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Governor Perdue Discusses Health of Georgia's Economy, Promotes Efficiencies Achieved in State Government

Friday, December 9, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Promises Jobs for Georgia National Guard Members Returning from Iraq , Assistance with Home Heating Costs for Low Income Georgians

ATLANTA – Today during the 23 rd Annual UGA Terry College of Business Economic Outlook Luncheon, Governor Sonny Perdue discussed Georgia 's growing economy, rejuvenated job market, improved revenue forecast and efficiencies in state government created during the last three years.

“When I spoke at this luncheon in 2002, I had inherited a Georgia economy that was, some said, the worst it had been since the Great Depression.  I spoke then of the need to tighten our belts, live within our means and put the state budget on a diet,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.  “Now fast forward to 2005.  As I stand here today, three years later, our economy is growing again, more Georgians are working, state revenues are up and state spending is better targeted to our true priorities.”

Today Governor Perdue announced three initiatives – jobs for members of the Georgia National Guard when they return from duty in the Global War on Terror, funding for the Georgia HERO Scholarship Program and energy assistance for low income Georgians this winter. 

Jobs for Georgia National Guard Members Upon their Return from Duty

While discussing Georgia 's strong economy and his recent trip to Iraq , Governor Perdue committed the state's assistance to help every Georgia service member fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan find a job upon their return to the United States . 

“But I say to our troops now, if you do have trouble finding work when you get back home to Georgia , call my office,” said Governor Perdue.  “I will find you a job.  It's the least we can do after the job you have done for your country.”

Governor Perdue announced that his 2006 budget will fund the Georgia HERO Scholarship Program signed into law on May 3, 2005.  The legislation, which was dubbed the “GI Bill for Georgia ” provides Georgia National Guard and Reserve members returning from combat zone service with educational grants of up to $2,000 per year for up to four years of study at a Georgia college, university or technical college.

“Everything we hope to build in Georgia , and every dream we hope to attain for our state, is made possible by the shield and protection that they provide,” said Governor Perdue.

Energy Assistance for Low Income Georgians

As Georgians prepare for increased heating bills during the coming winter months, Governor Perdue also announced more than $10 million in funds for Georgia 's low income energy assistance program.  Governor Perdue's amended FY06 budget recommendation will include $4.15 million in the Department of Human Resources budget, which will be added to the $6 million already committed by the Public Service Commission.  The state of Georgia has received $17.9 million from the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).   

“I want to assure Georgians that my budget will reach out to our neighbors who need help with their home heating bills,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.  “Combining our universal service fund with direct appropriations, our state will provide $10 million for low income heating assistance.  Added to federal funds, this money will help over 200,000 low income seniors and families stay warm this winter.”

Energy assistance funds are an important source of protection for low income households because they help eligible families pay the cost of heating and insulating their homes in the winter and cooling their homes in the summer.

Text of Governor Perdue's prepared remarks is available at .