Release: Thursday, January 16, 2014
While Nathan Deal has driven Georgia to the bottom, Sen. Jason Carter offers solutions for middle class families.
Democratic Party of Georgia Chair DuBose Porter questions what Deal considers “excellent.”
Atlanta, GA – Yesterday in his State of the State address, Governor Nathan Deal began the whitewashing of his first term as governor. Following the address, State Senator and Democratic Candidate for Governor Jason Carter painted a more truthful picture of the state of Georgia in his rebuttal.
In his remarks, Deal proclaimed “The state of our state is excellent, and it is a great day in Georgia.”
“I question what Nathan Deal considers ‘excellent’,” said Democratic Party of Georgia Chair DuBose Porter. “I’m sure you’d agree with the Governor if you’re in his inner circle or one of his campaign contributors. But the state of our state is far from excellent for working families, students, teachers, and women. Georgia is not better off than it was three years ago.”
While some of Deal’s friends may have thrived the last few years, middle class families in Georgia have suffered. Georgia’s unemployment rate has remained higher than the national average Deal’s entire term as Governor–three hundred and sixty-three thousand Georgians are jobless.
“In Georgia today, the middle class is still losing out,” said Senator Carter. “Adjusted for inflation, the average Georgia family in effect makes $6000 less than the average family did ten years ago. That’s a real pay cut.”
According to a recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau, Georgia has the sixth highest poverty rate in the country. More than one in four Georgia families with children under the age of five live below the poverty line. Rural Georgians have been hit particularly hard – twenty-seven percent live below the poverty line.
Nathan Deal’s record on K-12 education is just as bad as his economic record.
On Deal’s watch, classroom sizes have swelled as a result of 9,000 teachers losing their jobs. Eighty percent of Georgia’s school districts have now exceeded class-size caps. Eighty percent of Georgia school districts will furlough teachers this year due to cuts in state funding. Thirty-eight percent of districts have been forced to make cuts on programs that help low-performing students. Seventy-one percent of Georgia’s school districts have cut their school calendar to fewer than 180 days. Before Nathan Deal took office, Ninety percent of students in Georgia attended school 180 days or more.
“Deal’s stance on the HOPE scholarship is the worst,” said Chairman Porter. “Just in time for an election year, he has flip-flopped on funding for technical and higher education.
Deal slashed funding for HOPE beyond recognition in 2011. In Deal’s first year as governor alone, 11,000 technical college students lost funding for higher education–6,000 of those students never re-enrolled. To date, Georgia has lost 45,500 technical college students.
While Deal has broken our education system, Senator Carter offered solutions. Senator Carter has proposed the creation of a separate education budget to ensure that education will be a top priority for Georgia lawmakers.
“Nathan Deal has prevented Georgia from having the skilled workforce required to attract the type of businesses we need to revive our lagging economy,” said Chairman Porter. “Jason Carter has made it clear that education is and will continue to be a top priority. That’s how you get to an excellent Georgia.”
What Nathan Deal did not address in his State of the State was the issue of ethics. The same pattern of unethical behavior that forced Deal to resign from Congress has now followed him to the Governor’s office. Time and time and time again, Nathan Deal has shown that he does not believe that the rules apply to him or his friends.
“Yesterday in Nathan Deal’s speech, we saw the Georgia that was and is,” said Chairman Porter. “But in Jason Carter, we see the Georgia that can be.”
GBPI 9/19/2013: New U.S. Census Report: Georgia’s Child Poverty Ranking Worsens
Georgia joined the ranks of the ten worst states with the highest percentage of children living in poverty in 2012, moving from eleventh to sixth, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report.
GBPI December 2013: Recovery or Bust: Georgia’s Poor Left Behind
GBPI November 2013: Cutting Class to Make Ends Meet
GBPI September 2013: The Schoolhouse Squeeze
Athens Banner-Herald 10/27/13: About half students who lost HOPE grants did not return to school
Washington Post 1/1/10: Resignation ends ethics probe of ex-Rep. Nathan Deal
AJC 1/15/2014: Text of Gov. Nathan Deal’s state-of-the-state speech