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Deal talks about boosting economic development

Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 10:04 AM
Last updated 8:14 PM
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ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal said on Wednesday that his budget recommendations will include added funding for rural helicopter ambulances and economic development.

Gov. Nathan Deal makes address  AP
AP
Gov. Nathan Deal makes address

At the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs & Issues breakfast, the governor said the air ambulances will save lives by improving the time required to transport critical patients to treatment, especially in southwest Georgia, where there are few large medical centers.

“Someone hurt in these crashes may require speed beyond what our roads will allow, and in that case, we call in a helicopter to carry them to a hospital,” he said.

He also announced a $25 million addition for economic development to help local governments woo employers. He didn’t offer details on how the funds will be used.

“These additional resources help local communities and development authorities build critical elements needed to attract companies and will allow us to continue to partner with local efforts, which will bring more jobs to our state,” he said.

An additional $5 million will go toward technical college courses in welding, healthcare technology, diesel mechanics and information technology.

The chamber also used the breakfast to launch a campaign to encourage businesses and governments in the state to increase their purchases of Georgia-made products by 2 percent.

“This is not a one-month or a one-day campaign. This is going to be part of the chamber DNA,” said Chris Clark, the business organization’s president.

House Speaker David Ralston told the audience one way the Legislature is planning to boost the economy is by removing regulations that hinder business. Statewide hearings conducted in the last year by the House Small Business Committee’s Red Tape Watch yielded many suggestions.

“We’re going to be taking a look at those during the session,” said Ralston, R-Blue Ridge. “I think that’s a good example of reaching out to Georgians and letting them know that we do listen to their concerns.”

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