If Governor Nathan Deal’s Eggs and Issues speech Wednesday is any indication much of his State of the State address Thursday will be a mix of good and bad news.
Issue one is paying for Medicaid in the Peach State. During his Wednesday address to more than 2,000 members of Georgia's business and legislative community at the Georgia World Congress Center, Governor Deal rolled out cuts to the budget of the Department of Community Health. He announced a three percent cut in the current fiscal year and a five percent cut in the fiscal year 2014 budget that begins in July.
Even with those cuts amounting to an estimated $109 million, the Governor thinks lawmakers will need to find the rest of the half billion dollar tab for Medicaid.
On the issue of education, expect Governor Deal to roll out some positive news on two fronts.
Based on the governor’s comments to WSB-TV, he will propose a three percent increase in HOPE tuition grants.
Also, the Governor is expected to propose an expansion of Pre-K in Georgia from 170 days a year to 180, which is the length of a full school year.
It will be also interesting to see if Governor Deal touches on a couple of hot-button issues with specifics.
The future of the Georgia Dome is under review as investors seek financing to overhaul the structure just south of downtown Atlanta. During a media session after his Eggs and Issues speech, the Governor said there needs to be a discussion on whether the home of the Atlanta Falcons and the SEC Championship needs to be replaced or renovated.
A second issue that may come up is gun control and gun rights. During that same media session Wednesday, the Governor gave his tepid endorsement to Representative Paul Battles’ bill on training and arming school administrators. He also talked about improving reporting requirements for people with a history of mental illness who want a gun.
Also expect to hear from the Governor on some other issues including ethics.
Watch Thursday's State of the State address at the Georgia capitol streaming live at 11 a.m. on www.gpb.org. You can also watch a special PrimeTime Lawmakers State of the State edition, including the Democrats' response, Thursday night at 7 on GPB-TV and listen to that broadcast simulcast on GPB Radio.