Georgia Ports Authority Approves $60 Million Terminal Expansion in Brunswick

The Georgia Ports Authority approved $60 million for upgrades to its Colonel’s Island Terminal in Brunswick, the country’s second busiest port for total roll-on, roll-off cargo.

A GPA spokeswoman told The Center Square that the authority is pulling the funding for the infrastructure and upgrade projects from port revenues. The money will go toward additional buildings, property development and civil infrastructure to expand Ro/Ro capacity.

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Atlanta Starts Two Guaranteed-Income Pilot Programs

The city of Atlanta launched its guaranteed income pilot program earlier this year in the wake of the COVID pandemic that gives $500 a month to 300 Atlanta residents.

According to the city, the guaranteed income program “is meant to supplement rather than replace the existing social safety net and can be a critical tool for improving racial and gender equity.”

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Georgia Taxpayers Could Foot a $400K Bill for New Election Equipment in Coffee County

Georgia taxpayers could be on the hook for $400,000 worth of new election equipment for Coffee County after individuals illegally accessed voting equipment.

The state is sending the county 100 ballot marking devices, 100 printers, 21 poll pads, 10 precinct scanners, and new flashcards and thumb drives. County election officials will receive the equipment in time for installation and testing before voting starts.

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Atlanta’s Airport to Receive $18.4M Federal Grant to Reconstruct Aging Taxiways

The feds are sending millions more to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a more than $18.4 million grant to reconstruct taxiways at the world’s busiest airport.

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Georgia Law Enforcement Officers Ask Legislature for Wage Increases Due to Retention Issues

Law enforcement officers from across Georgia want state lawmakers to help increase wages for officers.

During a House Study Committee on State and Local Law Enforcement Salaries meeting in Americus, representatives from state and local agencies detailed the difficulties they have hiring and retaining officers.

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Georgia’s $6.5 Billion in Film Subsidies Add Up to $416K per Each New Industry Job

Georgia officials pride themselves on the state’s tax credits for the movie industry, but a leading economist says the tax credits don’t benefit the state.

“There’s nothing politicians love more than jocks and movie stars,” Kennesaw State University economist J.C. Bradbury told The Center Square. “That’s why they give out a lot of subsidies for sports stadiums, and film and movie credits are also something that are often given out.

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Bipartisan Committee Investigating Issues with Georgia’s Literacy Programs

A bipartisan Georgia House committee will study state programs providing literacy instruction to Georgians and determine whether low literacy impacts the state’s competitiveness.

The House Study Committee on Literacy Instruction, established by House Resolution 650, will explore potential changes to the state’s educational standards. It will also determine “the definition of evidence-based literacy instruction.”

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Abrams Says Heartbeat at Six Weeks Is ‘Manufactured’

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams made an unscientific remark on the topic of abortion during a recent campaign stop. 

“There is no such thing as a heartbeat at six weeks. It is a manufactured sound designed to convince people that men have the right to take control of a woman’s body,” Abrams said. 

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Georgia’s $130 Million Plan for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Receives Federal Approval

The Federal Highway Administration has signed off on Georgia’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan, opening the door to millions in federal taxpayer dollars for the state.

With this approval, the Georgia Department of Transportation can start planning how the state will spend roughly $130 million to pay for electric vehicle charging infrastructure over the next five years.

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Georgia Democrats Plan Gun Control Push in Legislature’s Next Session

Georgia Democrats are planning to introduce a series of gun control legislation for lawmakers to consider during the next legislative session.

Among the proposed legislation is a measure to prohibit supplying a semiautomatic assault weapon to anyone under the age of 21 years.

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Georgia Taxpayers to Help Agribusiness Technology Manufacturer Build $35 Million Facility

A global agriscience technology manufacturer plans to invest nearly $35 million to launch a campus in Jasper County.

Profile Products, based in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, plans to produce wood-based erosion control technologies and horticulture substrates at the new plant. The company, which employs more than 500 globally, plans to create 80 new jobs as part of the project.

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Stacey Abrams Repeats Already-Debunked Claim That Women Seek Late-Term Abortions Due to ‘Traumatic Experience’

Georgia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams defended abortion through all nine months of pregnancy using an already debunked claim by the abortion industry and its allies that women seek late-term abortions due to some “traumatic experience.”

“There is no example of a woman — you’ve gone through the trouble of buying a crib and naming that child — there is no one who wakes up and says at eight months, never mind,” Abrams said last week on ABC’s The View.

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Georgia Allocates Federal COVID Relief Money to Grady Memorial Hospital

Georgia will allocate $130 million in federal COVID-19 relief money to fund 200 additional beds at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital following the announced closure of Atlanta Medical Center.

Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, said the additional beds would be enough to cover Atlanta Medical Center’s average patient census. The state will also reallocate a temporary medical unit used during the COVID-19 pandemic to Grady, adding 24 patient rooms and 12,000 square feet to the hospital’s footprint.

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Walker, Warnock to Debate October 14 in Tight Georgia Senate Race

Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker

Georgia incumbent Senate Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker have agreed to one debate before their Nov. 8 general election showdown.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Walker said Tuesday in a Twitter video. “I will see you there. Now you get a chance to tell us why you voted with [President] Joe Biden 96% of the time. And God bless.”

The televised debate was reportedly set after Warnock agreed to terms set forth by Walker, the former NFL star who played college football for the University of Georgia.

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Georgia’s MARTA Plans to Extend Atlanta Streetcar Line Eastward

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority plans to spend $176 to 215 million to extend Atlanta’s streetcar line eastward.

The agency plans to use money from the More MARTA Atlanta half-penny sales tax voters in Atlanta approved in November 2016 to fund the two-mile extension, which won’t open until 2027. The agency expects to start construction in 2024.

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Expert Says Despite Improved Federal Data, Georgia Still Faces Inflationary Pressures

While the July and August Consumer Price Index numbers show “inflation has stalled,” a Georgia expert warns that “we’re not out of the woods yet.”

On Tuesday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the CPI rose 0.1% in August and 8.3% year-over-year.

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91 Percent of Warnock’s Staff Could Be Eligible to Receive Up to $490,000 in Loan Forgiveness

The vast majority of Hill staff could fall under President Joe Biden’s qualification threshold for his loan forgiveness plan, making them eligible to receive a minimum of $10,000 in debt repayment. According to salary data, nearly 91% of Sen. Raphael Warnock’s staff could qualify.

This percentage is merely an estimation as there are several unknown factors, including whether or not the staffers went to college, if they took out loans, if they still have loans or if they had a full-ride scholarship, as well as the total household income of Hill staffers.

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GAF Plans $146 Million Roofing Material Plant in Georgia, but Taxpayer Incentives Remain Unknown

A roofing and waterproofing manufacturer plans to invest $146 million over the next six years in a new manufacturing facility in Lowndes County.

GAF Materials intends to create 135 new jobs with the new facility, increasing the company’s thermoplastic polyolefin roofing manufacturing capacity. GAF employs more than 225 Georgians at its Savannah, Statesboro and Cumming manufacturing plants.

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New Georgia Poll Finds Republicans Walker, Kemp Widen Lead over Democratic Opponents

Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker and incumbent GOP Gov. Brian Kemp are both widening their leads over their Democratic opponents, according to a poll.

Former NFL star Walker is ahead of incumbent Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock by 47-44%, an InsiderAdvantage/FOX 5 Atlanta poll released Thursday shows. Libertarian nominee Chase Oliver is receiving 4% support with 5% of voters still undecided.

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Counties in Georgia, Ohio, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and More Flooded with Requests for 2020 Election Records as Mandatory Preservation Window Expires

With the recent expiration of the federally mandated 2-year window for preservation of 2020 presidential election records, counties across the country have been inundated with public records requests from Americans concerned about election integrity.

During his “Moment of Truth Summit” last month spotlighting 2020 presidential election irregularities, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell exhorted “every single person in the country” to ask for cast vote records from the election from their local county clerk’s office. His website links to the Ordros Analytics, Inc., website, which provides templates of public records requests for cast vote records.

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Georgia Municipalities Burden Home-Based Businesses with Regulations

Georgia touts its business-friendly climate, but some home-based businesses face another layer of bureaucracy: local government licensing requirements, a Center Square analysis found.

Nearly 30 years ago, Georgia lawmakers passed legislation giving cities the power to impose business and occupation requirements, including taxes and regulatory fees. While lawmakers have revised the law, local governments may levy and collect occupation taxes on any business or practitioner with an office in the jurisdiction.

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Georgia’s General Fund Revenues Grew by 5.5 Percent in Last Quarter Despite Gas Tax Holiday

Georgia continues to see increasing revenues, new numbers show.

The state’s total general fund receipts in August exceeded $2.3 billion. That represents an increase of 8.5%, or $180.4 million, over last August when net tax collections topped $2.1 billion.

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Two Cobb County Sheriff’s Deputies Killed in Line of Duty

Two Cobb County Sheriffs Deputies were killed in the line of duty Thursday night while attempting to serve a warrant, that law enforcement agency said. 

“Two deputies died tonight in the line of duty while serving a warrant,” the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) said Thursday night. “SWAT and FAST teams are at the scene. The suspect is barricaded. We will release additional information, including the names of the fallen deputies, as it becomes available.”

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Cost of Incentives Unknown for New Manufacturing Facility in Georgia

A Georgia sound solutions and engineering company plans to build a new manufacturing facility in Thomas County

Brunswick-based Troy Acoustics Corporation will invest almost $40 million in the new facility. The company plans to create 88 new jobs to add to the 17 positions it currently supports.

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Georgia Officials Settle Case with Florida-Based Direct Mail Solicitation Firm

Georgia has settled allegations that a company sent deceptive direct mail solicitations to help small business owners in the state secure a Certificate of Existence.

The state attorney general’s office alleged that CA Certificate Service, which also operates as GA Certificate Service, misrepresented that the fee it charges for obtaining a Certificate of Existence was a government fee. However, state officials say the company has no affiliation with any Georgia government agency, including the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

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Georgia’s K-12 Education Spending Increases as Enrollment Grows at a Higher Rate

Georgia’s spending per pupil has grown over the past two decades, but its enrollment has increased at a higher rate, a new analysis found.

According to the Reason Foundation’s 2022 K-12 Education Spending Spotlight, Georgia’s inflation-adjusted per-pupil K-12 revenues grew by 6.2% — or $803 per student — between 2002 and 2020. During that same period, enrollment increased by 18%.

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Report: Georgia’s Election Integrity Measures Rank Second Nationally

Georgia ranks second in the country for its election integrity measures, an analysis found.

According to the Election Integrity Scorecard from the Heritage Foundation, the Peach State ranked behind only its neighbor to the north, Tennessee. Hawaii ranked last on the list, just behind Nevada and California.

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Georgia Teacher Supply Supplement Will Cost $20 Million

Georgia plans to spend about $20 million on a program to give teachers and school employees a $125 bonus, a state official confirmed on Friday.

Georgia announced the “Back-to-School Supply Supplement” program in July. Under the plan, the state will give a $125 supplement to teachers and school staff members “who work to provide instructional and supportive services directly to students on a daily basis.”

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Georgia Launches $250 Million Neighborhood Improvement Program Using COVID-19 Relief Funds

Georgia officials plan to use federal COVID relief money to fund improvements to sidewalks, parks and “healthy food access.”

The state intends to use American Rescue Plan dollars to fund the $250 million “Improving Neighborhood Outcomes in Disproportionately Impacted Communities” grant program.

The state will award up to $2 million per qualified project. State officials say the program will lower levels of mortality and illness.

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Georgia Republicans Walker, Kemp Lead Democratic Opponents, Poll

Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker is leading Democrat incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock by two points, while the GOP Gov. Brian Kemp leads Democrat challenger Stacey Abrams by four points, according to a new poll.

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Georgia Nonprofit Connected to Warnock to Receive Federal COVID Relief Money to Fight Homelessness

Georgia is giving more than $62.4 million in federal COVID relief money to groups fighting homelessness and housing insecurity worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state is allocating American Rescue Plan and State Fiscal Recovery Fund dollars to the 20 projects receiving money.

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Commentary: School Choice Helps Special Needs Students

As summer comes to an end, parents are once again questioning whether neighborhood schools can give their children what they need.

According to the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), low-income students are 2.8 years’ worth of learning behind their more affluent peers. Similarly, a Reveal analysis of hundreds of public schools across Georgia found that most special education courses are being taught by underqualified teachers. This is not the fault of the teachers, the majority are doing their best while dealing with overcrowded classrooms and unrealistic expectations from leadership-heavy school systems. However, this does not change the fact that it is a problem.

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Election Integrity Event Organizer Says Fake Police Showed Up at Her Home, Detained Her

A Gwinnett County woman who held an election integrity panel over the weekend to educate Georgians says men who she believes were impersonating police officers showed up at her home and detained her hours before the event began.

“The long and short of what occurred, is I had an encounter with the police right before I went to the event,” Surrea Ivey told The Georgia Star News. “Initially, I didn’t think anything about it. When somebody – I say somebody because I subsequently found out it was not the police – when these individuals knocked on my door, they were in police uniform and they said they had reason to believe I was in possession of government equipment.”

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Massive Challenge to 2020 Election Results Filed in Gwinnett County

A group of Georgians still fighting for election integrity after President Joe Biden was declared the winner by a tiny margin in the Peach State Monday filed a massive challenge to the Gwinnett County Board of Elections.

“A stunning total of 37,500 affidavits are delivered to the Gwinnett County Board of Elections office in challenge of the voter rolls and handling of the 2020 Election,” said a press release from what is described as a group “team of patriotic Georgia residents.” “These affidavits include 20,000 challenges to actual votes that were certified just after the 2020 election. The submitted affidavits only include Gwinnett County vote challenges. Still, the number far exceeds the Presidential spread for the entire state of Georgia and confirms the 2020 election should not have been certified!

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Warnock More than Doubles Income Since Becoming Georgia Senator

Georgia Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock more than doubled his income after joining Congress, according to his financial disclosure records.

Most of Warnock’s income outside of his estimated $174,000 annual Senate salary comes from his book deal and the church in which has served as senior pastor for nearly two decades.

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Peek: Georgia’s Record-High Natural Gas Prices Tied to Biden’s ‘War on American Energy’

President Joe Biden and his administration recently passed legislation that prioritizes clean and renewable energy instead of fossil fuels and older forms of energy. 

Liz Peek, an opinion contributor at TheHill.com, said the country’s record-setting natural gas prices can be traced to the Biden administration’s push for alternative energy and efficiency and what many conservatives call a “war on American energy.”

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Inflation Is Harming Georgia’s Hispanic Community, Policy Group Says

A pro-economic freedom group targeting the Hispanic community is sounding the alarm on the harm of inflation.

According to a report from Republicans on the Joint Economic Committee, the cost of inflation in Georgia exceeds the national average, costing families 12.1% more to live. Households in Georgia are paying $598 more per month and $7,175 more per year.

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Feds Pay Millions to Subsidize Air Service to Georgia Airport

The federal government pays millions of dollars annually to subsidize commercial air service at the Macon, Georgia, airport.

The Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Macon receives nearly $4.7 million annually — or more than $19.5 million over four years and two months — as part of the Alternate Essential Air Service program. AEAS is similar to the Essential Air Service program, which Congress created in 1978, except that the money may go to a community instead of directly to an air carrier.

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Toyota Executive Calls Market for Electric Vehicles Not ‘Mature Enough,’ Georgia Has Almost 4,000 Charging Stations

The United States, including Georgia, isn’t ready to fully adopt electric vehicles (EVs), and hybrids continue to be a better alternative for the near term, a high-ranking Toyota executive told the  Wall Street Journal.

High EV prices and a small charging infrastructure are holding the market back, Jack Hollis, executive vice president of sales at Toyota Motor North America said during “a virtual event with journalists,” the Journal reported in its news story.

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New Economic Data Shows That Georgia Is Outperforming Many States

New economic data shows Georgia is outperforming many other states across the country.

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate now stands at a record low of 2.8% in July. A new WalletHub analysis found that Georgia has the 15th best change in its unemployment rate

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Activists to Hold Weekend Election Integrity Education Panel in Georgia

A former congressional candidate in Georgia will host a forum this weekend at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Duluth that will inform Georgia’s voters on how elections are conducted in the Peach State. 

Surrea Ivey, who ran for Congress in Georgia’s 4th Congressional District, is hosting the event.

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Georgia’s Kemp to Spend $100 Million in Federal COVID-19 Relief Funds for Law Enforcement

Another day, another dollar dispersed.

Georgia’s governor is again turning to federal COVID-19 relief money to provide grants to another constituency. This time, he plans to give $100 million to law enforcement agencies statewide.

Gov. Brian Kemp is turning to the American Rescue Plan and the State Fiscal Recovery Fund to dole out grants of up to $1.5 million per award. Awardees can put the money toward a range of initiatives, from law enforcement staffing to investing in technology and equipment to respond to the uptick in gun violence.

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Georgia Policy Groups Say Biden Plan to Forgive Student Loan Debt ‘Simply Transfers the Burden to Taxpayers’

President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive some federal student loan debt received a lukewarm reaction from some Georgia groups who say the policy is unfair and won’t help ease inflation.

“We’re disappointed to see yet another policy out of Washington that creates more problems than it solves,” Eric Cochling, the chief program officer and general counsel for the Georgia Center for Opportunity, said. “In addition to contributing to already runaway inflation, this plan from the White House doesn’t actually forgive debt, it simply transfers the burden to taxpayers.”

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