business Regulatory Reform, a plan to reduce the unintended economic impact of regulations on small businesses.
The Strategic Industries and Innovation Initiative will allow for a $500 per job tax credit bonus for each new full-time position created by existing business enterprises and designated strategic industries that have been headquartered in the state for three or more years.
The Governor announced a series of plans to boost tourism in Georgia through coordinated marketing and branding efforts to better promote Georgia’s heritage and history. “Georgia is the soul of the south with hometowns, heritage and hospitality that draws visitors from all around the world,” he said.
Governing Ethically, Efficiently and Effectively
Governor Perdue discussed his Faith and Family Services legislation to amend the Georgia Constitution to allow faith-based service organizations the opportunity to compete for state funds without facing discrimination. “Lets fix the part of our constitution that outlaws the kind of work these good people do,” said Governor Perdue.
For the third year in a row, the Governor has introduced ethics legislation, prohibiting nepotism and a ‘revolving door’ of public officials becoming high paid lobbyists upon retirement from public service. “The people of Georgia want this done, and I expect a strong ethics bill to reach my desk by the end of the session,” he said.
The Governor highlighted his Commission for a New Georgia, a group of men and women from outside government who volunteer to study state government practices in an effort to find more efficient ways to do business. Among the Commission’s recommendations, the state is now auctioning surplus items online. As an example, the Governor announced that in the first week of an eBay auction, the state accumulated 55 bids for a 40-year old truck, ultimately selling it for $5,000 to a buyer in Percy, California.
The Governor discussed plans to reduce the state’s vehicle fleet by 2,000 and catalog all land and buildings owned and leased by the state. “Would you buy stock in a company that didn’t know what property it owned? I wouldn’t and I wouldn’t expect you to either,” said Governor Perdue.