rainn.png
Monday January 25th, 2021 5:39AM

Amid Democratic wins, virus, Georgia GOP gov to talk economy

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ATLANTA (AP) — Gov. Brian Kemp is expected in his annual State of the State address Thursday to begin sketching out reelection hopes on a strong economy, shadowed by Georgia's soaring COVID-19 death toll and historic Democratic wins in the state for president and two Senate seats that shifted the balance of power in Washington.

Marking the halfway point of four years in office, the first-term Republican will have victories to celebrate, arguing that the state's economy is growing and its budget picture has brightened considerably since lawmakers made $2.2 billion in cuts last year, fearing a revenue collapse due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While battling the outbreak, Kemp has emphasized that he's waging a two-front war to “protect lives and livelihoods.” Georgia's unemployment rate has mostly remained below the nation's after hitting an all-time high of 12.6% in April. And Kemp is unlikely to pass up a chance to tout Georgia's ranking by Site Selection magazine as the No. 1 state for doing business. Also expect him to mention the more than $5.2 billion worth of industrial announcements made so far this budget year, with more than 14,000 jobs pledged.

“It's an opportunity to spike the football and say we're really leading on this," said Ryan Mahoney, a political consultant who has worked for Kemp.

Kemp has been on the defensive in recent days over the state’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, with widespread frustration at a lack of availability after Kemp expanded eligibility to anyone 65 or older and a vaccination rate that federal figures rate as the second worst among states. And Democrats have vowed to make him pay on his overall approach to the pandemic, with Georgia recording the third-highest rate of confirmed infections over the last week.

The governor will be seeking to make inroads on other issues that he’s frequently criticized on. He’s seeking money for a partial Medicaid expansion, which could help shield him from Democratic attacks seeking a fuller rollout of health insurance.

Kemp has been under fire from President Donald Trump and some Georgia Republicans for not doing enough to overturn Biden’s victory in Georgia. Some of that energy has shifted toward a clampdown on absentee voting, an issue that could dominate the legislative session. Kemp may be able to meet halfway the hardcore Republicans who believe without evidence that large numbers of fraudulent absentee votes were cast for Biden, shoring up his diminished political standing in an effort to fend off a possible primary challenge. Kemp in November announced that he wants voters who cast mail-in ballots to have to prove their identification.

“Voters casting their ballots in person must show a photo ID, and we should consider applying that same standard to mail-in balloting,” Kemp said in November,

With Kemp releasing his budget Thursday and tax collections on track to run as much as $1.5 billion above predictions, Kemp may also have the chance to offset big cuts to K-12 education made this year. However, both Kemp and lawmakers have ruled out a chance for a teacher pay raise. Kemp promised teachers a $5,000 raise, and thus far has been able to deliver $3,000.

The focus on economic development especially aims for rural areas, home to some of Kemp’s strongest supporters. Already on Tuesday, Kemp said the he would propose “substantial” spending to expand fast internet to underserved rural areas “to ensure Georgians have access to high-speed internet, no matter their ZIP code.”

“In the spirit of building out a budget that reflects our priorities as a state, we are making key investments to revive our economy, champion rural growth and maintain Georgia’s place as a leading competitor for job creation and investment,” Kemp said in a speech before the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

He also said he would propose an additional $1 million for tourism marketing, and $10 million apiece to improve the ability to move freight and improve rural roads.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump impeached after Capitol riot in historic second charge
President Donald Trump has been impeached by the U.S. House over the violent siege of the Capitol
12:16AM ( 55 minutes ago )
McConnell open to convicting Trump in impeachment trial
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not ruling out that he might vote to convict the now twice-impeached President Donald Trump
12:15AM ( 56 minutes ago )
Capitol investigators try to sort real tips from noise
Potential threats and leads are pouring in to law enforcement agencies nationwide after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol
12:12AM ( 59 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Vaccines and masks: Biden plan aims to break pandemic cycle
A coronavirus action plan from President-elect Joe Biden centers on a mass vaccination campaign and closer coordination among all levels of government
12:05AM ( 1 hour ago )
A day of historic impeachment, a Capitol as armed encampment
The U.S. Capitol has been transformed into a fortress of impeachment
11:04PM ( 2 hours ago )
Biden forgoing Amtrak trip to Washington over security fears
President-elect Joe Biden will no longer be taking an Amtrak train to Washington for his inauguration because of security concerns
9:32PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Illinois replaces longest-serving legislative leader in US
The Illinois House has elected its first Black speaker to replace the longest-serving legislative leader in modern U.S. history
7:37PM ( 5 hours ago )
Impeachment could become defining moment for Liz Cheney
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming had already broken with the president on everything from mask-wearing during the coronavirus pandemic to pulling back American troops in Afghanistan
6:47PM ( 6 hours ago )
Led by Cheney, 10 House Republicans back Trump impeachment
Ten Republican House members — including the No. 3 House GOP leader — supported efforts to impeach President Donald Trump over the deadly insurrection at the Capitol
6:43PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
S. Korean court upholds prison term for ex-president Park
 South Korea’s Supreme Court has upheld a 20-year prison term for former President Park Geun-hye over bribery and other crimes as it wrapped up a historic corruption case that marked a striking fall from grace for the country’s first female leader and conservative icon
11:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
Asia Today: China virus cases spike as WHO researchers visit
China is seeing a new surge in coronavirus cases in its frozen northeast as a World Health Organization team arrived to investigate the origins of the pandemic
11:22PM ( 1 hour ago )
Powerball jackpot hits $550M as Mega Millions grows to $750M
Another night, another chance to win a giant lottery jackpot
11:10PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Another 3 NBA games called off amid virus, 16 test positive
Contact tracing issues involving the Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards forced the NBA to postpone three more games Wednesday, raising the leaguewide total from this week alone to eight
7:18PM ( 5 hours ago )
Georgia schools to get $2B in new federal coronavirus aid
Georgia is moving to accept $2 billion in additional coronavirus relief for K-12 schools
6:19PM ( 6 hours ago )
Hawks-Suns game latest to be called off by NBA amid virus
The Phoenix Suns are now the latest NBA team to deal with contact tracing issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, and their game Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks has been called off by the league after it was learned they wouldn’t have enough players cleared to participate
5:56PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
Wall Street drifts higher; Treasury yields slow their rise
Stocks closed mixed on Wall Street after major indexes spent the day drifting up and down, not far off the record highs they reached last week
4:58PM ( 8 hours ago )
Fed survey finds economy slowing in some areas of country
A Federal Reserve survey of U.S. business conditions has found modest economic gains at the start of the year, although some parts of the country were weighed by a renewed surge of COVID-19 cases
4:29PM ( 8 hours ago )
The Latest: California to put seniors in line for vaccine
California is immediately allowing residents 65 and older to get scarce coronavirus vaccines
4:10PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
McClung lifts No. 15 Texas Tech past No. 4 Texas, 79-77
Mac McClung made a long jumper with 3 seconds left and No. 15 Texas Tech rallied to beat No. 4 Texas 79-77 on Wednesday night, ending the Longhorns’ perfect start in the Big 12
12:28AM ( 44 minutes ago )
Trump impeached after Capitol riot in historic second charge
President Donald Trump has been impeached by the U.S. House over the violent siege of the Capitol
12:16AM ( 55 minutes ago )
McConnell open to convicting Trump in impeachment trial
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not ruling out that he might vote to convict the now twice-impeached President Donald Trump
12:15AM ( 56 minutes ago )
Capitol investigators try to sort real tips from noise
Potential threats and leads are pouring in to law enforcement agencies nationwide after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol
12:12AM ( 59 minutes ago )
Enduring 2nd impeachment, Trump stands largely silent, alone
Donald Trump's place in the history books has been rewritten and on Wednesday, as the House voted to impeach him, the president faced his unprecedented second impeachment largely alone and silent
12:09AM ( 1 hour ago )