‘Go Build Georgia’ aimed at advancing skilled labor trades


This week, Gov. Nathan Deal announced the launch of a new skilled labor advancement initiative, “Go Build Georgia.” The program will address the skilled labor shortage in our state through public outreach designed to educate young people and the public at large about the wage, lifestyle and employment benefits in the skilled labor trades.

The governor said “Go Build Georgia” will open new opportunities for our students and job seekers. Over the next year, 16,500 projected jobs will become available in the industries that rely on skilled labor. The program will assist in getting Georgians the skills they need to fill these employment opportunities.

For more information, visit www.gobuildgeorgia.com.

To begin the process of the General Assembly’s constitutional mandate to pass a balanced budget each year, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees held a series of joint budget hearings Jan. 17-19. The meetings began with a briefing from Gov. Deal, who reviewed the highlights of his proposals for the annual budget for fiscal year 2013 as well as the midyear budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2012, which ends June 30.

Before last month, Georgia saw 18 consecutive months of revenue growth, putting the revenue estimate for 2013 at $19.2 billion. With this increase, the governor said he hopes to invest in schools and infrastructure projects, fill holes in Medicaid and ensure our prisons are fully equipped to keep dangerous criminals off the street. Still, per-capita spending in the budget plan for next year, when adjusted for inflation, is 20.5 percent less than the fiscal year 2002 budget.

This means we must remain committed to maintaining a lean state government. It is with this sense of fiscal responsibility that Georgia is one of only eight states that have managed to keep the AAA bond rating from all three rating agencies. This top rating has saved taxpayers $11 million over the life of bonds sold last year alone and allows us the opportunity to increase our bond package for infrastructure improvements in the budget for next year.

During the budget meetings, committee members heard budget requests from the heads of more than 20 state agencies and departments, including University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and Chief Justice Carol Hunstein, who spoke on behalf of the judicial branch of government.

To review the governor’s budget proposals, visit http://opb.georgia.gov.

The full legislature gets back to work on Monday, Jan. 23, with numerous proposals making their way through the committee process. Before the recess for budget hearings, the House Education Committee favorably reported three bills:
• HB 705, which would revise the definition of direct classroom expenditures by local school districts.
• HB 706, which would delete obsolete, unused and unnecessary provisions in state law related to elementary and secondary education.
• HB 713, which would delay implementation of the career and college readiness requirements in K-12 schools for one year.
All three measures now await action by the full House.

I would like to congratulate Hahira Elementary School for being named a 2011 Single Statewide Accountability System (SSAS) Award Winning School as one of the highest performing schools in the state for students meeting and exceeding standards on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests.

Also, congratulations to Berrien Middle School, Clinch Middle School and Lanier County Elementary School, all of which were SSAS Award winners for the greatest gain for students meeting and exceeding standards among Georgia’s public schools. Keep up the good work!

As always, I am at your service. Please contact me with your views and concerns about any of the issues we will be addressing at the State Capitol during this upcoming session.

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