Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 13, 2019

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for August 13, 2019

President Jimmy Carter was nominated for reelection as President by the Democratic National Convention in New York City on August 13, 1980.

President Ronald Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act on August 13, 1981.

The ERTA included a 25 percent reduction in marginal tax rates for individuals, phased in over three years, and indexed for inflation from that point on. The marginal tax rate, or the tax rate on the last dollar earned, was considered more important to economic activity than the average tax rate (total tax paid as a percentage of income earned), as it affected income earned through “extra” activities such as education, entrepreneurship or investment. Reducing marginal tax rates, the theory went, would help the economy grow faster through such extra efforts by individuals and businesses. The 1981 act, combined with another major tax reform act in 1986, cut marginal tax rates on high-income taxpayers from 70 percent to around 30 percent, and would be the defining economic legacy of Reagan’s presidency.

Reagan’s tax cuts were designed to put maximum emphasis on encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship and creating incentives for the development of venture capital and greater investment in human capital through training and education. The cuts particularly benefited “idea” industries such as software or financial services; fittingly, Reagan’s first term saw the advent of the information revolution, including IBM’s introduction of its first personal computer (PC) and the rise or launch of such tech companies as Intel, Microsoft, Dell, Sun Microsystems, Compaq and Cisco Systems.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High was released on August 13, 1982.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections

Governor Brian Kemp named University of Georgia Professor Jeffrey Dorfman as the State Fiscal Economist, according to 11Alive.

“Given Jeffrey Dorfman’s extensive background and expertise in economics, I am confident that he is the right choice to serve as the State Fiscal Economist,” Kemp said in a release. “Over the years, Jeffrey has earned a stellar reputation in his field, mentored countless students to ensure their academic success, and provided critical insight to leaders in the private and public sectors.”

The State Fiscal Economist is responsible for developing forecasts based on the state’s tax revenue, working closely with bond rating agencies on revenue and economic trends and managing the development of overall fiscal impact estimates tied to tax-related legislative proposals.

“I am excited to serve in this new role, and I look forward to providing the State of Georgia and Governor Kemp’s administration the most accurate and timely economic input that I can,” Dorfman said.

From the Gwinnett Daily Post:

In his role as an advisor to Gwinnett County commissioners, Dorfman has been a fixture at at the commission’s annual strategic planning sessions each spring. During those sessions, Dorfman has given commissioners and other county leaders an economic forecast presentation on trends and issues the county needs to look out for.

The Port of Savannah hit new monthly records for July, according to the Savannah Morning News.

July was a record month for intermodal cargo at the Port of Savannah, achieving 10.5% growth during the month, the Georgia Ports Authority announced Monday.

“We’re moving containers from ship to outgoing rail in less than 24 hours at the Port of Savannah,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “That world-class service is why we’re capturing more business to inland destinations and converting more cargo from truck to rail.”

The port handled 47,255 rail lifts last month, an increase of 4,511 containers compared to 2018, which held the previous record for July. Over the past three years, the port has grown its rail volume by 35.4%, completing more than 507,000 intermodal lifts in the fiscal year that ended in June.

Savannah’s intermodal success also contributed to its busiest July ever for overall container trade, with 387,024 twenty-foot equivalent container units, an increase of 8,257 TEUs or 2.2% compared to the same month last year.

“Part of our cargo growth is certainly related to the strong state and national economies, but GPA is also growing its profile among U.S. East Coast ports,” Lynch said.

Vogue brings us the latest hagiography of Stacey Abrams, asking if she can save American democracy.

Abrams’s run for governor in 2018 ended in a loss of just 54,723 votes—a stunning, public blow. And yet she emerged from it as a kind of bellwether Democrat, a vision of her party’s future. She tripled Latino, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander voter turnout and doubled youth participation in her state. She inspired 1.2 million black Democrats in Georgia to vote for her (more than the total number of Democratic gubernatorial voters in 2014). And she gained the highest percentage of the state’s white Democratic voters in a generation. All of this despite widespread reports of voter suppression and a Republican opponent, Brian Kemp—Georgia’s then secretary of state—who oversaw the purging of about 670,000 registered voters in 2017 alone. Some 53,000 voter registrations were still pending a month ahead of the election.

Abrams refused to concede at first. “I sat shiva for 10 days,” she tells me. “Then I started plotting.” Many thought her next move would be a run for the Senate (there was the idea that Joe Biden was courting her as a vice presidential pick, rumors she has dismissed). But Abrams says her attention shifted to something more vitally important: saving American democracy itself.

The story Abrams wants to tell about Georgia is about how the state is no longer a foregone political conclusion. It, and the rest of the Deep South, is changing, she argues. Whites now make up just over half of the population in Georgia and are expected to be the minority by the end of the next decade. Abrams has worked to reach rural communities of color, and to register folks who have never been part of the political process. In 2013, as a member of the state legislature, she created a voter-registration nonprofit called the New Georgia Project, which completed 86,000 new voter applications.

[I]f she does decide to run, she says, her policy priorities will remain the same: expanding Medicaid, raising the minimum wage, enacting criminal justice reform, ensuring reproductive rights. Abrams is no Democratic Socialist and is content to talk about her values within a traditional capitalist framework. Her values were made in Georgia, she says. “I think we spend a lot of time figuring out which shade of blue we are on the spectrum, and it depends on where you live, it depends on what’s possible, it depends on how evolved your economy is,” she tells me. “I’m fighting for getting a state minimum wage above $5.15 an hour. There has to be a recognition that, on the spectrum, progress looks different because of where you are. But that doesn’t mean you don’t dream of more.”

From the AJC:

Stacey Abrams is set to announce an expansion of her voting rights group on Tuesday, with plans to help train staffers in 20 states this year who will seek to combat voter suppression in the 2020 elections.

The Georgia Democrat is expected to unveil the plans during a speech to a labor union in Las Vegas, then follow it up with an event this weekend at a Gwinnett County elementary school where technical issues triggered hours-long lines in November.

The new initiative increases the likelihood that she will prepare for a rematch in 2022 against Republican Gov. Brian Kemp rather than run for president, an idea she hasn’t publicly ruled out.

For Abrams, who has made it no secret she plans to again run for higher office, the new Fair Fight program settles a question that has followed her: What will she do next year to remain politically relevant during a crowded presidential race?

Her Fair Fight group raised nearly $4 million during the first six months of the year, a high figure for a Democrat not in elected office.

The Fair Fight 2020 initiative will target Georgia and other competitive states, along with three conservative-leaning states with gubernatorial elections this year: Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi. The effort is expected to cost at least $4 million.

The group’s Georgia launch event is set for Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Snellville’s Annistown Elementary School, where malfunctioning voting machines last year led to lengthy lines that Abrams cited as an example of voter suppression.

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