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Perdue State of State Text

January 11, 2006
from the Governor's Office

ATLANTA – With a growing economy and improving state revenues, Governor Sonny Perdue today delivered his annual State of the State Address before a joint session of the Georgia General Assembly.  The Governor formally submitted his Amended FY06 and FY07 budget recommendations, which are focused on educating Georgia ’s children, job creation and public safety.

“Today, I’m happy to say that our progress has continued over the last twelve months.  Our job growth has surged.  Our communities get stronger each day,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.  “We’re putting the dark clouds behind us.  And we have many more sunny days ahead.”

Education, Education, Education

            Fiscal Year 2007 will see an increase in revenue of $1.24 billion over Fiscal Year 2006, and today Governor Perdue committed 72 percent of this increase to education.  His education budget is centered around where learning takes place – the classroom. 

            “My education budget has a strong classroom focus because the classroom is where learning happens,” said Governor Perdue.  “It is only common sense that we should spend our education dollars where they can do the most good and have the biggest direct impact on student achievement.”

The Governor reiterated his plans for education, including:

  • A four percent across-the-board pay raise for teachers, with more than 50 percent of teachers receiving a seven percent pay raise;
  • Requiring local school districts to spend at least 65 percent of their budgets in the classroom;
  • $163 million for class size reductions in kindergarten through eighth grade;
  • $447 million in bonds for classroom construction, new equipment and buying 1000 new school buses; and
  • $23.3 million to raiseGeorgia’s graduation rates, including a High School Completion Counselor in every high school.

Governor Perdue also discussed two new proposals for education during the State of the State Address – a gift card for teachers to purchase classroom supplies and a plan to recruit high performance principles. 

Teachers often make purchases for their classroom out of their own pocket, using their own hard-earned money to better the learning environment for their students.  Governor Perdue’s budget includes $10 million to provide every Georgia teacher with a Classroom Gift Card.  Each classroom gift card will be worth $100 that teachers can use to purchase classroom supplies during the state’s back-to-school sales tax holiday. 

The Governor’s budget includes $3 million to recruit high performance principles to serve in Georgia’s “needs improvement” middle and high schools.  Of the 2,040 schools in Georgia, approximately 300 middle and high schools are in the “needs improvement” category.  These schools are the focus of the Governor’s High Performance Principals program.

Child Care Assistance for Working Families

            Governor Perdue believes that helping working parents afford child care is a practical step that state government should take to help create conditions for economic prosperity.  The Georgia Child Care Tax Credit will help families with the cost of child care, and will serve in addition to the existing federal tax credit.

 “For many parents, improving life for their children isn’t just about hopes and dreams for the future, it’s also a question of economic survival in the here and now,” said Governor Perdue.  “For today’s families, child care is a critical need.  That is why I am proposing we enact a Georgia Child Care Tax Credit.”

            The state credit will start at 10 percent of the federal credit in 2006 tax year and grow to 30 percent in the 2008 tax year.  It will return $50 million to working parents to assist with the cost of child care. 

Creating Jobs and Opportunities for Georgians

            Governor Perdue’s budget includes long-term investments to keep Georgia’s economy growing and innovative.  The three main ingredients for building an innovative economy are people, capital and infrastructure.  Georgia is investing in all three areas.

            “In the 21st century global economy we have only two options. Georgia can lead or Georgia can be left behind,” said Governor Perdue.  “I can guarantee you this – so long as I’m Governor, Georgia is going to lead.”

            The Governor’s budget priorities for economic development include:

  • Funding for the state’s Eminent Scholar program and the Centers of Innovation program;
  • $5 million to expand the state’s Seed Capital Fund for early stage bioscience entrepreneurs;
  • $5 million for the Life Sciences Facilities Fund to help provide growing bioscience firms with resources to continue to grow;
  • $38 million in bonds for the construction of a Nanotechnology Research Center at Georgia Tech to establish Georgia as a global leader in nanotechnology; and
  • $2 million for seed research on developing alternative fuels.

Governor Perdue also announced a Broadband Initiative to ensure that every Georgia community has broadband connectivity that individuals and businesses need.  The OneGeorgia Authority will establish a $5 million grant program to support rural broadband access.   The Georgia Technology Authority will spend $5 million to bring wireless broadband (WiFi) to three Georgia cities.

 “With these, and the many other investments included in my budget, we will continue Georgia’s transformation into a State of Innovation that will provide a growing economy, good jobs and thriving communities for our citizens,” said Governor Perdue.

Safe Communities for Georgia Citizens

            Keeping in line with one of the major themes of the Governor’s administration, a safe Georgia, Governor Perdue announced two major public safety initiatives – funding for more prison beds and a GBI “MethForce.”

            The Governor’s budget includes $45 million to add more than 4,300 beds to the state prison system to reduce the jail backlog burden on county jails and $1 million to target and investigate meth-related crimes statewide.

“We will not allow the scourge of meth abuse to run unchecked.  Georgia will fight back and Georgia will win,” said Governor Perdue.

$2 Billion Dollars in Tax Relief

            The state of Georgia has provided $2 billion dollars in tax relief to the citizens of Georgia during the Governor’s term in office. 

            “Whenever government takes more than it needs of your money we have a responsibility to give it back. And that is exactly what my budget does,” said Governor Perdue.

            The tax relief provided includes:

  • Governor Perdue’s senior tax relief will give Georgia seniors $285 million in tax savings;
  • $77 million returned to taxpayers last fall when gas prices brought a revenue windfall to state government;
  • Up to $20 million will be returned to taxpayers this winter with a 50 percent reduction in the sales tax on natural gas;
  • $60 million in tax relief for small business and reform of the corporate tax system;
  • The proposed Land Conservation Tax Credit provides tax savings of up $250,000 for land donated by individuals, and $500,000 for corporate donations;
  • The annual back-to-school sales tax holiday helps save Georgia parents more than $10 million;
  • Military income is exempted for National Guard members, a savings of $4.5 million; and
  • Millions of dollars in property tax relief by fully funding the homestead tax exemption at $434 million.

Guaranteed Jobs for Returning Members of Georgia’s 48th Brigade

            Governor Perdue concluded his State of the State Address by encouraging the legislature and Georgia employers to join him in the state’s effort to guarantee employment for the members of Georgia’s 48th Brigade upon their return from service in the Global War on Terror.

            “This is the year the 48th comes home.  And the least we can do as we welcome them back is ensure that every returning service member finds a job waiting for them in Georgia,” said Governor Perdue.  “As their Governor and commander-in-chief, I have made a solemn pledge to our Guard members that this will be true.

    • See a PDF file of the governor's budget breakdown here.

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