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January 16--  State Senator Jason Carter responded to Governor Nathan Deal's State of the State address according to this story filed by Jonathan Shapiro for WABE Radio in Atlanta.  Carter is expected to be the Democrat Party's nominee in the Governor's race in the November general election.

"State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter delivered the Democrats’ official response to Gov. Nathan Deal’s State of the State address, dishing out a harsh critique of Deal’s upbeat assessment.

Carter said the state is still suffering from high levels of unemployment and poverty.

"If you’re a small business or a regular middle class family, chances are you’re feeling forgotten," said Carter.

The 38-year-old Decatur resident blasted Deal’s handling of the child welfare system as a “moral failure” and said the governor's proposed $547 million spending increase on education is an election year ploy.

“Georgia has the fourth worst graduation rate. Almost three quarters of our school districts have stopped teaching students the full 180 days per year. There’s simply less educating going in Georgia today.”

Carter said schools are in crisis. He proposed separating education from the budget process so lawmakers can’t play politics with it.

“Today, our education budget is a shell game. A separate education fund will make investment in education our state’s top priority every year, even in the hard times. Especially in the hard times,” said Carter.

He blamed Deal for a steep drop in technical college enrollment and made light of the governor's frequent references to Site Selection magazine’s endorsement of the business environment statewide.

“It’s nice to have a magazine say you’re pro-business but if you’ve decimated the technical colleges in this state the way this governor has and you’ve denied businesses the skilled, trained workers that they need, you’re hurting Georgia's businesses, not helping them,” said Carter.

He didn’t mention his famous grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter, but cited his roots as a ninth generation Georgian coming from a long line of farmers, businessmen, and Sunday School teachers."

The Georgia Republican Party issued the following statement after Senator Carter's rebuttal to Governor Deal.

"Senator Jason Carter didn't give a rebuttal today.  He merely recited the stale talking points of the Democratic Party," said Ryan Mahoney, spokesperson for the Georgia Republican Party.  "From class warfare rhetoric to fiscal doublespeak, Carter once again proved that he's nothing more than a mouthpiece for the left."


Pulling a page straight from the playbook of President Barack Obama, Sen. Carter accused Deal of catering only to the wealthy by saying, "Gov. Deal doesn't care about the middle class."


"With over 200,000 new private sector jobs created in the last three years, the unemployment rate in Georgia is the lowest in five years," said Mahoney. "Clearly, all Georgians, regardless of economic or social standing, benefit when more jobs are available in the Peach State.


"What Sen. Carter conveniently forgot to mention was his strong support for Obamacare - the single biggest job killer in America.  Despite skyrocketing premiums and thousands lof middle class families losing their insurance coverage right here in Georgia, Carter continues to support the President's healthcare initiative.  Obviously, he cares more about pleasing the Party than serving the people."


Carter went on to trash Governor Deal's leadership on education, claiming the "education budget is broken" and the Governor's proposed budget that includes enhanced funding for education is merely an "election year ploy."


"Apparently, Senator Carter's political ambition has clouded his memory," said Mahoney.  "Since taking office, Governor Deal and Republican Leadership have directed fifty cents of every dollar of new revenue to education.  By adding almost a billion dollars of new funding to education, it's clear that Republican lawmakers are serious about investing in our children's future.  That's not an "election year ploy," that's consistent conservative leadership."


At the end of the speech, the Atlanta liberal questioned Governor Deal and the Republican Leadership's conservatism stating that, "Trading in tomorrow for today is not conservative.  It's reckless."


"Given Sen. Carter's record and lineage, he's obviously no authority on conservative fiscal policy," said Mahoney.  "However, credit agencies like Moody's, S&P, and Fitch are.  Georgia is one of ten states with a AAA bond rating - a feat only accomplished through fiscal restraint and conservative budgeting.  By increasing the Rainy Day Fund by over 500% and year-over-year revenues without raising taxes, Republican lawmakers are creating a stronger Georgia that future generations will be proud to call home.


"We applaud Governor Deal and the Republican Leadership in the House and Senate for doing their part to make this state great.  Because of their hard work and the conservative initiatives they have championed under the Gold Dome, Georgia continues to grow, thrive, and succeed."