Gov. Nathan Deal: Tax-free holiday weekend Aug. 1-2

Your Georgia Desk:

From Governor Nathan Deal:

Tax-free holiday weekend Aug. 1-2

Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 958, legislation that will extend the statewide back-to-school tax-free holiday and ENERGY STAR and WaterSense appliance tax-free holiday weekends for an additional two years. The bill, signed during visits to the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Atlanta Food Bank, is a direct result of the Governor’s Competitiveness Initiative and is a continuation of the Georgia Jobs and Family Tax Reform Plan originally signed into law in 2012.

“The sales tax holidays will allow Georgia’s families to save money on those necessary items for school and on appliances that will help conserve Georgia’s energy resources,” Deal said. (more…)

The Great Blue Hope: Michelle Nunn Tries The Improbable In Ga. : NPR

Republicans talk about Obama more than Nunn does herself, notes Andra Gillespie, an associate professor of political science at Emory University. She says that’s because Nunn is trying to walk a narrow line.

“Michelle’s Nunn’s challenge is … to figure out a way to distance herself enough from the Obama administration that she can appeal to moderate undecided voters, but not do so in a way that she ends up alienating the Democratic establishment such that they don’t help her out,” she says.

That’s perhaps a reason why Nunn so frequently discusses her position on the Affordable Care Act. She says she wouldn’t repeal it, but believes Congress should look at it and “fix the things that aren’t working.”

But she’s studiously avoided saying whether she would have voted for it in the first place.

The Nunn campaign is hoping to build on the support President Obama drew two years ago in Georgia, when he came within 5 points of winning without ever campaigning in the state. But Republican political consultant Todd Rehm wonders whether the moderate Nunn will be able to count on that support.

“Without a presidential race that brought out some new voters, some folks who had lapsed into inactivity, it’s unclear how to get them enthusiastic if you’re not willing to go to the mat for your president,” he says.

But there’s something that Republicans and Democrats agree on — Georgia’s electorate is changing as its population grows, with the number of minority voters increasing and the proportion of white voters shrinking.

via The Great Blue Hope: Michelle Nunn Tries The Improbable In Ga. : NPR.

Georgia Voting Out Veteran Lawmakers, And Their Seniority

The race for Georgia’s open U.S. Senate has been costly. And not just in dollars. One veteran Senator – Saxby Chambliss – is retiring. And three sitting Congressmen will leave Washington at the end of this year because they gave up those posts to run for Chambliss’s seat. That’s a whole lot of Washington know-how. All were card-carrying Georgia fiscal conservatives, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t bring funding back to their districts.

When Chambliss announced he would retire last year, it set off a scramble among Republicans in Georgia who wanted to replace him.

Congressmen Phil Gingrey, Jack Kingston and Paul Broun all threw their hats in the ring. Kingston lasted the longest. But last week, the 11-term Congressman lost a primary runoff race to businessman David Perdue.

Charles Bullock, a political scientist at the University of Georgia, says earmark is now a dirty word for Republicans in Georgia. But most of them want Washington to fund the Savannah Harbor expansion.

Kingston has heavily lobbied the Obama administration and its predecessors on the project, which would allow for larger ships which will soon start coming from the Panama Canal. So far, the money hasn’t come through.

“It would be helpful for Georgia, especially in light of the concern about the dredging of the harbor in Savannah, which will probably wind up costing more than anyone expects, to have a senior appropriator there to be able to use his or her influence to help secure that funding,” he said.

Some are cheering the exit of incumbents, given the anti-Washington fervor alive Georgia. But Bullock says Kingston holds senior positions on budget committees, and that’s meant a lot to Georgia. Replacing him won’t happen overnight.

“It took Kingston well over a decade to work his way up to become an appropriations subcommittee chair so there will not be a person there to look out for efforts to get funding in Georgia,” he said.

via Georgia Voting Out Veteran Lawmakers, And Their Seniority.

New Record For Georgia Ports | Georgia Public Broadcasting

Georgia’s ports handled a record number of units during the last fiscal year, according to figures released Monday.

The Port of Savannah moved more than 3 million container units for the first time ever, an increase of 6.3 percent over the previous year.

Curtis Foltz, the Executive Director of the Georgia Ports Authority, says an improving economy and labor disputes at ports on the West Coast have helped steer more business to Georgia’s ports.

“As the demographic growth occurs in the southeast, more and more customers want to come through our ports to access that strong, regional presence we have, and take advantage of really second-to-none highway and rail access,” he says.

The GPA also saw a record year in the total volume of goods handled. The ports moved more than 29 million tons of freight, up 8 percent from last year.

via New Record For Georgia Ports.

EPA Hearings Debate Takes Center Stage in Downtown Atlanta

People from all over the country gathered in downtown Atlanta to give public comments at hearings that could have a huge impact on the EPA’s new Clean Power Plan.

The Environmental Protection Agency released the plan last month, which calls for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. Under the plan, the EPA will set individual state-by-state carbon emissions goals. Opponents of the plan say it will hurt the economy and punishes energy industry workers.

Rep. Chuck Martin, R- Alpharetta, was one of the first people to speak at the Atlanta hearings on Tuesday at the Omni Hotel. He does not support the plan because he fears it is unrealistic and will hurt the entire economy.

“Ladies and gentlemen, if coal comes off the trains, all the other products that ride on the trains are going to get more expensive in your department store, in your grocery store,” said Martin. “If you don’t believe that that will have a negative impact on the economy, then we just differ.”

State Representative Mike Dudgeon, R- Johns Creek, spoke just a few blocks away from the hearings at a rally hosted by Americans For Prosperity.

“This is not about solar versus coal versus green. It’s about common sense and it’s about the economy,” said Dudgeon to a crowd of people wearing “Stop The EPA” t-shirts.

via EPA Hearings Debate Takes Center Stage in Downtown Atlanta.

Highway, bridge money at risk: Senate to vote – Northwest Georgia News: National

WASHINGTON (AP) — Racing to adjourn for the summer, the Senate scheduled major votes Tuesday on proposals to keep federal highway funds flowing across the nation — billions of dollars to avert layoffs for construction workers and shutdowns of road and bridge projects just before the November elections.

A smooth trip through the Senate was anything but guaranteed, and votes were expected to last into the night.

The House passed a $10.8 billion bill last week that would pay for highway and transit aid to states through the end of May 2015 at current spending levels, and the Senate was taking up that legislation. But some senators, complaining that the House version depended on budgetary gimmicks and wanting to force action on a longer-term solution, were expected to offer amendments. And if any amendments passed, that would set up a showdown between the House and Senate on how to resolve the differences.

via Highway, bridge money at risk: Senate to vote – Northwest Georgia News: National.

Cherokee Tribune – Amason to fight ballot ineligibility

Libertarian Jeff Amason said his “fight isn’t over” to get his name on the Nov. 4 ballot to run against the now unopposed state Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs).

Secretary of State’s office spokesman Jared Thomas said the Libertarian’s nomination petition was disqualified Wednesday because Amason’s wife acted as a notary, circulator and signer of the petition.

“Georgia law provides that ‘no notary public may sign the petition as an elector or serve as a circulator of any petition which he or she notarized,” Thomas said.

But Amason said his campaign staff was “diligent in following the letter of the law for ballot access petitioning.”

“We have a different interpretation of that clause,” Amason said Thursday. “Our notary never notarized her own signature.”

Amason said he will continue to fight for his chance to run in the House District 21 race this November, and said he is considering legal action.

“We are evaluating our legal position according to the code,” Amason said. “It will be a challenge to that portion of the code that they say disqualifies us. If we do file an action, it will be filed within the next week.”

via Cherokee Tribune – Amason to fight ballot ineligibility.

The Marietta Daily Journal – Kennesaw Board of Ethics tables talk of bullying

KENNESAW — Although the Kennesaw Board of Ethics plans to submit a revised version of the city’s ethics code to the city clerk later this week, it will contain no language about “bullying” or “intimidation.”

At a specially called meeting, the board decided to table the topic until their next regularly scheduled meeting in November.

James Walth, the board’s chairman, said the board decided to hold off on including the language for two reasons. First, he said the language they received regarding the topic was “too vague.”

Walth said if the board put the wrong kind of language regarding bullying into the code of ethics, they would be “inundated with ethics calls just because of personality issues between people.”

via The Marietta Daily Journal – Kennesaw Board of Ethics tables talk of bullying.

The Marietta Daily Journal – Smyrna eyes same sex couple benefits

SMYRNA — A policy that would allow the same-sex partners of city employees to receive the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts is under consideration by Smyrna officials.

Council members discussed the proposal at a work session Monday before agreeing to review the policy further, with some expressing support for the idea and others raising concerns.

Asked after the meeting, council members Wade Lnenicka, Andrea Blustein and Teri Anulewicz said they would likely vote in favor of the policy if a vote was held today. Councilman Charles Welch said he would likely vote against it. Council members Rob Fennel and Susan Wilkinson remain undecided as to how they would vote. Mayor Pro-Tem Melleny Pritchett and Mayor Max Bacon did not return calls by press time.

via The Marietta Daily Journal – Smyrna eyes same sex couple benefits.

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On Linkedin