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January 14, 2016

Governor Deal Outlines 2016 Legislative Priorities

Governor Nathan Deal this week delivered his State of the State address which included three shared priorities and core components of MAC's 2016 legislative agenda: Education, Workforce and Transportation.

Gov. Deal Official Photo-X3The bulk of the Governor's speech was dedicated to education reform, a topic the MAC Policy team will cover in depth in an upcoming post.   However,  key points include: a 3% pay raise for teachers, an updated funding formula for Georgia schools and the elimination of unnecessary or duplicative assessment tests.

Governor Deal also highlighted the great strides Georgia has made at addressing the state's workforce shortfalls.  In particular, Governor Deal touted the success of Georgia's technical colleges in closing the skills gaps of the unemployed.  Students enrolled in certain programs at the state's 25 technical colleges are eligible for 100% tuition reimbursement through the HOPE program.  The Governor urged the legislature to expand that program by adding industrial maintenance to that list.

Finally, the Governor highlighted the success of the HB 170 the Transportation Funding Act approved by the General Assembly in 2015.  Last year, Governor Deal warned that without action, a road that was paved when you graduated high school wouldn't be repaved until you were eligible for Social Security.  Thanks to an influx of new transportation revenue, the Georgia is able to significantly reduced this maintenance backlog,  The Department of Transportation is now able to repave roads on a 12-15 year cycle, significantly better than the 50-100 year replacement cycle projected before enactment.

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State Senator Vincent Fort delivered the Democrat response.  Check here to learn more. The Governor's address can be viewed on GPB here.