Economy & Jobs
In the wake of the financial crisis during the Great Recession, Georgia entered the month of January 2011 with a staggering unemployment rate of 10.4 percent. Times were tough for families across the state of Georgia, but through hard work and determination Georgia Republicans pulled our state out of economic downturn, and today it is recognized as a beacon for economic opportunity for the rest of the country.
At the beginning of 2020, Georgia’s unemployment rate was at its lowest in recorded history at 3.3 percent and our home has been named the #1 state to do business for 7 years in a row. Georgia’s economic vitality stands as testament to the hard work and leadership of Governor Brian Kemp, Speaker David Ralston, and the entire House Republican Caucus. Continuing in the steps of Governor Deal, Governor Kemp added over 64,000 jobs, and announced over 370 economic development projects in 2019—most of which are outside of the Metro Atlanta region in rural communities across the state.
While these last few months have been tough on Georgia’s economy in the wake of COIVD-19, you can rest assured that the House Republican Caucus will lead our state through these uncertain times. Georgia is resilient and will continue to be the best state in which to live, work, and raise a family.
Every Georgia child deserves a world-class education, and our caucus continues to work to make that belief a reality. Year after year, Georgia’s education system continues to improve: our high school graduation rate is at an all-time high of 82 percent, an increase of 12 percent since 2012, we have enacted innovative reforms to improve 105 failing schools across the state to get them back on the right track, and we continue to dedicate additional funds to our public education system every year.
Georgia is blessed to have over 114,000 career teachers and administrators serving every day to shape the minds of the next generation. Our teachers are the cornerstone of our education system, and our caucus understands that it is imperative to give these dedicated men and women the resources they need to succeed inside and outside the classroom.
Every Georgian deserves affordable access to quality health care—no matter their zip code. That is why our caucus has made health care a top priority in recent years, tackling big issues like maternal mortality, transparency in health care systems, reducing the amount of surprise billing, and ensuring reform to industries like Pharmacy Benefit Managers. This session our caucus, along with Governor Kemp and the Department of Public Health, made it a priority to fight COVID-19 by prioritizing funding within the budget and passing bills that bring relief to Georgians. The House Republican Caucus will continue to fight for conservative solutions that help all Georgians live happier, healthier lives.
In 2015, Georgia made history. In the face of uncertain transportation funding from Washington, the House Republican Caucus stepped up to take control of our state’s infrastructure destiny by passing HB 170, an aggressive, groundbreaking initiative that provides our state with over $10 billion in state transportation funding over 10 years.
However, our caucus recognizes we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. We can no longer simply build new, bigger roads to future prosperity. The future of Georgia lies at the intersection of continued surface road improvements as well as increased transit investment to ensure parents spend less time in traffic and more time with their families and businesses can efficiently move their products by road, rail, and sea.
Budget & Taxes
Each legislative session, the House Republican Caucus’ #1 priority is passing a budget that demonstrates to every hard-working Georgian our commitment to being responsible stewards of their tax dollars. Since the Great Recession, we have worked diligently to budget conservatively and at the end of 2019 we built our state’s Revenue Shortfall Reserve fund (a.k.a our Rainy Day fund) to a little over $2.8 billion. Because of this fiscal responsibility, $100 million of the Rainy Day fund was used for emergency relief efforts against the Coronavirus. Georgia also continues to receive an ‘AAA’ Bond rating from all three credit rating agencies – one of nine states that currently meet this standard.
While our counterparts in Washington continue to struggle to balance the national budget, Georgia taxpayers can rest assured that our caucus will always fight for conservative budgets that keep taxes low!
Public Safety & the 2nd Amendment
Our caucus believes in the right of every Georgian to defend his or herself and their family from danger. That’s why we have responsibly expanded law-abiding Georgians’ 2nd Amendment rights. Weapons carry license holders now can carry a concealed handgun on certain parts of college campuses as well as on private property subject to the property owner’s approval.
Further, our caucus remains committed to deterring harmful criminal activity related to terrorism, gang violence, and sex trafficking. Under the leadership of Speaker Ralston, we have enacted legislation that creates a domestic terrorism felony offense, increases penalties for gang activity, and strengthens sex trafficking laws to target both those individuals who profit from and those individuals who solicit victims of sexual servitude.
During the 2017 Session, the Georgia House Republican Caucus took the first step in a multi-year initiative aimed at revitalizing and empowering the rural communities across our state. Recognizing the unique needs of the millions of Georgians living outside our metropolitan regions, our caucus spearheaded the formation of the House Rural Development Council (RDC).
Since the creation of the RDC, House Republicans have championed bills and initiatives based on the findings of the council that will bring better access to broadband, quality healthcare, workforce training, and education. The Rural Development Council was renewed to continue its work during the 2019 legislative session.