ATLANTA -- Gov. Nathan Deal acknowledged Wednesday that he’s had good luck this year in the General Assembly.
“We have had, I think, some significant victories this year already,” he said. “We have some others that are imminent, in my opinion.”
The Senate had just unanimously passed his budget nearly unchanged when he spoke to a group from the Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties chambers of commerce.
The day before the House passed his sweeping tax overhaul with only nine “no” votes. His criminal-justice reform bill is due for a vote Thursday with little opposition beyond advocacy groups that want it to go farther.
And he’s taking credit for $5 billion in new corporate investment since coming into office, including Wednesday’s announcement that Starbucks will bring 140 jobs to Augusta and last week’s groundbreaking of the 1,400-job bulldozer plant in Athens.
His strategy has been to give legislators the type of proposals that are easy to favor.
“Any time that you can cut taxes on families and cut taxes on business, it is a much more inviting place for people to come in live and to work and for people to create jobs,” he said.
There are still goals he wants to accomplish. He highlighted winning voter approval in July for the transportation sales tax and congressional approval for deepening the Savannah River channel.
The deepening should get its “record of decision” from federal agencies this summer, but Congress must update the authorization limit it passed in 1999 when the project was originally proposed. The cost was estimated at $360 million then, about half of the current projection.
He asked U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston and U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, all Georgia Republicans, to get the authorization raised.
“That seems to be one of the technical things that we’ve run into right now,” he said.
At the same time, the budget that’s cruising through the Georgia legislature includes more money for the state’s share of the project.
“I feel pretty good about it right now,” he said.
So far, in the tail end of his second legislative session as governor, he has a lot he feels good about.