Sen. Ross Tolleson: Update from the Capitol


Sen. Ross Tolleson: Update from the Capitol

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TOLLESON: Update from the Capitol


By: Sen. Ross Tolleson (R- Perry)

Monday officially marked the beginning of the second half of this two-year legislative session as legislators filled their respective chambers to begin the peoples work.  With five of the 40 designated days behind us, Governor Nathan Deal delivered the annual State of the State address as well as unveiled his fiscal plans for the amended Fiscal Year 2014 (FY 14’) budget.  I always look forward to the legislative session as a great opportunity to meet with and showcase constituents and leadership from middle Georgia under the Gold Dome.

The State of the State, which serves as an update on the current and future status of our state, detailed recent achievements such as the reformation of our outdated tax code and juvenile justice system as well as the continued decline of our unemployment rate; in fact, Georgia’s unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in five years. In continuance, the address spotlighted the fact that Georgia continues to maintain our AAA bond rating due to a consistent record of passing a balanced budget and has grown the Rainy Day Fund by 518%.

Gov. Deal included measures to increase the stature of our public education system as well as investing in building and maintaining infrastructure.  By allocating an additional $547 million to state education spending we are ensuring that our students are receiving the best education possible while also protecting our teachers.  The budget also calls for $25.6 million for Forestland Protection grants which provide local governments with funds necessary to maintain key local services and quality schools while also preserving the state’s crucial natural resources.

On Sunday, the legislative session unofficially kicked off with the annual Wild Hog Supper benefitting the Georgia Food Bank Association.  With well over 1,000 attendees, the dinner raised over $10,000 and gathered over 20,000 lbs. of food items for Georgia food banks across the state. The annual Eggs and Issues breakfast was hosted Wednesdaymorning where Gov. Deal, Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and Speaker David Ralston delivered informative information on Georgia’s current status of economic development, education, energy and environment, health care, legal reform and transportation.  I was honored to sit alongside representatives from the Middle Georgia delegation to discuss economic development within our region.

Thursday, the halls were filled with animal furs and even a live eagle as we recognized the 13th annual Sportsmen’s and Coastal Day at the Capitol.  This day opens the doors to interested parties to discuss issues about hunting, fishing and conservation issues, and to recognize the contributions outdoor recreation makes to Georgia’s economy and culture.

Friday, it was great to host Dr. Manoj H. Shah of Warner Robins representing District 20 as Doctor of the Day at the Capitol.  With such an abundance of talent in middle Georgia, it is always nice to show off constituents to colleagues in Atlanta.  Another highlight of this week was speaking with the Dublin/Lauren’s Leadership Group to express my gratitude for their tireless efforts to assist in the economic development of their counties.  To conclude the week, I was excited to welcome the Easter Seals of Middle Georgia to the State Capitol to showcase some of the work done and the services provided within the 20th District.

For the next several months, I will be spending a lot of time at the Capitol working for you this Session. If there are any issues you wish to have addressed, I would love to hear from you. I look forward to continuing my service on behalf of my constituents in the 20th Senate District this Session.  Georgia is on the right track. I am confident that the steps we take this year will mean lasting prosperity for future generations of Georgians.

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