Gov. Deal outlines priorities, budget in speech - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gov. Deal outlines priorities, budget in speech

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA/AP) -

Gov. Nathan Deal outlined his priorities and released key budget details during his annual State of the State address.

The budget plan totals $42.3 billion when including funding coming from the state and federal governments. Deal has proposed spending about $20.8 billion in state funds that come largely from personal income and sales tax collections.

Lawmakers in the General Assembly will start reviewing the budget and ultimately decide whether to approve it.

Deal said his budget plan includes an additional $547 million for primary and secondary public schools in the state. He said the money will help local school systems increase the number of school days, reduce teacher furloughs and increase teacher salaries.

"My approach as governor has been to do in the hard times, what is almost impossible for government to do in the good times; that is, make state government programs leaner and more efficient and concentrate scarce resources on those areas that will produce the best and most long lasting results," said Deal in his remarks. "To that end, we have eliminated certain programs and consolidated others in order to achieve greater efficiency in the use of taxpayer dollars. While fighting to hold the line on K-12 education, we have reduced the number of state employees by 12,750 from 5 years ago, which is a drop of 16.5 percent."

Wednesday's speech at the Capitol came in the middle of a very busy day for lawmakers. In the morning, lawmakers gathered for the annual "Eggs & Issues" event sponsored by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Deal, along with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston previewed their legislative priorities.

After Deal's State of the State speech, state Sen. Jason Carter gave the Democratic response.

Lawmakers will then convene for five hours of committee meetings on the budget featuring testimony from Deal, state schools Superintendent John Barge, University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby and others.

Copyright 2014 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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