Stacey Abrams

In this image from video, Democratic candidate for Georgia governor Stacey Abrams listens during an interview on Thursday, May 5, 2022 in Jonesboro, Ga.

Credit: Itoro N. Umontuen / The Atlanta Voice

With the economy, fears of inflation, and the constant blame of President Joe Biden’s policies tagged to Democrats across America during the midterm election season, Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams unveiled her economic plan. Abrams’s plan seeks to invest in Georgia’s young and rural populations while driving equity to the state’s minority and small business owners and residents. While speaking at a brewery in Atlanta, Abrams pinned Georgia’s economic concerns on incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp.

“He can point the finger as much as he likes,” Abrams said. “But this is either the economy he created or it’s not. He can’t have it both ways. You don’t get to take credit but refuse to take responsibility.”

Abrams said she supports an amendment that would allow gaming, sports betting and casino gambling in the state of Georgia. She added her administration will fund the need-based financial aid program by using lottery reserves to seed the program. 

“This will serve as a permanent source of revenue to underwrite broader access to education,” Abrams said. “We can afford it and we must do it. Studies projected the potential for billions to exist in economic impact funds that will not only finance our efforts to replenish and expand the Hope Scholarship, but it will also provide new economic opportunities for Georgia that can grow jobs and make our economy stronger for everyone.”

For the amendment to pass, it first must be approved by two-thirds of the membership of the Georgia House and Senate, respectively, before going to the state’s voters.

Currently, Kemp leads Abrams by 4.2% in the RealClearPolitics average of polls. In the July 26-27 poll conducted by FOX 5 Atlanta, Kemp leads Abrams 49% to 44% respectively. 

Part of Abrams’s economic package calls for free technical college for Georgia residents, creating a $10 million small business growth fund and emphasizes her plan to use surplus funds to finance a $1 billion tax refund. And she said she would take aggressive steps to bring more economic equity.

Abrams says she will revamp the state contractor’s bidding program. Abrams said minorities make up 48% of Georgia’s population but only 12% of the state’s business revenues. Her solution will be creating cluster contracts, allowing multiple entities to jointly bid on sizable contracts with the state.

“We can invest in those businesses by making certain that we put those contracts forward that we increase every single year by at least 1%. But I intend to go faster and further because we can’t afford to wait. We cannot thrive as a state if we’re leaving half the state behind.”

Abrams also said she will sponsor a Farm to School initiative that seeks to encourage more young people to take advantage of agribusiness as a pathway to the middle class. Plus, she said she will launch a family farm initiative to provide financing for small and micro farms.

Those that have difficulty navigating USDA requirements are those who only need small investments for operating and equipment capital,” Abrams said. “Sometimes they don’t need much but they need someone who’s looking out for them and I will be that Governor.”

Abrams also touted her support for Medicaid expansion. Abrams said Medicaid expansion will pour billions into the state’s broken health care system for pennies on the dollar: $3.5 billion every single year. 

“Instead of hospitals praying to be on the governor’s periodic list of partial grants, we have guaranteed funds that will save rural hospitals, support clinics delivering medical services and deliver badly needed mental health care and substance abuse treatment to communities that are being forced to wait for crisis to seek help,” Abrams said.

Wednesday, Gov. Kemp will unveil his economic plan. Throughout the summer, Kemp has blamed Georgia economic issues on President Biden’s policies and Sen. Raphael Warnock. 

“As hardworking Georgians are hurting from 40-year-high Bidenflation, Stacey Abrams would try to raise taxes again,” Kemp said on social media. “Georgia families can’t afford the out-of-touch Biden-Abrams agenda.”

“Stacey Abrams gave the Peach State [to] Joe Biden and Raphael Warnock and with it, 40-year high inflation and an economic recession,” said Republican National Committee Spokesperson Garrison Douglas. “Georgians have had enough of Stacey’s economic ‘solutions.’”

However, Abrams continually called upon those in the crowd to take a look at Georgia’s position from a 30,000-foot point of view. She referenced Music Midtown’s decision to cancel their festival, which would have been held inside Piedmont Park, due to Georgia’s permitless carry gun law which does allow persons to carry guns in public spaces. 

“This cancellation will cost Georgia’s economy $50 million,” Abrams said. “And the governor doesn’t care because maintaining favor with the NRA matters more to him than the welfare of everyday people. But we have seen this behavior from him before. Whether it was his temper tantrum with Delta or his voter suppression law that cost Georgia the All Star Game, when the choice is between what’s best for Brian Kemp’s future and what’s best for Georgia, Brian Kemp will always choose himself.”

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with The Atlanta Voice.