Text of Gov. Nathan Deal's State-of-the-State address delivered on January 13, 2016.
When city elected officials speak to me about their communities, they almost without fail mention their local schools. The success, or failure, of the local school system translates into the success, or failure, of Georgia’s cities. From creating a high quality-of-life to economic development to the long-term prosperity of a city, the quality of our public education system is paramount.
As we prepare for the upcoming Legislative Session, let’s not be timid in advocating the basic home rule tenant that local officials are in the best position to make local decisions affecting the everyday health and welfare of their residents.
Georgia’s hotels are partners in the economic health of Georgia’s cities. The hotel/motel tax provides a foundation for a partnership between Georgia’s local governments and Georgia’s lodging industry.
Think of an industry that when cultivated and sustained, automatically creates jobs, improves quality of life, generates economic development and can completely revitalize a community. That industry exists, and it is tourism.
The key for us to continue to move forward in our respective cities, even with the uncertainty that comes with the election of new city officials, is to understand that rather than a top-down approach to governing, a collaborative environment is essential.
They are also great economic engines, bringing tourist dollars to local businesses. Georgia’s State Parks and Historic Sites have an annual economic impact of $562 million and create more than 8,000 jobs.
Loyalty and passion are what we all want for the communities we serve. Loyalty is best described as residents’ general satisfaction with a place, the likelihood to recommend it to others and their outlook on the community’s future. Passion, in this sense, is best described as a connection to a place and the pride taken living there. Local Parks and Recreation play a key role in achieving these outcomes.
The energy is still around us and the meeting of leadership to guide your association continues to amaze me. The 2015 Annual Convention featured a new format, a new approach to our educational classes and energized sessions throughout. The immediate feedback has been very positive from the membership.
Those initiatives and endeavors that make the most lasting and powerful impact on the life of our communities are those that are based in a spirit of collaboration.
With the anticipated passage of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), Georgians owe a debt of gratitude to our Congressional delegation. Our Senators and Representatives worked across party lines to help ensure Georgia’s continued economic development, balanced with the protection of our natural resources.
The Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) is currently being debated in our nation's capitol. The MFA would allow states that have a streamlined sales tax code, which Georgia has, to require online retailers to collect and remit sales taxes on items purchased in Georgia.