State-of-the-state addresses

SOUTH CAROLINA

GOALS FOR 2008: Cutting income taxes, strengthening South Carolina's drunken driving laws, preserving land, reducing government spending, expanding school choice programs and restructuring state government.

BUDGET: Gov. Mark Sanford jockeyed for governors of the state to have more control over its operations, singling out the Budget and Control Board as an example of government structure that "allows a small group of people to control or disproportionately influence the rest of us."

EDUCATION: Widening options for schooling is critical for the state because it will foster competition and "give the families of modest incomes a lifeline, and a scholarship, out of a failing school," he said.

Among his priorities are allowing charter schools to use existing school buildings and school buses. He also called for a cap on college costs and for scholarships for high schoolers who graduate early.

HEALTH CARE: Mr. Sanford called for passage of a small-business health care bill in the first 30 days of the legislative session to help employees get medical care.

BUSINESS: He also reiterated his opposition to incentives to encourage two big outdoor equipment retailers set up shop in the state.

-- Associated Press


GEORGIA

GOALS FOR 2008: Georgia would eliminate its share of the property tax, support the expansion of the Medical College of Georgia and infuse the state's ailing trauma-care centers with badly needed cash.

BUDGET: Gov. Sonny Perdue's annual State of the State address coincided with the release of his budget, which includes $7.2 million in the state spending year that begins July 1 for expanding the Medical College of Georgia. The plan also sets aside $70 million for a new school of dentistry at MCG. Officials at the college have pushed hard for the new building, saying the current facilities are small and outdated.

TAXES: Mr. Perdue's proposal to eliminate the state property tax on homes and automobiles would save property owners about $94 million a year or about $15 on a $150,000 home.

The governor also repeated his pitch to expand the senior income tax cut to cover all retirement income.

HEALTH CARE: The governor proposed $53 million for trauma centers. Mr. Perdue renewed his call for an additional fine on "super speeders" as one way to fund the hospitals and reduce driving risks. And he pressed for 200 more state troopers.

-- Morris News Service